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Everybody likes a pat on the back now and then, and a recently released list of intellectual property law firms has several Philadelphia firms basking in recognition. The November issue of IP Worldwide contains the feature “Who Protects IP America: Top U.S. Companies Tell Us Their Favorite IP Firms.” The magazine surveyed Fortune 250 companies and asked which law firms handle their IP work. Several of these companies mentioned Philadelphia firms among their favorites when it comes to IP work. Listed most often — two or more times — were Woodcock Washburn Kurtz Mackiewicz & Norris, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and Dechert. Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott and Synnestvedt & Lechner were mentioned once each. IP Worldwide, a publication of American Lawyer Media, which also publishes The Legal Intelligencer, asked the companies to list firms in two categories, IP counseling/ licensing and IP litigation. The Philly firm which appeared most often was Woodcock Washburn. The IP boutique was mentioned six times by four different companies: Philadelphia’s Crown Cork & Seal; Blue Bell, Pa.’s UNISYS; Atlanta’s BellSouth; and Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J. Woodcock Washburn was glaringly absent from the list provided by one of its most high-profile clients. “Microsoft, a client near and dear to our hearts, didn’t even mention us,” John Donohue, a Woodcock partner, said, chuckling. “When I saw that I called the lead person here who deals with them and needled him a little bit.” But Donohue wasn’t that concerned with Microsoft’s oversight, attributing the omission to “a function of who filled [the survey] out.” “It was [Microsoft's] prodding that prompted us to open our office in Seattle,” Donohue said. Donohue was pleased by the clients that did choose to list Woodcock Washburn. “[The list] helps us in a couple of ways,” Donohue said. “One, it shows that we’re doing something right, that our clients our pleased with their service. It makes wooing other large corporate clients that much easier. It also helps us internationally. When you’re in Japan or Europe selling your services, they say, ‘Who do you represent in the U.S.?’, and we can show this list, which is the client identifying us rather than the other way around.” Donohue said that being singled out by clients also helps a 75-lawyer IP boutique like Woodcock compete with the large, general-service firms both for new clients and lawyers. “When you meet someone new, there’s a certain amount of recognition that goes along with that. It does bolster your credibility, which is important with the large firms competing for the same business,” Donohue said. “And when you’re recruiting candidates, they might say, ‘A lot of general-service firms have really great clients; why should I join you?’ This list shows the great clients that we have.” Glenn Gunderson, co-chair of the IP department at Dechert, said his firm also appreciates the recognition, which Dechert got from Fannie Mae and Valley Forge’s AmeriSource Health for the counseling/licensing work the firm does for both companies. “With respect to a Washington-based, national organization like Fannie Mae, I think it shows that Philadelphia lawyers can compete with law firms from around the country,” Gunderson said. “It’s certainly good to have the recognition; it suggests that general practice firms have strong IP capability.” Gunderson attributed Dechert’s IP strength to its wealth of in-house talent and early commitment to IP work. “We have had a full-fledged IP practice long before most other general practice firms,” Gunderson said. “We have strong capabilities in all of the different specialties, and most of our talent is homegrown, including myself.” Dechert can boast that Ralph Omen, a former register of copyrights, is on its staff, and Q. Todd Dickinson, a Dechert alum, is currently the commissioner of patents and trademarks. “To a very great extent the growth and success of our firm in recent years has centered around technology-related clients,” said Eric Krauetler, a partner in Morgan Lewis’ litigation department and coordinator of IP litigation in the Philadelphia office. “We feel very fortunate to have offices in all of the technology-heavy areas in the mid-Atlantic region.” Certainly, one of Morgan’s advantages is its size. In the Philadelphia office alone, the firm has 85 lawyers — 10 more than Woodcock has all together — and 15 non-lawyer Ph.D.s in the IP department. Those lawyers include six patent attorneys, one trademark lawyer and one patent agent. The firm puts that size to good use. During the year that ended Sept. 30, Morgan filed 1,486 patent applications and 1,657 foreign and U.S. trademark applications. The clients that listed Morgan include New York-based Citigroup and Philadelphia-area companies Cigna and Rite Aid. Akin Gump’s Philadelphia office handles two of the three clients that listed the Dallas-based firm. The New Jersey pharmaceutical company Pharmacia & Upjohn and the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc. listed Akin as a firm that they go to for IP counseling and licensing. Ronald Panitch, the Philadelphia office’s managing partner, says that Akin does its share of IP litigation, too. “We have done some fairly aggressive litigation for Pharmacia & Upjohn, and some for Aetna,” Panitch said. “But the bulk is the transactional work.” Panitch, however, does see a trend of increasing IP litigation in the future. “It has changed dramatically for us,” Panitch said. “The amount of general litigation is on the increase, and the amount of litigation overall is increasing. It’s a very hot area of the law, and it’s getting increased attention.” According to IP Worldwide, New York’s Fish & Neave was listed most frequently for counseling and licensing, by six clients, and Washington, D.C.-based Howrey Simon Arnold & White was listed most frequently for litigation, by nine clients. When both categories were combined, those two firms tied with 13 client mentions to outpace Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner, also of Washington, which was mentioned by 11 clients.

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