Intellectual property litigator Mary Bourke has left Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz to join the Wilmington, Del., office of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and will bring four attorneys with her to the new firm. Delaware legal sources describe the departure as a tremendous gain for Womble Carlyle, noting Bourke's success in intellectual property disputes.
Also joining Womble Carlyle from Connolly Bove are partner Kristen H. Cramer, partner Mark J. Pino, who joins the firm's Washington, D.C., office, and associates Daniel M. Attaway and Dana K. Severance. All four attorneys will work with Bourke in the firm's life sciences intellectual property department.
"Womble Carlyle is a good fit for my practice because their intellectual property units are growing and I want to grow my group and my practice," Bourke told Delaware Law Weekly. "They have great litigation bench strength and support for me."
Bourke declined to comment on whether Connolly Bove's plans to merge with Houston firm Novak Druce + Quigg, creating the nation's seventh-largest intellectual property firm, had an impact on her decision. She also declined to comment on how the move impacts billing rates.
Bourke did say that she will be bringing some of her Connolly Bove clients to Womble Carlyle. During her time at Connolly Bove, Bourke represented companies involved in the biopharmaceutical, chemical and medical device industries. "I have brought many of my clients with me and I hope to develop new clients at Womble," she said.
Delaware legal insiders describe Bourke as a "big player" in the world of intellectual property, while another source used a baseball analogy, describing her as "a healthy Ryan Howard and Chase Utley rolled into one."
Bourke joins Womble Carlyle with roughly 25 years of patent experience in both the district and appellate courts. She was the first co-chair for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s successful defense of its cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor against an abbreviated new drug application challenge by drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories.
Connolly Bove represented Pfizer in a number of high-profile challenges to Lipitor in federal courts throughout the country since the drug's approval in 1996. The drug has generated $1.2 billion in sales since its approval, according to data from Pfizer's website.
However, the amount of litigation generated by Lipitor has decreased since the drug's patent expired in November 2011, allowing drug manufacturers to replicate the product's compounds. The reduction in Lipitor cases was cited by Delaware sources as a factor in Connolly Bove's struggles in recent months.
Bourke has also served as co-lead counsel and first chair in eight abbreviated new drug application challenges to AstraZeneca's Crestor, which is also a cholesterol medicine, and she led the litigation team for LifeScan Inc. in an infringement action filed against it relating to blood glucose monitoring technology.