I have never sat on an admissions committee for Harvard or Princeton, but I now have much more empathy for their difficult task. How do you make the cut among so many qualified applicants? We began soliciting nominations for our Top IP People Under 45 feature last winter- - 230 impressive individuals were proposed, some multiple times. To anyone who didn't make our 50-person list, here are some of the reasons.
Like any Ivy League admissions committee, we were looking for a certain amount of diversity. That meant we wanted to include representatives from the many facets of IP: trademark, copyright, patent and trade secrets, and different kinds of practices, such as litigation, transaction and policy work. Likewise, we wanted to include a wide range of geography and top-notch law firms, and for the most part included only one person from each firm. And we limited the attorneys to those who practice U.S. law.
But enough of who is not on the list: Those who made it offer a unique and dynamic portrait of today's IP world. They combine raw brain power with hard work, canny legal skills and a talent for being in the right place at the right time. Perhaps my favorite tale in the collection is the one told by writer Susan Hansen of the meeting a few years ago at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, where former U.S. Army captain and biology Ph.D. Jane Love was up for partner. According to managing partner William Lee, as the assembled partners listened to Love's accomplishments, one of the other partners leaned forward and asked, "Are they telling me all this to try to make me feel bad about myself?" In response, I say, no, we aren't trying to make you feel bad, but rather proud of the IP community that can nurture such talent.
Oliver Ashe, 42
Shareholder, ASHE, P.C.
Don't interfere with Oliver Ashe. When he jumped ship from Sughrue Mion to Greenblum & Bernstein as a sixth-year associate, he took Dow AgroSciences's interference work on genetically modified crops with him, netting his first designation as lead counsel for the multimillion-dollar case to boot. The Catholic University biology major and law grad has more interference proceedings under his belt than most prosecution attorneys have racked up by retirement. Clients Affymetrix, Genentech and the University of California followed Ashe when he opened his own boutique in Reston, Va., in the fall of 2006. If patent reform and a first-to-file regime means that interference is dead, Ashe is positioning his firm for the advent of post-grant cancellation proceedings.
Robert Becker, 42
Partner, Manatt Phelps & Phillips
Robert Becker wanted to fly the space shuttle, so he majored in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan. But the Challenger disaster stopped that career before it started. So Becker literally flipped a coin to decide between an MBA and the law degree he eventually got from the University of San Francisco School of Law. All through law school he worked in litigation for an IP firm, and the head start has come in handy. He represents Visto Corp. in a series of suits charging infringement of its wireless technology patents. A 2006 decision against Seven Networks Inc. eventually resulted in a negotiated 20 percent royalty rate, and Microsoft Corp. recently settled for an undisclosed amount. Now Visto and Becker, along with co-lead counsel Theodore Stevenson of McKool Smith, 44, are going after BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion Limited.
Andrew Cadel, 41
IP counsel, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Protecting his employer's brand is a game to Andrew Cadel: whack-a-mole. Like the old-fashioned arcade amusement, infringers such as jpmorganfund.com and jpmorgonchasebank.com keep popping up, and he keeps smacking them down. The University of Virginia Law School grad developed his trademark management skills during three years as a senior attorney at IBM. In 1999 Cadel became JPMorgan's chief IP counsel. His 12-lawyer team supports the bank's own mergers and acquisitions, like the company's recent controversial acquisition of Bear Stearns, and advises equities analysts on IP issues. Cadel also helps JPMorgan be an industry leader in patenting its own inventions, such as the bank's grid computing system, called Compute Backbone.
David Callahan, 43
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis
A political science major from the University of Chicago, David Callahan learned electronic warfare, including cryptography, as a U.S. Army Reserve captain. The military discipline has served him well. A University of Michigan Law School grad, Callahan has commanded the defense in key patent infringement wins for 3M, Amazon.com and Gast Manufacturing in cases covering everything from one-click Internet payment systems to chewing gum additives and dental compounds. He has excelled at big-ticket defense cases involving multiple patents and parties, where his leadership and organizational skills -- to say nothing of his legal marksmanship -- force plaintiffs to duck.
