Steven Baughman of Ropes & Gray
Steven Baughman of Ropes & Gray (Gary Parker)

Ropes & Gray’s sharp focus on intellectual property enables it to bring a show of force to transactions and litigation both in the federal courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“We really deliver across the spectrum,” said Edward Black, head of the intellectual property transactions group. That includes working for a wide range of high-technology and life-sciences heavy hitters, including EMC Corp., Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer Inc.

“The firm is willing to invest in the relationship. The more they understand our business or challenges or objectives, the better they can assist us,” said Paul Rodriguez, chief intellectual property counsel at client R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. Ropes is helping the printing company with a federal patent case against Xerox Corp. in Illinois.

Ropes has embraced patent office litigation procedures rolled out two years ago under 2011 patent reforms. The firm and co-counsel Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner of Washington stood in the victor’s corner with client SAP America Inc. when the patent appeal board issued its first written ruling on new review procedures involving business methods. The board canceled the five challenged claims in Versata Development Group Inc.’s patent. SAP is using the ruling to attack a federal court’s $392 million judgment for Versata.

“When the new mechanisms came along, we were excited about jumping in early,” said Washington intellectual property partner Steve Baughman.

Ropes is also a player in major intellectual property deals. Last year, the firm advised AstraZeneca in its projected $1.15 billion acquisition of Pearl Therapeutics Inc. and a licensing deal with Moderna Therapeutics Inc. that could be worth $420 million.

“We have very deep specialized skills in patent portfolio analysis. We have the ability, with our technical advisers, to assess the science,” Black said.


Year founded: 1865
Headquarters: Boston
Total attorneys: 1,006
IP partners: 76
IP associates: 126
Patent agents: 32