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Chadbourne & Parke has brought in executives from The Walt Disney Co. and General Electric Co., the latest in a series of hires from in-house legal departments to augment its growing intellectual property department. In New York, Stephen Manetta, the former head of the IP department at GE’s oil and gas division, has joined Chadbourne & Parke’s intellectual property practice. Manetta, who is an electrical engineer, spent four years with GE in Italy, where he handled IP strategy, including licensing and litigation, for worldwide oil and gas operations. He also has IP experience in computer and software technologies, electronics and medical devices. In Los Angeles, the New York firm brought in Rajappan “B.G.” Balagopal, former vice president for technology and intellectual property management at Disney, to become a senior IP strategist for the group. While at Disney, Balagopal, a registered patent agent, was in charge of patent strategy for Disney’s product lines, expanding the company’s copyright and trademark protection. In September, the firm hired Duane Valz, former vice president and associate general counsel of global patents at Yahoo Inc. Valz is splitting his time between the Los Angeles office and Silicon Valley. In New York, Kenneth Johnson, former chief patent counsel at Credit Suisse Securities LLP, joined of counsel in July, while Chuck Fish, former vice president and chief patent counsel at Time Warner Inc., joined of counsel in March 2009. John A. Squires, former chief intellectual property counsel at Goldman Sachs & Co., joined the firm in January 2009 and is now co-chairman of the IP practice. Hiring in-house counsel is by design, said Walter Hanchuk, co-chairman of the IP practice and a partner in New York. The firm focused on two particular industries: The financial services sector and the multimedia world. “It’s clearly by design,” he said. “We represent a number of those entities and continue to strategically place in those particular industries.” He anticipates additional hires in other industries. Manetta, for example, brings expertise in the energy sector — particularly important to the firm’s clean technology initiative, which includes former New York Gov. George Pataki, Hanchuk said. “We’re particularly active in the energy sector,” he said.

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