Ten months after losing a $30 million copyright infringement case, ATopTech Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month in Delaware. The Santa Clara, California-based technology company has turned to three Am Law 100 firms to advise during its Chapter 11 case.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, Dorsey & Whitney and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati have all grabbed roles counseling ATopTech, a creator of electronic design automation software, which filed bankruptcy papers in Wilmington on Jan. 13.
ATopTech, which lists assets and liabilities each of $10 million to $50 million, is hoping to auction the company with a sale completed by the end of March. Dorsey & Whitney has taken the lead role advising ATopTech in bankruptcy proceedings.
In an application filed with the bankruptcy court to advise on ATopTech’s case, Dorsey & Whitney bankruptcy and financial restructuring co-chair Eric Lopez Schnabel stated that his firm has been paid $537,502 by ATopTech for prepetition work. Dorsey & Whitney, at various times, has voluntarily reduced its fees to the tune of $59,365.70.
According to the application, Schnabel is billing $745 an hour for his services. Dorsey & Whitney partners Janet Weiss ($980 an hour), Stephen O’Neill ($615) and Robert Mallard ($555) are also working on the matter, along with of counsels Robert Franklin ($545) and Jessica McKinlay ($480).
In March 2016, a San Francisco jury found that ATopTech infringed on the electronic design automation software copyrights of Synopsys Inc., a rival software company in Silicon Valley. The jury awarded Synopsys $22 million in lost profits, plus an additional $8.4 million of ATopTech’s profits from that infringement.
Synopsys is listed at ATopTech’s top unsecured creditor in its Chapter 11 filing, followed by Arnold & Porter, which is noted as being owed more than $2.7 million. Arnold & Porter senior counsel Paul Alexander, who joined the firm in 2011 from now-defunct Howrey, represented ATopTech in the copyright litigation with Synopsys.
On Jan. 1, Arnold & Porter merged with Kaye Scholer to form Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer. The new firm and Alexander will represent ATopTech in a bifurcated patent case against Synopsys scheduled to start next month. In Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer’s application for employment as special litigation counsel, Alexander stated that as of the date of ATopTech’s bankruptcy filing, the firm is still owed in excess of $3.5 million from its client.
Alexander also noted that a year prior to ATopTech’s Chapter 11 petition, the software company paid nearly $2.6 million to Arnold & Porter for legal services. The firm is billing the debtor between $530 to $995 an hour. Alexander is billing $875 an hour, up from $825 per hour in 2016.
Wilson Sonsini, which is serving as corporate counsel to ATopTech, rounds out the trifecta of big firms retained by the company. Restructuring partner Benjamin Hoch, who joined Wilson Sonsini in 2014 from Covington & Burling, stated his firm’s application for employment in the case that it was paid more than $1.2 million in legal fees prior to ATopTech’s bankruptcy filing.
Wilson Sonsini partners are billing ATopTech between $785 and $1,125 an hour, according to court papers filed by Hoch. Counsel and of counsel at the firm are billing the company between $695 and $795 for their services.
Shearman & Sterling partner Fredric Sosnick, head of the firm’s financial restructuring and insolvency group, and Delaware’s Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor are advising Draper Athena Management Co. Ltd., a venture capital firm seeking to acquire ATopTech out of Chapter 11.