McLean, Virginia, September 3 2004 LAWFUEL Best for law, law news…

McLean, Virginia, September 3 2004 LAWFUEL Best for law, law news, legal news, attorneys, law articles – Pillsbury Winthrop LLP has brought on a group of eight intellectual property professionals, including two law partners, three associates, two patent law clerks, a patent specialist, to the firm’s thriving IP practice in Northern Virginia. The group, all of whom bring strong technology backgrounds, is led by senior IP lawyer James G. Gatto and partner Rick A. Toering.

Gatto and his team join Pillsbury Winthrop from the firm of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo P.C., where Gatto was a co-chair in the IP practice. With more than 20 years of patent experience and a broad practice that spans numerous niches within technology and life science, Gatto has been cited among the top IP/IT lawyers in Northern Virginia by Virginia Business magazine.

Also included in the group are associates Bradford Blaise, Sean Ingram and Timothy Rooney, along with patent law clerks Demetria A. Buncum and D. Benjamin Esplin, and patent specialist Susan Trader.

They join a group of accomplished Pillsbury Winthrop IP attorneys, including William Atkins, president-elect of the Bar Association of the District of Columbia, veteran IP patent litigator George Sirilla; and Jack Barufka, who has been named as a leading IP attorney by both Legal Times and Chambers USA. Pillsbury Winthrop’s Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. offices have over 80 lawyers in the region. The firm ranked 6th in the number of patent cases filed in 2003 in the May 2004 IP Law & Business Patent Litigation Survey.

Gatto has an international practice encompassing a full range of IP and technology issues, including patent and trade secret litigation and technology transactions, as well as patent and trademark prosecution. He frequently helps companies develop IP programs, as well as strategies to protect and monetize IP assets. Much of Gatto’s practice is focused on the business of IP from both the offensive and defensive perspective.

His experience as a patent examiner has helped him handle complex patent prosecution matters, including patent interferences, reexaminations, reissues and appeals. Gatto routinely advises clients on evolving legal issues associated with Open Source software, Internet business methods, bioinformatics, and personalized medicine. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to startup businesses, as well as universities.

“Jim Gatto and Rick Toering bring a prolific, dynamic IP practice and a remarkable set of scientific credentials,” says Atkins, who is also co-chair of Pillsbury Winthrop’s firmwide Intellectual Property Section. “Jim is among the elite IP lawyers in our region and we expect he will integrate immediately into our group. Like a lot of us, these IP professionals have a thorough grounding in technology and business – Jim truly gets the technology and life sciences aspects of his clients’ businesses, and Rick, coming from an engineering background, has significant practical experience in a broad range of electrical, computer, software and mechanical technologies.”

Since 2000, Gatto has been a member of the Board of Trustees and Secretary of the Software Patent Institute and is also a member of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. He has been President of the Patent Lawyers Club of Washington and a member of the Board of Governors of the Patent and Trademark Office Society. Gatto received his J.D. from Georgetown University in 1988. He had previously worked as a patent examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) starting in 1984. He is admitted to practice in Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Court of Federal Claims and the USPTO.

Toering counsels clients in patent matters with a focus on the strategic development and procurement of patent portfolios protecting electronic and software-related technology. In addition, Toering routinely provides advice in support of technology transactions and patent litigation. He earned his B.S. degrees, summa cum laude, in electrical engineering and engineering administration from Michigan Technological University. He obtained a masters degree in electrical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1991). He received his J.D. from George Washington University (1996). Toering is also a graduate of General Electric’s Advanced Course in Engineering.

“Pillsbury Winthrop has continued to thrive and expand in this local market. This commitment is essential to my goal in helping clients maximize the value of their IP assets by developing strategies that integrate with their business plan,” says Gatto.

“We have a large national client base in IP work and much of it is due to the key talent residing here,” says Thomas Flaherty, managing partner of the Northern Virginia office. “This incoming group has a compatible practice that is broad based and national in scope; they will undoubtedly help ensure that our IP team continues to be a tremendous magnet and catalyst for further growth.”

Incoming Associates and Patent Law Clerks

Sean Ingram, associate, is a former patent examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where he examined patent applications pertaining to digital communication devices. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He received a B.S. (1994) and a Masters degree in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech (1995), and he received his J.D. from the University of Richmond School of Law (1999).

Bradford Blaise is a former patent examiner with the USPTO, where he examined patent applications pertaining to surgical endoscopes and electro-surgical instruments. In addition, Brad worked at the Assistive Technology Research Center (ATRC) at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, on a grant from the Department of Defense. He received his Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering from the Catholic University of America (1996) and his J.D. from the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law (2002).

Timothy C. Rooney earned his J.D. form George Mason University School of Law. He received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he was a member of the Dean’s List. From July of 1999 to August of 2001, Tim worked as a Research Associate at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland, where he performed DNA sequencing and closure of centromeric Bacteria Artificial Chromosomes.

Demetria A. Buncum is a former patent examiner with the USPTO, where she examined patents in the area of digital communications. She attends George Washington University School of Law and has an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

D. Benjamin Esplin is also a former patent examiner. He attends George Washington University School of Law and has a B.S. in physics from the Colorado School of Mines.

About Pillsbury Winthrop

Pillsbury Winthrop is an international law firm with core practices in: litigation, technology, energy, capital markets/finance, and intellectual property. The firm has 16 offices and over 700 attorneys worldwide. For more information, visit

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