Kathryn Clune, 40
Partner, Crowell & Moring
Six years as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps, trying cases up to murder, landed Katie Clune in her current line of work. When Clune was working as an associate at Dorsey & Whitney, an IP partner needed a lawyer with trial experience and was willing to teach her the ropes. Learn she did. Clune has won all 10 patent cases she has handled so far (two more are pending) for long-standing client Arlington Industries, a developer of electrical and communications products. Last year she moved to Crowell & Moring from Greenberg Traurig to build her international trade commission practice. Washington. D.C.-based Clune represents Sprint Nextel Corp. in the Broadcom Corp. v. Qualcomm Inc. brawl at the ITC.
Ruffin Cordell, 44
Principal, Fish & Richardson
Patent litigator Ruffin Cordell wears a flamboyant purple-and-gold tie to court after his alma mater, Louisiana State University, wins a national championship. Asked how he keeps winning trials, he responds, "The bribes, maybe?" He won a recent case by hiring a private investigator. But don't let the freewheeling style distract you: Cordell is all substance. In the last three years, he has kept Microsoft and Intel Corp. off the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars, and he won a judgment for hybrid car engine company Paice against Toyota that could reach more than $200 million after the damages phase concludes. The Georgetown Law grad has a $20 million book of business and thrives in fast-paced litigation environments.
Frank DeCosta III, 44
Partner, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
DeCosta III, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Howard University, is a master at translating technospeak into English during high-stakes patent infringement battles for Philips Corp, Toshiba, LG Electronics and other big-name clients. Before getting his J.D. from Georgetown University, he taught computer image processing to budding engineers. He draws on that experience in the courtroom, making impossibly esoteric technical arguments comprehensible -- and compelling -- to judges and juries alike. DeCosta has racked up an impressive string of victories, including a $91 million award for Philips last year.
Spotlight: John Dragseth, 39
Principal, Fish & Richardson
Paul Fehlner, 44
Partner, Baker Botts
Paul Fehlner once thought that law school after a grad degree was "a waste" of time. But he changed his mind after working with attorneys as an inventor while attaining a doctorate in biochemistry and immunology at Rockefeller University. After graduation, he worked at Pennie & Edmonds while attending Fordham Law School at night, and later did groundbreaking work on an early gene patent at Klauber & Jackson. A stint at Rhone Poulenc Rorer expanded his dealmaking and licensing skills. His understanding of in-house needs makes him invaluable to clients like Royalty Pharma and Elan Pharma International Ltd. In the last two months of 2007 he negotiated two deals worth a total of $765 million.
Brian Ferguson, 42
Partner, McDermott Will & Emery
Although still practicing with longtime mentor Ray Lupo, Brian Ferguson is coming into his own. The Albany Law School grad's burgeoning appellate practice includes winning In re Seagate Technology, the 2007 Federal Circuit decision establishing a new standard for proving willful infringement. The Union College electrical engineer's trial practice is impressive as well: His examination of an inventor at client Research Corporation Technologies led Hewlett-Packard to settle that day. American Insurance Group picked him to fight notorious patent troll Ronald Katz. Now he's arguing the appeal of Aristocrat Technologies v. IGT, in which a district court voided the PTO practice of reviving applications whose filing fees were paid late unintentionally. More than 70,000 patents are depending on his winning streak.
Alan Fisch, 41
Partner, Kaye Scholer
Alan Fisch's closing tale of how the secrets of startup SPX Corp. were betrayed to Microsoft moved some jurors literally to tears -- and to a record-setting $62.3 million verdict in 2003. A former Texas Instruments computer scientist trained at The University of Texas at Austin, Fisch went to Tulane University Law School. As a second-year litigator at Howrey, he took and defended depositions, and in his sixth year, he boasted seven-figure billings. By 2006, when Fisch jumped to Kaye Scholer, Fisch could also bring tears to those who sold stocks short. Buy orders for Ceridian spiked on the days that Fisch cross-examined witnesses and argued the close in the trial defending a Ceridian subsidiary's gift card technology from Barry Fiala Inc.'s infringement claims.
