Which Are The Best IP Law Firms?

Which Are The Best IP Law Firms? 2

Intellectual property continues to help drive law firm growth . . but which firms lead the way?

Intellectual property law has become one of the fastest growing and most attractive areas for law firm growth in the past 10 – 20 years. As the internet has grown, as life sciences and start-ups introduce new technologies and applications, and as patents and trademarks run their course the need to protect them from infringement and ensure the IP owners’ rights are safeguarded has become a major legal center of attention.

In fact, reports indicate that almost 28 per cent of jobs in the US come from intellectual property intensive industries.

So too with mergers and acquisitions that has seen IP portfolios scrutinized and managed, litigated and contested. Law firms that specialize in these new areas will be often as familiar with coding, scientific theories and practices and technology questions has seen PhDs as desirable employees as the attorneys, some of whom actually possess impressive double degrees in science and law.

This is a fast growing area and the law firms that occupy the high IP ground are both global stalwarts and boutique firms specializing in the new high-stakes area of Intellectual property law.

With around 12000 intellectual property cases filed each year, and with the US Supreme Court picking a busy year ahead for IP cases, the area is rich pickings for law firms, but that excludes the vast number of deals and transactions, due diligence and portfolio assessments and management issues that occur annually across the globe.

For lawyers, intellectual property in all its many facets is continuing to expand exponentially.

So who are the big IP law players?

1. Fish & Richardson

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Fish & Richardson has a global reputation for its intellectual property work for many years, having won the ranking of #1 patent litigation firm in the United States for 12 consecutive years. But ‘Fish’ is more than just a patent litigator, important and significant as that IP legal area may be, having worked in intellectual property litigation in all its facets for many years, using the firm’s 400 tech and IP specialists in its US and European offices.

The firm is unquestionably an IP market leader and has represented some of the world’s largest companies in important, high stakes litigation, working across a wide range of industries and as both petitioner and as patent owners, as well as providing trademark and copyright counselling and portfolio advice and management.

As a leading practitioner in the field, Fish have represented a bewildering array of clients ranging from Adobe and Altair Pharmaceuticals to Velcro and Zoll Medical. The firm’s range and depth of expertise across 14 offices and 370 attorneys (plus 117 PhDs) has seen it rise to pre-eminence in this area, garnering Band 1 rankings for technology and IP law along with impressive litigation wins worth multiple billions in total.

2. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

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Quinn Emanuel’s largest practice area is intellectual property law and the firm, one of the most prestigious law firms in the world, has grown an impressive team of IP lawyers and related professionals, numbering 150 across the firm.

With a roster of regular clients like Google, SONY, Samsung, Johnson & Johnson and Qualcomm, the firm has consistently rated highly with legal publications for their IP legal work, including in Germany where most of the EU’s IP cases are filed.

Quinn Emanuel has built a solid reputation for its litigation and related IP work, including patent, copyright and trade secret litigation, as well as handling internet cases, unfair trade practices and false advertising and all related areas. As a litigation powerhouse known for its aggressive and effective representation, Quinn Emanuel has brought these strengths to bear in the intellectual property arena where it continues to build on its impressive reputation and roster of court wins.

3. Morrison & Foerster

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Morrison & Foerster (‘MoFo’) is a San Francisco-based firm with over 1000 lawyers and with international offices and a strong reputation for its work in IP law, including a focus on data management and privacy issues.

‘Mofo’ is also known for its work performing IP due diligence for companies and others looking to ensure there is appropriate patent protection, trademark office compliance and other issues, using technical and legal experts including some 70 PhD-qualified professional team members, including leading female lawyers. Their work includes checking patent portfolios and freedom to operate (FTO) for products and other specific legal assistance, making it one of the key intellectual property firms operating in the US.

Morrison & Foerster have been involved in major patent litigation involving often highly complex patent litigation, litigating over 300 patent disputes. Their lawyers have been involved in IP litigation and in appearances before agencies and tribunals such as the International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) as well as those that have gone to the Federal Circuit or Supreme Court, as well as in global forums in Japan and Germany.

