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Name and title: David Drummond, general counsel and vice president for corporate development age: 40 starting from scratch: According to company lore, “Google” is a play on “googol,” the mathematical term for the numeral one followed by 100 zeros. That is one way to describe a company that soared from the dorm-room brainchild of two Stanford University graduate students to become one of the world’s best-known Internet search engines. Rapid growth also characterizes Google Inc.’s legal department, which had two other lawyers when David Drummond arrived as general counsel in February 2002, and now has 15 and counting. Google’s origins are modest enough. A friend’s garage became corporate headquarters when the company opened shop on Sept. 7, 1998. The space had a hot tub-a step up from the dormitory digs where founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hashed out plans for what would become a gargantuan Internet search engine. The queries kept coming. Little more than a year out, Google was fielding 3 million searches daily, and was up to 60 million by late 2002, according to Google’s own account. Today’s corporate culture pays homage to Google’s quirky origins. “Googlers” (company talk for employees) smile from photos on the company Web site: one cavorts with a dog, another plays Foosball. There are now more than 800 googlers. The company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters (called the “Googleplex”), features lava lamps, saunas, a massage room, video games, a washer and dryer, and other amenities for the work-hard, play-hard crowd. Despite the lighthearted tone, the company’s business is deadly serious. Drummond declined to comment on the company’s revenues, citing its privately held status; however, the New York Times reported on April 13 that executives have projected 2003 revenues to reach $750 million or more. legal unit: In keeping with the incredible growth at Google, Drummond said his team certainly does its part. “I wouldn’t say people are living at the office, but people are driven and engaged and motivated by what we are doing,” he said. Drummond heads a legal corps of 15, including himself, all based in Mountain View. When he signed on in February 2002, the company had Kulpreet Rana focusing on intellectual property issues and Miriam Rivera handling commercial matters, but no general counsel until Drummond arrived. Drummond ramped up legal staff on IP and commercial law, and he is looking to hire corporate counsel in New York and in London, as well as a patent attorney and a patent agent. Rana, the director of intellectual property for Google, marshals patent, trademark and similar projects performed by five attorneys. Rivera oversees roughly seven lawyers working on commercial matters. projects: Google encounters legal issues simply by being-and being big. “We believe in free expression,” Drummond said. “Our mission is about getting access to information.” Because of cyberspace’s worldwide reach, Google’s legal issues can emerge where it does not do business in the traditional sense of the word. Take China, which blocked access to Google in the fall of 2002, Drummond said, because Chinese authorities objected to material unearthed via Google searches. “We did not want to voluntarily filter our results, and we made that clear,” Drummond said, adding that he secured the services of a Chinese law firm, which he declined to identify. The firm’s mission: to convey Google’s concerns to the Chinese government. The plan worked. The Chinese government lifted the block two or three weeks after imposing it, having devised a screening system to disable links to material deemed offensive by the government. Content regulation was also the theme of a dispute that was playing out just as Drummond was coming on board. Google negotiated a resolution with the Church of Scientology, which objected to material critical of the church posted on Web sites that Google searches turned up, citing violations of the church’s copyright. “It seems a little odd to us,” Drummond said, that one organization’s copyright is violated by a search engine that simply points the way to information published on the Internet. Even so, Google removed links to material copyrighted by the church, said company spokesman David Krane, who explained that users can view the complaint letters at www.chillingeffects.org, which offers a searchable database of cease-and-desist letters, so that Internet users can monitor disputes over material posted in cyberspace. litigation: As for litigation, Internet watchers were abuzz over pending litigation between Oklahoma City’s SearchKing Inc., a competing search-engine company, and Google. The suit, filed in federal court in Oklahoma, accused Google of downgrading SearchKing’s “page ranking” on Google (which indicates how high a site appears on the list of results produced by a Google search) after the Oklahoma company instituted a competing advertising program featuring highlighted links. SearchKing claimed the downgrade hurt its business and is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The case has sparked an online debate about the impact of Google’s huge Internet presence. A November press release issued by SearchKing included these comments from Bob Massa, president of SearchKing and PR Ad Network, SearchKing’s advertising entity: “The case is about Google’s attempt to squelch competition by targeting businesses and arbitrarily reducing their PageRank or search status. So they’ve restored it for now. Next month, what’s to stop them from reducing my ranking again?” The suit is ongoing. Drummond declined to comment on this and all other current litigation. outside counsel: When Drummond has to tap the expertise of non-Googlers, he turns to various firms. General corporate work and some litigation goes to Palo Alto, Calif.’s Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati; IP work goes to San Francisco’s Keker & Van Nest; international legal issues are handled by Baker & McKenzie; and patent prosecution issues may go to other firms. route to the top: Drummond carved out his life in California, but he is a Kansan by birth because his father was a career Army pilot based at Fort Riley near Manhattan, Kan. Later, the family moved to Fort Ord in California, and stayed on the Monterey peninsula. Drummond earned his degree in history from Santa Clara University in 1985, then went on to Stanford Law School, where he received his J.D. in 1989. He went straight to Wilson Sonsini, where he would become a partner and remain for roughly 10 years. One day before he left, he got a call from name partner Larry Sonsini, who asked Drummond to meet with two Stanford graduate students-Page and Brin-interested in starting a company. “We hit it off,” Drummond said, explaining that he became Google’s de facto general counsel while still at Wilson Sonsini. He said he incorporated Google and worked on venture capital financing. In 1999, he left Wilson Sonsini-and also his work with Google-when Drummond became general counsel to CBT Systems, a computer-based training company. “I wanted to try an in-house challenge,” Drummond said. A little more than two years later, in February 2002, Google was building out its management team and needed a general counsel of its own. Convinced that Google was destined to become a great technology company, Drummond made the move. privately held information: Drummond is married to Marimo Berk, a high school teacher currently home raising the couple’s 2-year-old son. last book and movie: Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, by Robert Wright; and Drumline, while in flight. -Lisa Stansky

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