Katherine Forrest, 44
Partner, Cravath, Swaine & Moore
The war against file sharing of copyrighted music continues, and Forrest is on the front lines. The New York University School of Law grad is lead counsel for the recording industry giants that are trying to close down the decentralized peer-to-peer program Lime Wire. The case took a turn from its predecessors when Lime Wire filed antitrust counterclaims, accusing the record companies of creating a cartel to control the online distribution of music. Forrest got those counterclaims dismissed late last year. A go-to attorney for Time Warner Inc., she also has an out-of-the-ordinary speciality: advising dance companies on copyright issues related to choreography.
Harold Fox, 41
Partner, Steptoe & Johnson
Harold Fox is cooking with energy. He represented First Solar Inc. on the IP aspects of its 2006 initial public offering-one of the hottest in the past two years -- and he's written dozens of patent applications for the company's advances in photovoltaics. But Fox, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT and a J.D. from Boston University, isn't just a niche player. Since joining the Steptoe D.C. office four years ago, he has overseen patent filings and IP due diligence for a growing list of biotech clients, including Biogen Idec and startup Errant Gene Therapeutics. He also is helping MIT develop and license its nanotechnology IP portfolio -- no small matter.
Russell Hill, 43
During the first Gulf War, as a chief of aviation electronics and communication systems in the Marines, Russell Hill taught reservists how to use smart bombs. He eventually finished a liberal arts degree at Chapman University in Orange County, California, and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley, but as a patent litigator he is still a specialist in high tech. For the past six years he has been handling the enforcement of a photo-editing software patent for MIT, resulting in some dismissals and numerous settlements -- the sole remaining defendant is Microsoft. Recently he also successfully defended Vutek Inc. from a patent infringement suit brought by Leggett & Platt, regarding a textile printing patent, by achieving a summary judgment of invalidity.
Spotlight: Carl Horton, 44
Chief IP counsel, General Electric Co.
Yitai Hu, 43
Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
Managing 40 lawyers and other staffers in Silicon Valley and Taipei, the University of Maryland School of Law grad frequently crosses the Pacific to counsel and litigate for some of the biggest technology players in the United States and Asia, including Taiwan-based integrated circuit designers Sunplus Technology and Elan Microelectronics. Recently Hu successfully defended Taiwan-based Realtek Semiconductor before the ITC in a case brought by California-based Marvell Technology Group Ltd., which alleged that Realtek infringed on Marvell's Ethernet network connector design. The Taiwan native bridges the ocean figuratively, as well, helping clients on one side understand the business culture on the other.
Brenda Herschbach Jarrell, 40
Partner, Choate, Hall & Stewart
Brenda Herschbach Jarrell, daughter of a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry (dad) and a Harvard University professor of organic chemistry (mom), has always been in a hurry: Graduating from Harvard at 19 with a major in chemistry (magna cum laude), she got a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of California, San Francisco, and a Harvard Law School J.D., all by 30. Now she oversees biotech and pharma patent prosecution and provides strategic advice on licensing deals and M&A. The real world hasn't slowed her down. At 34 she became co-chair of her firm's life sciences group. Clients include Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics and Harvard University. She also recently helped Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center secure a dozen U.S. patents for a new cancer therapy.
Scott Johnston, 40
Partner and chair of trademark group, Merchant & Gould
Johnston got his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in electrical engineering, and he credits his success in trademark practice to his ability to also develop a more intuitive right-brained approach. Something must be working. He was given leadership of his firm's trademark group two years ago, and it has been experiencing rapid growth. Johnston represented Supervalu Inc. as the largest and most aggressive player in forcing Wal-Mart Stores Inc. last year to give up its attempt to register the slogan, "Every Day Low Prices," a ubiquitous tout in the grocery business. Last year he also helped Kohler Co. turn back Baldwin Hardware after the Black & Decker unit used Kohler's popular Devonshire mark. That was no easy win: Kohler's is a toilet brand and Baldwin's was a low-priced line of locks and latches that it sold largely through Home Depot.