4. K&L Gates

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The global firm carrying the name of Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ father, (both pictured above) K&L Gates has an impressive array of achievements, including its IP legal expertise. With over 1800 lawyers spread across its 45 offices, with over half its lawyers registered to appear before the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), managing global patent and trademark portfolios using the firm’s impressive global network.

The firm has significant experience in patent litigation, including bio pharma litigation, copyright litigation, trade secret litigation and internet safety and data security issues. The firm’s use of professionals with years of experience in litigation and intellectual property and tech law issues has seen it appear at all court levels and also handle work from the world’s largest companies to start-up operations.

Portfolio management is another area of expertise for K&L Gates, where the firm works on best practices in trademark and copyright litigation issues and overall portfolio issues.

The firm received high recognition in Managing IP magazine’s ‘IP Stars’ 2022 rankings, along with numerous other recognition articles and awards for its IP work.

5. Finnegan Henderson

Here are some of the best IP law firms in the world . . 14 of them

Finnegan have an almost complete focus on the intellectual property field, with top work across patent law, trademark, copyright, licensing and all practise areas relating to IP law. It has a well deserved reputation for being a top intellectual property law firm, following its formation in Washington DC in 1965.

The firm has over 300 IP professionals and operates via five US and five international offices. Its range of services is complete in IP terms with its array of IP services and top clients that include Caterpillar, Nestle, Toshiba, Toyota, Unilever, FedEx, Google and others.

Clients like that and a reputation for top work, highly rated training and a reputation for looking after its staff have made Finnegan Henderson one of the top IP law shops anywhere.

6. Cooley

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Cooley have a reputation for their tech work and IP law is one of their cornerstone practice areas. With over 60 IP lawyers practising across their US and Europe offices the firm has handled approaching 500 patent cases alone and so they are clearly one of the best law firms in this area.

They have also worked on literally hundreds of trademark and copyright dispute cases and all manner of legal services relating to trade marks and related areas. They have recovered domain names through UDRP and Nominet proceedings.

Most of their IP attorneys have technical backgrounds in areas such as science, technology, engineering and with a significant support team of professionals, including judicial clerks, they have built major case management experience.

Among their major wins has been a defense verdict in favor of Facebook in respect of a patent infringement case involving Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and also obtaining a successful resolution to a Facebook patent dispute with Yahoo!

7. Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Bryan Cave is an IP law powerhouse and another US-UK combination formed in its present state in 2018. The firm has developed a strong involvement in intellectual property and life sciences as well as data and digital infrastructure issues. The firm has been extensively involved in copyright litigation ranging from motion pictures to software and related issues.

The firm has computer programmers, musicians and authors and others to assist in difficult legal issues that copyright provides. They also provide a full range of trademark-related services, including trademark prosecution and portfolio management in both the US and Europe. They also handle IP due diligence, cross-border transactions and all IP liability, drafting and negotiating issues.

8. Greenberg Traurig

The Miami-based law firm is in the top 10 firms by size in the United States with 2500 lawyers across its global network, including many practising in the IP area. The intellectual property division of the firm has 250 full time IP lawyers handling copyright and DMCA registration issues, patent applications, licensing, domain name management and also providing legal services across the whole data privacy and security arena, defending data privacy, security issues and more.

The firm secured many awards and legal industry recognition for its work involving intellectual property rights. The June 2022 edition of Managing Intellectual Property had a number of ‘IP Stars’ listed from Greenberg Traurig for copyright, life sciences, IP, trademark and related areas, based on research across 80 jurisdictions.

The firm has had some controversy including involvement with former Trump attorney and New York governor Rudy Giuliani and in 2001 it was joined by infamous lobbyist Jack Abramoff who put together so-called “Team Abramoff“, a lobbying team that was involved in a major lobbying scandal.

Nevertheless, the firm has continued to grow successfully and has become a major IP firm with a growing involvement in trademarks and brand management issues, including litigation and counselling in respect of fair use, new technology issues, social media and in the handling of often complex copyright, patent and trade secret cases. GT lawyers have been involved in a variety of efforts involving clients’ use and deployment of new technologies, many having science, technology and engineering backgrounds.

