(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Feb. 27, 2007 – LawFuel.com – Law Firm News – Heller Ehrman LLP announced that Maureen F. Browne and Johnny Cheng-Teh Chiu have joined the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group as shareholders in the Washington, D.C. office. Both lawyers come from Washington, D.C.-based firms where they practiced intellectual property law – Browne from Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, where she was a partner, and Chiu from Powell Goldstein, where he was a partner. Browne and Chiu have years of experience litigating IP disputes, including Section 337 proceedings before the U.S. International Trade Commission.
After building a successful IP litigation practice in the U.S. that includes more than 75 attorneys, Heller Ehrman has taken recent steps to position itself as a global player in patent litigation by adding lawyers with experience litigating Section 337 actions before the ITC. In September 2006, Sturgis (Sturge) M. Sobin joined as a shareholder in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Like Chiu and Brown, Sobin represents clients in patent litigation before the ITC. Two experienced associates, Alexander Chinoy and Joseph Whitlock, both of whom had previously practiced with Sobin, have since joined the firm in D.C., further strengthening the firm’s 337 practice.
Under Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, the ITC investigates claims of unfair trade practices occurring in import trade. An increasing number of IP lawsuits are tried before the ITC because ITC cases proceed faster than cases litigated in federal district courts, where most IP litigation takes place. The ITC also offers powerful border remedies to companies engaged in patent disputes.
Increasingly, the ITC has become a global forum for patent cases brought by both U.S. and foreign companies intent on protecting valuable U.S.-based IP rights. For example, since 2004, approximately 40 percent of the cases filed at the ITC have involved parties in either China or Taiwan, or both. One reason is that foreign owners of U.S. patents often prefer the ITC’s bench trials, which are heard by judges with extensive IP experience, over trials decided in district courts by juries. Another reason for the trend is that Chinese and other Asia-based technology and manufacturing companies are becoming increasingly sophisticated and emerging as global competitors. At the same time, other traditional trade remedies, such as anti-dumping laws, are increasingly difficult to use to slow down competition from China and Taiwan, resulting in greater interest by incumbent companies in the more focused Section 337 trade remedies. Meanwhile, there remains a consistent stream of high-stakes U.S. district court IP litigation involving Taiwanese and Chinese companies.
“As they mature, Taiwanese and Chinese companies will require more sophisticated, multi-national IP enforcement and defense legal services,” said M. Patricia Thayer, co-chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group. “Market factors are converging in such a way that it will not only be important to have a formidable patent and ITC litigation practice, it will also be important to have the resources to represent companies headquartered in Asia.”
Chiu, who was raised in Taiwan, has taken advantage of his fluency in Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese, as well as legal training in both Taiwan and the U.S., to build a vibrant practice representing a number of Taiwanese and Chinese technology companies, many of which are in the electronics industry. In addition to representing clients before the ITC, Chiu has handled IP litigation in U.S. district courts across the country. He also has represented clients in trade litigation and cross-border, corporate transaction matters, giving him the broader perspective needed to counsel clients on a strategic business level.
In 1984, Chiu received a Bachelor of Laws degree from the Fu-Jen Catholic University College of Law Taipei, Taiwan. He then came to the U.S., where he earned a Master of Laws in International Legal Studies from the American University. Chiu went on to earn a J.D. in 1992 from Tulane University.
Prior to joining Powell Goldstein’s Washington D.C. office as a partner in 2004, Chiu was an associate and of counsel with Ablondi Foster and Miller & Chevalier, respectively. Chiu previously worked with Sobin at Ablondi Foster, which, under Sobin’s leadership, became recognized as a top international trade firm. Chiu and Sobin also worked together at Miller & Chevalier, where Sobin led that firm’s International Department as it grew into one of the largest international trade practices in the U.S.
Browne’s practice is entirely focused on ITC matters. She has become well known and respected among ITC practitioners. Browne played a major role in some of the largest and most high-profile Section 337 cases in recent years, including the Set Top Box investigation (Gemstar v. Echostar, et al.), the Injectable Implants investigation (Inamed v. Medicis), the Alkaline Batteries investigation (Eveready v. 26 battery manufacturers) and the Recombinant Human Erythropoietin investigation (Amgen v. Roche). A number of the clients she has represented before the ITC are Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers.
In addition to her work with clients, Browne has given Section 337 presentations for several bar associations. She chairs the Patent Committee of the IP Section of the D.C. Bar Association. She has also been active in the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the ITC Trial Lawyers Association.
Prior to joining Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, where she has practiced for seven years, Browne began her legal career with Cadeax & Taglieri and Connerton & Ray, both of which are Washington, D.C. boutiques.
Browne received a J.D. in 1992 from George Washington University, where she was the editor-in-chief of Commercial Reporting Protection Service. She received a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross in 1989.
“Both Maureen and Johnny have a high degree of familiarity with the ITC’s unique procedural and logistical guidelines, and they have proven experience helping major companies resolve disputes involving innovative, complex technologies,” said Michael K. Plimack, co-chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group. “Their addition, combined with our existing IP litigation capabilities in Asia and the U.S., positions us well as we seek to protect the valuable IP rights of our Chinese, Taiwanese, and U.S. clients in those key markets.”
Heller Ehrman’s Intellectual Property Practice Group represents clients across a range of industries, particularly in the fields of semiconductors, non-volatile memory, software, cryptography, computers, secure digital payment, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical devices. Among the firm’s clients are industry leaders such as Yahoo!, Computer Associates International, Philip Morris USA, Texas Instruments, Symantec, QUALCOMM, Merck KGaA, Mylan Laboratories and Genentech. In January 2006, The American Lawyer recognized Heller Ehrman’s IP Litigation Practice Group as one of the top five IP departments in the U.S.
The firm’s Intellectual Property group also represents U.S. and Asian technology clients in IP-related transactions and IP filings – as well as in enforcing IP rights and resolving IP disputes – in the U.S. and in China and throughout Asia. Our attorneys have organized successful administrative raid actions against IP-infringing organizations in China; directed IP litigation before Chinese courts on behalf of multi-national companies; represented Chinese companies in high-stakes IP litigation in the U.S.; and acted for both Chinese and U.S. companies on IP- and technology-based business transactions. For example, the firm recently represented Huawei Technologies, a Chinese company, in an IP lawsuit against Cisco Systems before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The high-profile lawsuit concerned router technology and included claims of copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, infringement of five patents, violations of the Lanham Act and Texas state law, and counterclaims alleging unfair competition. (Cisco Systems, Inc., et al. v. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., et al.)
“Having Maureen and Johnny join us in D.C. represents our continuing effort to expand both our ITC and international trade practices, and the momentum we are building upon as we pursue the firm’s overall expansion strategy on the East Coast,” said Geoffrey F. Aronow, office managing shareholder of Heller Ehrman’s Washington, D.C. office. “Our D.C. office has seen steady growth over the past year and we believe that is due, in part, to our capacity to represent clients in developing markets, like Asia. The policy-making and regulatory environment in D.C. is certainly well-suited to establishing a successful ITC practice.”
Heller Ehrman’s Washington, D.C. office has grown to more than 60 attorneys since opening in 1994. Attorneys in the D.C. office represent clients in many areas of law, including antitrust, energy, food and drug, health care, intellectual property, international, litigation, securities and commodities enforcement and telecommunications. In 2006, the insurance recovery practice from Swidler Berlin joined the D.C. office. In addition to the ITC, Heller Ehrman represents clients before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.