Robert Katz, 44
Partner, Banner & Witcoff
When Nike Inc., Microsoft, Nokia Corp. and other top companies have a design they want protected, they call Katz. A win for Nike in 1997 set him on his path. Katz has advanced the use of design patents on just part of an object, known as "broken-line" claims. (The part of the object that isn't claimed is drawn using dotted lines, and only what is shown in solid line is claimed.) The strategy helped Banner win a record-breaking 744 design patents for clients in 2007. Meanwhile, European, Canadian, Japanese and Korean officials who approve design patents have consulted with Katz on how to streamline their application process. Katz started at Carnegie Mellon University intending to be an architect, graduated as a mechanical engineer, and attended George Washington Law School.
Randy Kay, 42
Partner, DLA Piper
Randy Kay's colleagues joke that he wrote the book on trade secrets -- and he literally did: "Trade Secret Litigation and Protection in California." But for Kay, who is based in San Diego, the courtroom is even mightier than the pen. Since getting his J.D. from the University of Michigan, Kay has built a reputation as a top trade secrets litigator for clients ranging from small family businesses to corporate giants such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Fidelity Inc. Last year, for instance, Kay shot down ICU Medical Inc.'s claims that his client, Cardinal Health 303 Inc., had stolen intravenous medical connector trade secrets, getting the suit dismissed and then upheld on appeal within a year.
Mark Kesslen, 44
Member, Lowenstein Sandler
Mark Kesslen likes helping the little guy strike a great bargain. Three years after arriving at Lowenstein to lead its nascent patent prosecution and transactions practice, the Tufts University electrical engineer brags that Lowenstein had more IP deals on the East Coast in 2007 than any other firm, mostly for smaller, venture-backed companies. Kesslen got his first taste of helping small companies build and manage their IP portfolio as a young lawyer while on loan to Lowenstein from a small IP boutique. He headed up JPMorgan Chase's IP group for eight years, but, tellingly, the Case Western law grad's favorite work was with Lab Morgan, the bank's brief dabble in incubating up-and-coming companies in technology and financial services.
F. Scott Kieff, 38
Law professor, Washington University
In the precedent-loving field of law, F. Scott Kieff has made his mark by being a contrarian. Instead of taking the view popular in academia that IP protection is "too strong, too prone to abuse," Kieff argues that robust IP rights are critical to increased competition, economic growth and job creation. As a professor, as well as Hoover Institute Project for Commercializing Innovation fellow, the University of Pennsylvania Law School grad has churned out articles and op-eds and organized academic conferences. A longtime Federalist Society member, Kieff was recently named by the Bush administration to the PTO's Patent-Public Advisory Committee. A graduate of MIT (molecular biology and microeconomics) and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, he practiced IP law before becoming a professor.
David Kramer, 40
Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
In 1995, a partner at Wilson Sonsini asked associate Kramer what he knew about the Internet. "I have an AOL account," answered Kramer. His reply was good enough at that point in time to snag the assignment. The Georgetown Law grad has gone on to become a leader in Internet law. He is a go-to lawyer for Google Inc., serving the company as lead litigation counsel in half a dozen disputes since 1999, and obtaining precedent-setting victories involving the right to refuse advertising and to remove Web sites from search results. Presently, he is cocounsel for Google in its high-stakes litigation with Viacom over online video.
Josh Krevitt, 40
Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
Gibson Dunn had high hopes when it recruited Krevitt, then a 38-year-old partner in Weil, Gotschal & Manges' patent litigation team, to become co-head of Gibson's IP group. Those hopes have been realized. In the last year, Krevitt has been retained as lead counsel for a long list of technology companies including T-Mobile, Motorola and Cablevision. In fact, three clients switched their litigation midstream away from other firms to Krevitt: Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals Inc., CashEdge Inc. and a group of high-profile media defendants including News Corp. and CBS Corp. Krevitt studied political science at Columbia University and law at Boston University, and swears he had never seen a patent before 1998.
