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Let’s talk about market share. In the IP world, it’s a single-digit affair. IP firms simply don’t dominate the market in the way that, say, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati once ruled the Silicon Valley deal domain and that a handful of New York firms control the corporate finance corner of the universe. Yes, boutiques are disappearing faster than you can say inequitable conduct. Yes, large general firms are marching into this market with intensity, if not expertise. But no, there simply is not a top dog; there’s a pack. For the past four years, IP Law & Business has asked the Fortune 250 to name their primary IP firms, specifically their primary litigation counsel and primary patent prosecution counsel. A group of firms with familiar names like Finnegan, Howrey, Fish, and Kirkland have done well each year, winning the IP business of the largest U.S. companies; plenty of others pick up bones here and there also. This year, 130 companies identified their primary IP litigation counsel. The leading trial firms were Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner (nine mentions); Kirkland & Ellis (eight); Howrey Simon Arnold & White (seven); and Jones Day (seven). As a share of the market, each of these firms has between (magnifying glasses, please) 5 percent and 7 percent. (The market share for prosecution is equally small. Howrey Simon led the field with four mentions out of 82 companies that answered that question, a 5 percent bite of the market.) We come to praise these firms, not to bury them. Though their market share may be small, these firms keep winning assignments. Three of this year’s leaders — Finnegan Henderson; Howrey Simon; and Kirkland & Ellis — have made our cut of top IP firms (most mentions in prosecution and litigation combined) each of the four times we have done this survey. The fourth, Jones Day, missed the grade only once. Six other firms have made the combined list all four years: boutiques Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Fish & Neave, Fish & Richardson, and general firms Alston & Bird, Baker Botts, and Vinson & Elkins. A place on the list is not a sinecure. Corporations have to select firms each year, and they sometimes make changes. General Electric Co., for example, no longer listed Weil, Gotshal & Manges; Banner & Witcoff; and McAndrews, Held & Malloy as primary IP counsel but has added Fish & Neave, Goodwin Procter, and Jones Day to its stable. As the sausage maker, we are aware of the limitations of this exercise. Just over half of the 250 companies responded. Some firms encourage their clients to fill out the surveys; others have their heads in the sand. In life and on this survey, the client has the last word. Related charts: Who Protects IP America Top IP FirmsFirms That Prosecuted the Best Patents in 2002

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