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Three months after stepping down as head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Q. Todd Dickinson has landed at Washington, D.C.’s Howrey Simon Arnold & White. Dickinson joined the 600-attorney firm as partner on Monday. As co-chair of Howrey’s IP practice, he will help build the firm’s transactional IP business, which includes counseling, licensing and portfolio management. For the next couple of years Dickinson will be based in Howrey’s D.C. headquarters, but he plans to move to California eventually. Howrey has a 55-attorney Menlo Park office and is considering opening a San Francisco outpost. Howrey managing partner Robert Ruyak said Dickinson will help the firm build its transactional IP practice domestically and internationally. “He gives us the technical skill and management and leadership component,” Ruyak said. In addition, he has “strong knowledge of and contacts in Europe.” Howrey opened a London office in January that primarily handles IP litigation and counseling. Several firms had sought to hire Dickinson. He said he chose Howrey because of “the strength and reputation of its IP practice.” Dickinson did not make the decision lightly. Ruyak said he traveled to Howrey’s seven offices to meet with partners. The firm was formed last year through the merger of Washington, D.C.-based Howrey & Simon and Houston-based Arnold White & Durkee. Arnold White, once known solely as an antitrust firm, had built up an IP and commercial litigation practice by the mid-1990s. With the merger, the firm has about 135 IP attorneys firmwide. Dickinson joined the PTO as deputy commissioner in 1998 and stepped in as acting commissioner four months later following the resignation of the agency’s chief, Bruce Lehman. Dickinson’s tenure coincided with a boom in activity at the agency. During the Clinton administration, trademark applications nearly doubled and the number of patent applications increased by 70 percent. Prior to joining the PTO, Dickinson served as counsel with Philadelphia-based Dechert Price & Rhoads for three years. His previous positions included a five-year stint as chief counsel for IP and technology with Sun Company Inc. in Philadelphia and as counsel to Chevron Corp. in San Francisco. Dickinson said he already has clients lined up. After he left office “they approached me and said ‘when you land, let us know.’” Dickinson will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Friday, serving as luncheon keynote speaker at Santa Clara University School of Law’s IP conference.

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