Mark Lemley, 41
Professor, Stanford Law School, Counsel, Keker & Van Nest
In the publish-or-perish world of legal scholarship, Mark Lemley should be good through the next century. This IP professor at Stanford Law School has written eight books (including the two-volume treatise "IP and Antitrust") and nearly 90 scholarly articles. He is a fierce advocate for patent reform and has also made his mark by arguing that buying a competitor's brand as a keyword for an Internet search does not involve using that brand as a trademark. As counsel at San Francisco's Keker & Van Nest, he has taken on matters for biotech giant Genentech Inc., as well as Google, Intel and other high tech clients, arguing two U.S. Supreme Court cases and three Federal Circuit cases in the last two years alone.
Lori Lesser, 41
Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Lesser is a leading light of transactional IP. A native of Texas and a graduate of Harvard (economics major, then Harvard Law), she is the co-head of her firm's East Coast IP transactions group. She has handled the IP piece of hundreds of deals, including Google's purchase of YouTube, Blackstone Group's buyout of Hilton Hotels Corp. and Travelers Insurance's reacquisition of its red umbrella logo from Citigroup. Her specialty requires a detailed grasp of the entire gamut of IP law -- patents, trademarks, copyrights and licensing -- and she must switch gears rapidly, from overseeing due diligence on potential patent infringement problems to negotiating and drafting a multi-brand trademark agreement.
Spotlight: Jane Love, 42
Partner and co-chair of intellectual property group, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
James Malackowski, 44
Chief executive, Ocean Tomo
This University of Notre Dame-trained CPA has made a name as a patent market-maker. Twenty years ago he co-founded a firm that did patent valuations. In 2003 Ocean Tomo started offering investment banking services, and it broke new ground in 2006 with the first live auction for IP. The company has conducted six so far -- the most recent in April in San Francisco -- that have generated $70 million in transactions, including the $15 million sale of guitarist Jimi Hendrix's catalog and the $6 million sale of patents related to digital systems media and management. The latest innovation from Malackowski? He is trying to market insurance that would lessen the cost to companies of patent troll attacks.
Michelle Mancino Marsh, 37
Partner, Kenyon & Kenyon
Marsh's first appellate case was widely watched last year, and her win for client Punchgini Inc. caused a split between the 2nd and 9th circuits on the issue of foreign "famous" trademarks. The Fordham Law grad then convinced the Supreme Court to deny certiorari by arguing, with the 2nd Circuit, that if an international treaty called for a decision outside the Lanham Act, it was up to Congress to fix the contradiction. She saw the case from its beginning -- a cease-and-desist letter from the plaintiff -- shortly after joining Kenyon & Kenyon as a fourth-year associate, and inherited it as her own when the supervising partner retired a few years ago. Much of her practice involves fashion and footwear.
Paul McGrady, 36
Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
As a student in the early 1990s at Cedarville University, a Christian college in Ohio, Paul McGrady liked the Rolling Stones. He never imagined he would represent Mick and the boys in a domain name dispute a dozen or so years later. Internet domains were just starting to be contested territory when McGrady graduated DePaul University College of Law. He complained monthly to his LexisNexis rep about the lack of legal research resources on the subject. Ultimately, the squeaky wheel got greased through a book contract from Lexis: McGrady on Domain Names, a hefty three-volume treatise that was published last year. McGrady has handled more than 200 cybersquatting disputes. Hey, it's only domain names, but he likes it.
Craig Mende, 43
Partner, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu
A giant Advil paperweight in Mende's office, given to him in recognition of his work protecting the pain-reliever's brand, marks Mende as a collector. As a trademark and copyright litigator, he boasts other client objets d'art: a bottle of Field & Stream beer, a Lacoste alligator shirt and a large fuzzy-haired Good Luck Troll doll. Last year, in a case of first impression, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a preliminary injunction that Mende secured for Troll Co. of Denmark, preventing distribution of Wishnik dolls by Uneeda Co. (The case involved the Uruguay Round Agreements Act that restored copyrights of foreign authors.) Mende just negotiated a big settlement for The Hartford against a domain-name registrar which let customers choose domain names that infringed on the insurer's marks.
