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Former Dechert and Sunoco attorney Q. Todd Dickinson will be moving west, spending the bulk of his time helping Washington, D.C.-based Howrey Simon Arnold & White get its fledgling San Francisco office off the ground. Dickinson joined Howrey Simon in April 2001 — partly because of its Northern California presence — after resigning from his job of U.S. assistant secretary of commerce and commissioner of patents and trademarks. Though a Pittsburgh native who spent close to a decade practicing in Philadelphia before joining the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in December 1997, Dickinson spent most of the 1980s as an in-house counsel at Northern California-based Chevron Corp. Sources familiar with the situation say Dechert wanted Dickinson back. But Dickinson said that he was interested in joining a firm with a Northern California office so he signed on with Howrey Simon. Since that time, though, Dechert has opened a San Francisco office. Dickinson said he will most likely spend two-thirds of his time in California and the rest in Washington, D.C., where he will be responsible for heading Howrey Simon’s IP-related government affairs practice. He plans to retain residences and offices in both locations. “I wanted to do this because of a combination of things,” Dickinson said during a phone interview from California, where he is currently scouting out potential residences. “I wanted to re-establish myself in the Northern California market and I also liked the challenge of helping to build Howrey’s San Francisco office and helping to introduce San Francisco to Howrey. “I spent a lot of time [as PTO] commissioner in Northern California because the high-tech economy had IP matters that were so vital to the overall economy. So I think this will be a great chance to me to re-establish myself out here while helping Howrey with strategic planning, recruiting and other acquisitions.” Howrey Simon made a big splash last month when it hired top patent litigator Henry Bunsow from Keker & Van Nest to launch its new outpost in San Francisco. It’s now aggressively recruiting other attorneys to fill out the office. Initially staffed with 10 attorneys from other outposts, Howrey expects to have 30 lawyers sometime next year. Forged from the merger of antitrust firm Howrey & Simon and IP specialist Arnold White & Durkee in February 2000, the Washington, D.C.-based firm divides its practice between intellectual property, antitrust and global commercial litigation, with 80 percent of its work focused on litigation. But Howrey Simon faces intense competition from a host of other firms that are doing exactly the same kind of work. Nevertheless, the firm thinks it has a model that might set it apart from the pack by focusing exclusively on three practice areas. And it doesn’t hurt to hire a few marquee partners. Aside from Bunsow and Dickinson, Howrey Simon snared Roger May, head of Ford Motor Co.’s IP and IP asset management subsidiary, to head its own recently launched IP consulting subsidiary. Howrey Simon already has 50 attorneys in its Menlo Park, Calif., office but decided to move into San Francisco to tap the local talent. For the same reason, the firm opened shop last year in Chicago. It also opened offices in London and Brussels in the past year and has hired a slew of laterals. Dickinson was nominated by President Clinton to the position of assistant secretary of commerce and commissioner of patents and trademarks in 1999. He had been serving in the PTO’s top spot ever since his former boss, Bruce Lehman, resigned in January 1999. He joined the office as deputy assistant secretary and deputy commissioner of patents and trademarks in December 1997 after a two-year stint at Dechert. As PTO commissioner, Dickinson was responsible for maintaining and developing the U.S. patent and trademark system, proposing systematic policy and program changes to the president, Congress and the commerce secretary, and advocating U.S. citizens’ intellectual property rights. Born in Philadelphia and raised in Pittsburgh, Dickinson graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Law School in 1977 and worked for four years as a patent and trademark practitioner at IP boutiques in Pittsburgh and Illinois. From 1981 to 1990 he served as counsel to Chevron in San Francisco, focusing on both international and national IP issues. He then landed a position as chief counsel for intellectual property and technology at Sunoco, responsible for managing all IP legal matters across the globe. In 1995, Sunoco’s IP work was outsourced to Dechert and he became part of the firm, with Sunoco as a primary client. At Dechert, Dickinson, who traditionally worked on the transactional side of IP, also worked with patent litigators in defending the makers of the Ab Roller against a patent infringement claim. Brenda Sandburg of San Francisco’s The Recorder contributed to this report.

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