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Soon after partners collected their year-end distributions at Philadelphia-based Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis last week, three intellectual property partners and a counsel announced that they would be leaving for Washington, D.C.-based Piper Rudnick. Sources familiar with the situation said that the four-attorney group, led by practice co-chairman Daniel Christenbury, announced their intentions on Jan. 14. The group was rumored to have been on the market for months, and sources said several firms expressed interest. The other lawyers making the move are partners Guy Donatiello and Paul Taufer, and counsel Joe Chovanes. All four will enter Piper Rudnick as partners. Sources said at least two associates also are interviewing at Piper Rudnick. The departures represent half of Schnader’s IP partners from Philadelphia. Litigator Ron Karam becomes the sole chairman of the group, but the firm also retains IP litigator Jeffrey Eichen and trademark and copyright partner James Meyer. “These departures have been long anticipated and will have no effect on our core IP practice, which remains active and healthy,” Schnader Harrison chairman Ralph Wellington said in a statement. “I believe our departing colleagues will find a setting better suited to their work styles. We wish them well.” The move represents another major departure from Schnader Harrison but also the first significant addition from a transactional practice area to Piper Rudnick’s 26-attorney Philadelphia office. Piper Rudnick, which opened its Philadelphia office in 1990 with three lateral partners from Schnader Harrison, has six total partners in Center City — all of whom are litigators. The partner in charge is William Kiniry, who was rejoined last year by fellow products liability litigator James Brogan, who returned to the firm after a two-year stay at Philadelphia-based Pepper Hamilton. The other partners are litigators Daniel Ansa, Joseph Kernen, John McKeever, and the only remaining original partner, Ronald Schiller. Kiniry said the patent prosecution expertise should dovetail with the Philadelphia office’s patent litigation expertise. “These folks are great people, terrific lawyers and were the most sought after IP group in Philadelphia in quite some time,” Kiniry said. “We’re thrilled with the prospects of how their practice is going to marry up with ours.” Christenbury joined Schnader Harrison in March 1998 along with colleagues Austin Miller and Frank Cona after deciding to disband their IP boutique, Miller & Christenbury. Christenbury was considered key to that deal, being that the now-83-year-old Miller entered Schnader Harrison as counsel and Cona as an associate. Neither Miller nor Cona is making the move to Piper Rudnick with Christenbury. In the 1960s, Schnader Harrison was the first full-service Philadelphia firm to develop an IP practice, led by the now-retired James Drobile. The arrival of the Christenbury group came in the wake of the departures of the previous co-chairmen of the group, William Murray and Bob Koons. Murray left in late 1997 for Philadelphia-based Duane Morris and Koons in early 1998 for Pepper Hamilton, though he has since moved on to Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll. Christenbury is best known for his representations in patent and trademark prosecution matters, but he also handles patent litigation, opinions, licensing, due diligence investigations and analyses. His technical patent experience is concentrated in the fields of mechanical, chemical, chemical engineering and biotechnology. He received an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Lehigh University in 1981 and a joint law degree and master’s in business administration from the University of Richmond in 1985. Both Donatiello and Taufer joined the firm in February 2000. Donatiello came from Rohm & Haas and Taufer from IP boutique Paul & Paul. Their additions came as Schnader Harrison looked to expand its representation of biotechnology and software companies. Donatiello, who holds an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from Cornell University and a law degree from Villanova University (1987), started his legal career at the IP boutique Ratner Prestia. But after making partner in just six short years and building up a practice handling patent, trademark and copyright prosecution and enforcement for chemical and pharmaceutical companies, he spent three years as in-house to Rohm & Haas. Taufer, who has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Temple University, represents software companies, public utilities, medical providers, construction companies and fuel companies.

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