Karin Pagnanelli, 44
Partner Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp
Karin Pagnanelli is a video game wizard. The Southwestern University School of Law grad has both Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., and Activision Inc., as regular clients. She's defending the former, developer of the Grand Theft Auto San Andreas game, from a strip club's claim of trademark infringement. And she just won a million-dollar default judgment against a company which created unauthorized arcade versions of the latter's popular Guitar Hero series. In fact, she sues copyright infringers on behalf of Activision a couple of times a month. When she's not on the gamer circuit, much of her time is spent in work for the Recording Industry Association of America and a number of music labels.
Russell Pangborn, 41
Senior attorney and director of trademarks, Microsoft Corp.
When you're responsible for what is reputedly the world's second-most-valuable brand and a global portfolio of 12,500 trademarks, you've got to be efficient, even with a staff of 20. Prior experience at Intel taught Pangborn, a graduate of Stanford University and law school at University of California in Berkeley, how to navigate high tech IP waters. He's dodged potential trademark infringement by Microsoft in overseas markets and also hammers out rights and co-existence agreements when it makes sense, like extending legitimate partnership opportunities to some Windows "enthusiasts" who flirt with trademark infringement. He also helps the company safely expand into new markets as with the Sync voice-activated phone and music system Microsoft developed for Ford Motor Co.
Stanley Pierre-Louis, 37
Vice president and associate general counsel, Viacom Inc.
Pierre-Louis has loved music and the arts his entire life, which makes his position defending IP at Viacom especially sweet. Joining the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999 as an associate counsel, he rose to senior vice president for legal affairs by 2004. Today, he spends his days protecting such brands as MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and Dreamworks. But the most pressing task for the University of Chicago J.D. and Clark University history major is the landmark case Viacom brought against Google last year that will help define the meaning of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. According to Pierre-Louis, the suit can already take credit for YouTube's announcement that it plans to filter illegally uploaded content.
Tracy Quinn, 38
Partner and chair of IP practice, Reed Smith
Quinn oversees 67 IP attorneys worldwide and three patent agents. She works at the firm's Philadelphia office, where she started as a fifth-year associate in 1999, and she mostly litigates on behalf of technology companies in patent, trademark, and domain name disputes. One of Quinn's more notable victories was defending All-Tag Security S.A., a Belgian manufacturer of antitheft security tags, against a patent infringement claim by New Jersey-based Checkpoint Systems Inc. in an Eastern District of Pennsylvania court. Despite the plaintiff's hometown advantage, Quinn obtained for her foreign client a full defense verdict of patent invalidity, noninfringement, and unenforceability after a two-week jury trial. Quinn has deep Philly roots: She grew up in a Philadelphia suburb and attended the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University Law School.
Dan Ravicher, 33
Founder, Public Patent Foundation
Dan Ravicher has met some patents he didn't like. Once an associate at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, the University of Virginia School of Law grad founded his nonprofit five years ago to root out patents he thinks should never have been issued. Foundation grants fund a steady stream of re-examination requests based on obviousness or prior art. Outcomes have been mixed. In March the PTO made a final ruling that two stem cell patents that PubPat had challenged were indeed valid. But Forgent Networks Inc., was forced by a re-examination instigated by PubPat to give up enforcing a patent on the JPEG standard for the electronic sharing of photos. Ravicher is also legal director of the Software Freedom Law Center, which aids nonprofit developers of free and open source software, and recently launched a law firm with its founder Eben Moglen, the well-known professor at Columbia University Law School, that will help for-profit companies with open source software issues.
