Baker Hostetler's new IP litigation team, from left: Jason Grier, Katrina Quicker, Michael Riesen and Valerie Dotson.
Baker Hostetler’s new IP litigation team, from left: Jason Grier, Katrina Quicker, Michael Riesen and Valerie Dotson. (John Disney/Daily Report)

Baker Hostetler has made its first new hires since entering the Atlanta market in January through a merger with intellectual property firm Woodcock Washburn.

The firm has recruited three IP litigators from Ballard Spahr’s local office: Katrina Quicker as a partner and two associates who work with her, Michael Riesen and Jason Grier. The team’s assistant, Valerie Dotson, joined them.

Woodcock Washburn, based in Philadelphia, had a seven-lawyer Atlanta office that Baker Hostetler acquired in the January merger. The deal almost doubled Baker Hostetler’s IP practice, adding about 70 lawyers from Woodcock Washburn. An Am Law 100 firm, Baker Hostetler has almost 900 lawyers and is based in Cleveland.

Quicker said she was drawn by the opportunity to build an IP litigation practice for the local Baker Hostetler office. “The firm and the Atlanta office are growing, so these are exciting times and a great opportunity for me,” she said. “I get to be at the forefront of growing a patent litigation practice. Frankly, that’s a big deal for a female patent litigator.”

Quicker said Baker Hostetler has offices in hot plaintiffs jurisdictions for patent litigation—California, Texas and Florida—which was another draw. “For patent litigation, you can bet your clients are going to get sued in these jurisdictions,” she said.

The office’s seven lawyers from Woodcock Washburn handle IP transactional matters, said the partner-in-charge, Christopher Arena, and the firm recruited Quicker to lead the IP litigation practice.

“We did not have anyone doing litigation or in the life sciences, so this rounds out our full-service IP offering,” Arena said. “Katrina is good with clients, an excellent lawyer and litigator and she’s a go-getter. She’s done a great job training Mike and Jason and is someone who can help manage and grow the practice.”

Quicker said she started working with Grier at Ballard Spahr after she joined the firm in 2010 from King & Spalding, and then recruited Riesen about a year later. Baker Hostetler’s office is in the same building as King & Spalding, at 1180 Peachtree St. N.E., and Quicker said she’s enjoying seeing old colleagues from the firm.

Quicker declined to name clients but she has recently represented Xerox and Johns Hopkins University in patent litigation, according to court documents.

She also is still working on a long-running copyright case with her mentor, Tony Askew, with whom she worked for the first decade of her career—first at Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and then at King & Spalding. Askew joined a local IP boutique, Meunier, Carlin & Curfman, in 2011.

Quicker, Askew and his partner Stephen Schaetzel are defending Georgia State University and the state Board of Regents in a suit brought by textbook publishers who allege GSU infringed on their copyrights by making their materials available online to students without compensation. They are working as special assistant attorneys general for the state Law Department.

The suit, brought against GSU in 2008 by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Sage Publications Inc., is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. The case is Cambridge University Press v. Becker, No. 1:08-cv-01425 (N.D. Ga.).

“I work with Tony as often as I can. We talk all the time,” Quicker said. But she said she needed the jurisdictional expertise, appellate and commercial litigation practices of a large general practice firm to serve her clients. “There is often a commercial dispute underlying a patent dispute,” she explained. “Those things benefit the clients tremendously.”

The new hires give Baker Hostetler 10 lawyers locally. Arena said the firm plans to expand the office into a fullservice practice as it finds the right people. “We’ll look for strategic opportunities, but I don’t need to grow just for growth’s sake,” he said, adding that additions would likely be in areas that complement the IP practice, such as corporate or labor and employment law.

“We wish them well. They’re all great lawyers. We’ll miss them,” said William Needle, a partner in Ballard Spahr’s IP practice.