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When clients talk about hiring J. Michael Jakes to handle their patent litigation, the relief in their voices is palpable. Not only does the Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner partner have an outstanding reputation for winning cases, he exudes an infectious sense of calm. One reason for that calm, perhaps, is the confidence that comes from an encyclopedic knowledge of patent law. Matthew DelGiorno, director of intellectual property litigation for the semiconductor company Broadcom Inc. and a former Finnegan associate, says of Jakes, “He’s just incredible. If I run across a random question, even if it’s not a case he’s handling, I’ll pick up the phone and call him because I know he’ll know the answer.” Broadcom hired Jakes to appeal a patent case the company lost in 2003. Broadcom had been ordered to pay Microtune Inc. about $8 million in damages and attorney fees, and it faced an injunction against part of its business. “That’s when we took it to Mike to get it reversed,” says DelGiorno. “His oral argument was outstanding. We were confident that the case was going to be reversed.” Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision, however, the parties settled. Like many other patent lawyers, Jakes, 49, came to the field armed with hard-science experience. He majored in electrical engineering in college, worked for a few years at Westinghouse, and earned a master’s degree in computer science in 1983 (“before PCs existed,” he’s quick to point out). After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1986, Jakes entered what was arguably the best training program in the country for patent attorneys: a two-year clerkship with Federal Circuit Judge Giles Rich, the principal architect of U.S. patent law. “It was an honor and a privilege,” Jakes says of the experience. “I continue to be influenced by him today.” From Rich’s chambers, Jakes joined the IP powerhouse that is Finnegan. In the years since, he has become particularly sought after for his appellate work before the Federal Circuit. And he co-writes a treatise on Federal Circuit practice and procedure, published by Matthew Bender. Leonard Metheny Jr., president and CEO of ApplyYourself Inc., a Fairfax, Va.-based technology services provider, turned to Jakes in 2004 to handle a Federal Circuit appeal in a difficult patent dispute with CollegeNet Inc. “A number of legal minds I’d consulted had recommended him,” says Metheny. “And after interviewing him — among other litigators — I felt he had a way of speaking to me as a businessperson that gave me a lot of confidence. Also, his record of litigation is outstanding.” Once inside the courtroom, Jakes did not disappoint. The three-judge panel asked some tough questions, recalls Metheny, but Jakes “maintained that sense of calm. He does a great job of thinking on his feet. He didn’t just have a plan; he had Plans B, C, and more.” Sent back to the lower court, the ApplyYourself case is still pending. Among Jakes’ other active matters is the defense of German business-software company SAP AG in a seven-patent litigation brought by i2 Inc. in the Eastern District of Texas. Tim Crean, chief IP officer at SAP, had worked with Jakes at Finnegan in the 1990s and has hired him for several cases since going in-house, first at Sun Microsystems Inc. and now at SAP. “Mike is the litigator to choose when you need the best, whether it’s delivering a flawless closing argument or crafting an appellate brief,” says Crean. “He’s also incredibly easy to work with.” A decade ago, Jakes’ law firm colleagues already considered him the standard for measuring new talent. Whenever a young associate of great gifts came to the firm, DelGiorno recalls, “People would say, �He could be the next Mike Jakes.’”

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