10. Arnold & Porter

The firm has a top reputation for IP work, including working for pharmaceutical companies and those involved in life sciences and biotech. With over 70 patent litigators across its office network, the firm has handled almost 200 IPRs, PGRs and CBMs, using both legal and technical skills for client advocacy.

The firm’s trademark practice has seen IP protection fought in state and federal courts, providing leading edge defense relating to consumer goods, food, beverage, luxury goods and other matters involving everything from unfair competition to copyright and trademark protection. Over 70 patent litigators, including a strong patent prosecution practice have made Arnold + Porter one of the leading IP legal practices.

The firm has acted for clients including Nike, Samsung, Random House, Adobe and others in cases involving trade secrets, patent infringement, trademark law, copyright breach and more.

11. Wilmer Hale

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is the result of a 2004 merger between Wilmer Cutler & Pickering, based in Washington DC, and Boston-based Hale & Dorr and has a reputation for being a liberal law firm with some significant alumni, prominent in law an politics, and with a burgeoning IP law practice.

The firm’s intellectual property attorneys have been prominent in the federal circuit, including important patent cases heard before the US Supreme Court. Having extensive experience with their best lawyers in the US, UK and Germany working on key IP law cases. Wilmer Hale represents significant Fortune 500 companies, international clients as well as in-house legal teams and have over 100 lawyers with extensive technical and scientific knowledge.

The firm has over 200 general IPI lawyers handling work for technology companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical devices, data protection and other areas.

12. Kirkland & Ellis

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With over 75 lawyers handling technology and IP law related transactions and litigation, Kirkland & Ellis is another global heavyweight that has established a very firm reputation for its work in IP law matters.

Handling both transactional work and litigation such as copyright infringement, trademark infringement and other matters, the firm’s litigators have appeared at everything from state court level to the Federal Circuit and US Supreme Court along with organizations like the US International Trade Commission, Patent Trial and Appeal Board and others.

13. Irell & Manella

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Here’s a law firm that had its origins with Orson Wells’ ‘Citizen Kane’, when two attorneys joined forces to form the firm that became one of Hollywood’s most prestigious law firms. Today, still based in LA and operating from just three offices, Irell & Manella continues to exert its influence well beyond its mid-sized law firm status (and is a clear contender for entering the LawFuel ‘Prestigious Law Firm List’).

The firm has expanded its work into technology, internet and intellectual property activity of every form, as befits its entertainment and tax law origins.

A consistent winner of IP law awards, the firm represents various universities as well as Johnson & Johnson, PayPal, Snapchat, Uber Technologies TiVo and others.

The firm has had a close association with those involved in pharmaceuticals, life sciences, video games, visual effects, biotechnology and just about every other IP-related activity. The Washington DC office (it’s third ‘leg’) has permitted it to work with the USPTO and International Trade Commission among others.

The firm is also well known for its mentoring and training of staff as well as its high remuneration and equally highly effective IP and technology representation.

14. Brandsmiths

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Brandsmiths is a UK IP law boutique that has been building a strong repudiation with its work providing trade mark, patent and design searches, as well as unregistered rights like confidential information and database rights for a variety of clients in the tech, sports and retail sectors.

The firm advises on client registrations to protect clients’ IP strategy and their planning. The firm represents plans like Mini, Trivago, IAMS, Beverly Hills Polo Club and others.

The firm has represented clients in the UK High Court, the UK Intellectual Property Office, European Intellectual Property Office and others, often seeking urgent action in respect of IP issues arising over clients’ rights.

The firm has also been pioneering in the area of crypto and cyber law, working with NFTs and on ICOs and obtaining the first proprietary injunction over cryptocurrencies in 2018 as well as advising on and tracing cryptoassets. A partnership with Chainalysis, a blockchain tracing solution, along with Asset Reality, an investigations advisory specialist and a custodial service provider.

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