Ed Reines, 44
Partner, Weil Gotshal & Manges
The legal sidelines of Ed Reines seem like a full-time job. The Columbia University Law School grad is president of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals bar, a patent rules adviser for the Federal District Court in Northern California, and a member of the AIPLA's amicus committee. He regularly testifies on patent issues before Congress and is even an on-air pundit for CNBC. His day job is at Weil Gotshal, where he averages two major trials a year. Victories include defending Intel from Techsearch's $8.2 billion suit and winning a $35 million judgment for Applied Biosystems in an infringement suit brought against MJ Research Inc. (The case then settled.) Imagine if he didn't moonlight.
Randy Sabett, 44
Partner, Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal
Sabett's credentials in information security are unassailable. He has a degree in computer engineering from Syracuse University, worked as a cryptoengineer for the National Security Agency and as in-house counsel for a Silicon Valley start-up, and serves on a presidential commission on cybersecurity. Based in Washington, D.C., he created an info sec IP practice before it was cool, focusing on clients' legal obligations in such areas as privacy and digital signatures. The University of Baltimore School of Law alum also handles cryptography and authentification patent prosecution, technology transactions and licensing. One of Sabett's notable achievements includes advising a major upscale retailer following a server breach incident, keeping the client out of the papers and ensuring customer information remained untouched. Unsurprisingly, he doesn't name clients.
Mark Scarsi, 43
Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy
About eight months ago Scarsi started up his firm's IP practice in Los Angeles, leaving his longtime home at O'Melveny & Myers. Although happy at his old firm, the Georgetown Law grad couldn't resist the entrepreneurial opportunity. He was able to bring along clients Apple Inc. and Lockheed-Martin Corp., having won CLI v. Apple et al. and Space Systems/Loral v. Lockheed-Martin. So far at Milbank he has, among other things, achieved a summary judgment in favor of Lockheed in federal court, and argued a patent infringement case regarding chip manufacturing technology against Korea's Samsung Electronic Co. at the ITC on behalf of Japan's Renesas Technology Corp. It isn't easy to recruit lawyers with the necessary tech smarts, but technology comes easy to Scarsi himself. He is a former software engineer, with bachelor and master degrees in computer science from Syracuse University.
Daniel Schecter, 41
Partner and vice-chair of global litigation department, Latham & Watkins
Daniel Schecter has reached nearly the top of Latham & Watkins's management structure. Based in the firm's Los Angeles office, where he landed after a clerkship with U.S. District Court Judge Irving Hill in the Central District of California, he focuses on copyright, licensing and trade secrets in entertainment and technology. Big-name clients include Apple Inc. and Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. For Miramax Film Corp. he recently won an arbitration against a major Italian distributor, obtaining a multimillion-dollar award and reversion of the distribution rights for 89 films, including "Pulp Fiction" and "Good Will Hunting." The graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and University of Southern California School of Law is currently leading the defense of Flir Systems Inc. from trade secret and infringement claims brought by Raytheon Co. in the Eastern District of Texas.
Daniel Schnapp, 39
Partner and head of new media, entertainment and technology group, Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Viacom Inc. recently forged a sweeping, five-year alliance with Microsoft Corp. that was called "a sign of things to come" by Investor's Business Daily. The deal calls for distribution of Viacom content on Microsoft Web sites, and using Microsoft technology to serve ads on Viacom sites. Schnapp hammered out the complex deal for Viacom, devising a mixture of guarantees, licensing fees and revenue sharing. Schnapp provides strategic counsel and transaction support for many media companies finding their way in the digital world, and for startup companies such as SpiralFrog Inc., an advertising-supported music site. He graduated from the University of Vermont and from Syracuse University School of Law, and learned the digital ropes as a liason between the legal department of Merrill Lynch and its IT operations.
Spotlight: Laurie Self, 43
Partner, Co-chair of trademark and copyright group, Covington & Burling
Spotlight: Brian Siff, 42
Partner, Dickstein Shapiro
Penny Slicer, 42
Partner, Stinson Morrison Hecker
Slicer acts as the top IP adviser to a wide range of companies in the Midwest. Representing St. Louis-based Rawlings Sporting Goods Company since 1997, she recently acted so quickly against a copier of the company's Major League Baseball helmet design that the offender gave up at the prototype stage. Slicer also recently won a summary judgment that protected Wichita-based Big Dog Motorcycles, the second-largest U.S. motorcycle manufacturer, from having to modify its brand after Big Dog Sportswear sued for trademark infringement, claiming consumer confusion. She also handles patent prosecution in a wide variety of disciplines. A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, she chaired her firm's IP division for ten years, until May 2007, and is credited with growing its lawyer head count from three to more than 30.
