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The Wilmington, Del., office of national intellectual property firm Fish & Richardson has been on a hiring tear in recent months, adding a principal and three associates since November. Gwilym John Owen Attwell was hired as a principal in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical practice at the end of January, and earlier that month associates Raymond Scott and Frederick Yu were hired, both of whom have experience with computers and electronics. Back in November, Kyle Compton, who clerked for Vice Chancellor Leo Strine in the Court of Chancery, came aboard as an associate in biotechnology, and pharmaceutical technology specialist Christine Goddard is due to begin work March 1. The Delaware office, opened in 1991, is also looking to hire an attorney for its complex litigation practice, a reflection of its intention to expand its activity in the state’s high-profile Court of Chancery. “We are looking for a first chair Chancery Court litigator with a national client base and have started interviewing candidates,” said William Marsden, managing principal of the office, now home to 16 lawyers and two technology specialists. Marsden added that the hiring process just got under way, and that the goal to expand complex litigation in Delaware was inspired by the success of Fish & Richardson’s Dallas site, which does a lot of commercial litigation and is now home to 40 lawyers, despite being only a few years old. The firm would like to do repeat that success in other locations, Marsden said. “Complex litigation obviously is an expansion of the kinds of litigation we’ve done in the past. Historically we have done mostly IP,” Marsden said So naturally, IP is where most of the firm’s growth has been. Attwell, the new principal, once worked for Philadelphia IP boutique Woodcock Washburn and then joined Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia to help launch that firm’s IP practice. He stayed for about three-and-a-half years. Attwell does patent prosecution and advises biotech and pharmaceutical companies on all matters related to patents. He said he joined Fish & Richardson because of the depth of its professionalism. “Fish, being a boutique, I don’t need to tell them why I need certain support and resources,” Attwell said. “I think the biggest reason I came was an opportunity to work with the quality people that were here already.” The firm had been on Attwell’s radar, and he learned of this particular position from a friend who worked in Fish & Richardson’s Boston office, its first and largest. “I said to him, ‘One day maybe I could work for a great firm like Fish.’ He said, ‘I’ve heard they are looking for someone with your background.’” That life sciences background fits one of the firm’s best opportunities. According to research published in 2005 by the Milken Institute, the greater Philadelphia region is rated third in the country as a hub of such activity, behind only Boston and San Francisco. With that in mind, the firm also hired pharmaceutical specialist Goddard. She will split her time between the Delaware and Boston offices and she joins Gretchen Temeles, another life-sciences tech specialist, who was hired during the summer. The firm also hired Tim Davenport as an associate in the fall. Davenport once worked for giant pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca as an in-house lawyer and patent agent. The beefing up of Fish & Richardson’s intellectual property personnel is logical considering that the firm, noted for its IP expertise, handles a high volume of such work. It’s also small wonder given the amount of patent litigation in Delaware, where U.S. district judges have pursued IP litigation for years and built a national reputation for handling such cases. With a new crop of life sciences people in place, Marsden said the firm began to put feelers out for those schooled in machine-related IP law. “We will always be looking for and eager to speak to well-qualified engineers and computer science people that can act across the firm,” Marsden said. New associates Scott and Yu fit the bill. Scott’s work has focused on prosecuting and litigating patents in the electrical, computer, mechanical and medical device fields. He worked for Woodcock Washburn before joining Fish & Richardson, and he was an engineer for W.L. Gore & Associates before becoming an attorney. “I’m originally from Delaware, and I’ve always lived in Delaware,” Scott said, adding that since he’s been a patent attorney, he has “always kept my eyes open for good opportunities in Delaware.” A recruiter called Scott about the opening at Fish & Richardson, and he jumped on it. “It’s hard to find a firm as broad and deep and well-respected,” he said. Yu’s choice to join Fish & Richardson was easy for the same kind of reason: what he called its “premier reputation.” Formerly an associate at Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner in New York, Yu also cited quality of life issues in his choice of Delaware. He had a two-hour commute into Manhattan in his old job. Now it takes about a half an hour. Experienced in both patent prosecution and litigation matters, Yu concentrates on computer software, business methods, communications, mechanical devices and fiber optics. Since joining Fish he has started work on a matter involving computer networking. With all these new people, the firm’s space is bursting at the seams. As a short-term solution it converted a conference room into two associates’ offices, but Marsden said he expects they will move into a bigger space by early next year. They’ll need it if the growth that Marsden is after comes to pass. “We do budgeting and planning a couple years in advance and try to ensure that we’ll have space, but we also try to remain open to opportunity. If you had spoken to me a year ago, I would not have known Gwilym (Attwell) was going to be available,” Marsden said. The firm’s regular plan calls for hiring two or three summer clerks and two or three fresh-out-of-school associates each year. “It’s the lateral hiring that’s harder to predict.” Marsden said. “You can’t really plan for that.”

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