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Davis Wright Tremaine, the Seattle-based firm, has acquired a three-lawyer San Francisco patent and trademark boutique, Parsons Hsue & de Runtz. The addition of James Hsue and K. Alison de Runtz as partners, along with Gerald Parsons as of counsel, brings Davis Wright’s San Francisco lawyer count to 40 and adds copyright and trademark prosecution skill to its six-member local IP litigation practice, according to the firm. “We’ve been looking to add patent expertise for a while,” says Martin Fineman, an IP partner at Davis Wright. “They’re wonderful patent lawyers, they’re highly respected and we have shared clients in the past.” Gary Davis, a San Francisco law firm consultant and legal recruiter with Patterson Davis Consulting who did not work on this deal, predicts that consolidation in the IP field will continue. “It’s not unusual for boutiques to look to the resources of a much larger platform,” he says. “If there’s litigation involved it’s hard to do that in a small firm environment, especially IP litigation, which is very expensive.” The Parsons lawyers and two patent agents have technical undergraduate or graduate degrees in physics, electrical or chemical engineering, which help them to “really understand their clients’ objectives with regard to their intellectual property assets,” says Fineman. Some of those clients include Stanford University, the University of California Board of Regents, Novellus Systems Inc., KLA-Tencor Corp. and SanDisk Corp. Davis Wright employs more than 480 attorneys in nine offices across the country. Although Parsons Hsue was only founded in 2003, its lawyers, patent agents and paralegals have a long history that spans several decades and the collapse of two prior firms. They had practiced together at Skjerven Morrill, a firm that dissolved in 2003. Before that, they worked at Majestic, Parsons, Siebert and Hsue, an IP firm founded in 1982 that disbanded in 2000. “Managing a small firm sometimes has its drawbacks, [like] dealing with the lease, dealing with the build-out [of the office],” says Hsue. “Being able to have somebody else to take care of that for us will be a relief so that we can concentrate on the practice of law.” Two associates at Parsons, Peter Gallagher and Peter Mikhail, joined Winston & Strawn earlier this year. And one of the firm’s founding partners has been slowing down. Although Parsons’ name is still on the firm letterhead, the 68-year-old lawyer has cut back to working about 70 percent of full time. He assumed his of counsel title nearly two years ago. Davis Wright’s Los Angeles office also employs four patent attorneys who focus on life sciences, biotech and medical devices. Seth Levy, a partner in that office leads the firm’s life sciences and California patent practice, says the Parsons group’s expertise in electronics, flash memory and chemical engineering will round out the technology services provided by Davis Wright. Petra Pasternak is a reporter at The Recorder who covers developments within law firms and corporate law departments.

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