Louise Stoupe, 34
Partner, Morrison & Foerster
Stoupe was born in Fiji, grew up in Hong Kong and New Zealand, and works in Tokyo for a California law firm-as good a definition of a global career as any. After she graduated at the top of her law school class at the University of Auckland and practiced in New Zealand, a Fulbright scholarship brought her to Duke University School of Law and an LL.M. A lifelong interest in science brought her to IP. She became a partner at MoFo at 31, at that time the firm's youngest ever. In Tokyo she has become an expert in international dispute resolution and e-discovery issues, working extensively for Toshiba Corp. in matters involving its NAND flash technology, including its litigation with Lexar. She also counsels and litigates for Funai Electric Co. Ltd., which sued Vizio and other digital television makers in the ITC last October.
Spotlight: Charles Verhoeven, 44
Partner, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges
Charles Walker Jr., 38
Partner, Fulbright Jaworski
Walker is Texas-bred, educated at Rice University and the University of Texas School of Law. So it seems fitting that his signature triumphs are in patent litigation for oil and gas clients. In 2006 he brought an infringement suit against Seadrill Americas, Inc., for client TransOcean Inc. The jury found infringement of the TransOcean patent on a method of extracting hydrocarbons from deep ocean waters, and granted a multimillion-dollar damage award. Then, before an appeal, Walker settled the case, helping TransOcean sign up multiple license agreements. Walker also helps clients navigate the now treacherous territory of business-method patents, including a current case in the Eastern District of Texas on a method that links tax refunds with a debit or gift card.
Oren Warshavsky, 39
Partner, Troutman Sanders
This entertainment lawyer is the only one on our list recommended by rock star Joan Jett. But Oren Warshavsky, a Fordham Law graduate, didn't seek the music business-it started flowing his way a decade ago, after he got a favorable settlement for rap label Tuff City Records, which had sued Sugar Hill Records for copyright infringement. These days his client list includes Nickelback, the Supremes, and Grandmaster Flash, as well as the estates of Bob Marley, Elvis Presley, and Count Basie. Since last May, Warshavsky has racked up four straight jury trial wins. He recently won $1.17 in royalties for the drummer of the Mexican band Los Huracanes Del Norte.
B. Trent Webb, 43
Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Webb proves that everything is up-to-date in Kansas City. A fiercely competitive native, Webb convinced a jury in 2007 that Vonage willfully infringed client Sprint's Voice over Internet Protocol patents to the tune of $69.5 million. Webb settled the case for $80 million. Even before Vonage, he boasted an impressive client list, including Nike, Sony Corp., and Garmin Ltd. A Drury College biology and chemistry double major and University of Missouri-Kansas City J.D., Webb heads Shook's IP litigation practice. He pays talented law school grads less than firms on the coasts would, but promises to let them lead Markman hearings as midlevels, and also attend their kids' school plays.
William Zimmerman, 36
Partner, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear
As a fourth-year assoÂciate, the honors Harvard Law School grad landed his firm the multimillion-dollar fight for Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. over the generic version of antibiotic Ceftin. He did all the technical expert witness work at trial, and won, along with lead Knobbe partner Darrell Olson. Since then, Zimmerman, who majored in chemical engineering at Notre Dame, has represented Ranbaxy in generic drug fights over Lipitor, Valtrex, and Biaxin XL. In 2006, Zimmerman invalidated one patent for Lipitor before the Federal Circuit (another Lipitor patent remains valid, however). The panel included Judge Alvin Schall, for whom Zimmerman clerked in 1997-98. Zimmerman recently moved back to Washington, D.C., to open Knobbe's new office.