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Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe hasn’t traditionally been grouped with Silicon Valley’s top intellectual property players. But the firm’s new intellectual property chairman says it’s about time that changed. William Anthony Jr., a Menlo Park, Calif.-based IP litigator who just took over as the practice group’s top partner, says he would like to see Orrick’s IP team quadruple in size in the next two or three years. Right now, the firm has 53 attorneys in IP, 36 of them based in Menlo Park. That kind of growth would put Orrick on a par with firms like Cooley Godward, which has 200 IP attorneys firmwide. “We’re in transition to what I call ‘critical mass,’ ” Anthony says. “ No matter what the lawsuit, we have a ton of people who know the technology and the litigation.” Anthony took the reins as IP chairman following the January departure of Terrence McMahon. McMahon was hired in 1995 from Jackson, Tufts, Cole & Black to lead Orrick into Silicon Valley’s legal marketplace. “There really is a five-year development window for firms to develop intellectual property. And Orrick is in the edge of that window,” says Katharine Patterson, an intellectual property legal consultant Anthony was the chief IP litigator at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison before coming to Orrick, which was starting to build its team around McMahon and others. “It’s easy to start something from scratch. Everybody was interested in setting up a practice,” Anthony says. He reunited with two other former Brobeck attorneys who had jumped about a year before — G. Hopkins Guy III and Eric Wesenberg. “I was getting kind of lonely there [at Brobeck],” Anthony says. “This is a very comfortable place for me. I have a lot of friends here.” Guy, who also worked with Anthony in the 1980s at IP boutique Townsend and Townsend and Crew, says that Anthony’s 30 years of IP experience help make him a natural leader. “He exudes an enormous amount of confidence and credibility for having done it for so long,” Guy says. “Bill has been trying patent cases long before they were stylish or popular.” Anthony cut his teeth on patent litigation at IP boutique Harness, Dickey & Pierce in Detroit, servicing automobile-manufacturing suppliers in a hyper-competitive environment. In 1982, he came to California, not known as a hotbed for IP litigation, to work for Townsend. But then the IP market began to heat up and in 1990, he became one of the first Bay Area IP attorneys to jump to a full-service firm. His last big win for Orrick was in November, defending Affymetrix’s GeneChip product from patent infringement allegations. For now, there is plenty of work at Orrick, but seemingly never enough people. Anthony says the need for more attorneys has been accentuated by the development of Orrick’s younger attorneys, who are scoring more of their own clients now — a sign that the firm is reaching a critical mass. “Our growth has been constrained by the ability to hire lawyers,” he says. But, he says, now that the reputation and people are in place, “once we get invited to a beauty contest, we’ll win it.”

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