Neel Chatterjee. ()
A “very handsome man” and longtime Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe intellectual property partner Neel Chatterjee is joining Goodwin Procter’s litigation department and intellectual property practice in its Silicon Valley office.
“I’ve been at the same firm for nearly 20 years and I’m really proud of everything that the firm was able to accomplish and the role that I was able to play there,” Chatterjee said in an interview on Tuesday.
“[But] I felt like we had done so much and I really felt like I just needed to make a change and really challenge myself and do something new.”
Chatterjee, one of the most colorful IP lawyers in Silicon Valley who is known for his creative Halloween costumes, and who stood outside the White House about a week after the 2016 presidential election with signs offering “Free Hugs,” has represented internet behemoths like Facebook, eBay Inc., AOL Time Warner and Logitech in his 19 years as a partner at San Francisco-based Orrick. Chatterjee is perhaps best known for his representation of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg against the Winklevoss twins in their lawsuit against the social network founder. The movie “The Social Network” fictionalized that case.
Also at Orrick, Chatterjee successfully represented Synopsys Inc. in a nine-figure patent case brought by Dynetix Design Solutions Inc. And he represented Ruckus Wireless Inc. in a patent infringement case brought by Netgear that saw Chatterjee named “Litigator of the Week” by The Litigation Daily, and won Orrick’s IP team best IP litigation department in 2015 by The American Lawyer.
“Neel has been a long-standing and valued member of our IP team, and we wish him the best,” an Orrick spokesman said of his departure. “We are grateful to him for his service to our firm, and also to our profession.”
At Goodwin, Chatterjee will help build out the firm’s technology litigation practice in California—an idea that had been percolating in Chatterjee’s mind for some time.
“I see an opening in the market for a top tier technology litigation and trial practice here in the Valley and I really got excited about the notion,” Chatterjee said. “I like the idea of trying to develop a market-leading practice that’s also extremely diverse.”
According to The National Law Journal’s 2016 annual survey, Goodwin has 60 attorneys in its Menlo Park office in California, as well as 48 in its San Francisco office.
Chatterjee plans on collaborating with San Francisco-based Goodwin partners Brett Schuman and Shane Brun in building out a litigation team.
“Our objective here is to help change the world one lawsuit at a time, and to prove to the world that we can have a market-leading diverse set of trial lawyers and technology litigators,” Chatterjee said. “I’m pretty excited about getting the opportunity to try and build that, and I feel very fortunate that Goodwin is willing to give me that.”
Chatterjee said that he will not abandon his “Stick it to the Man” group as he makes the move to Goodwin. The morning after President Donald Trump’s election win, Chatterjee posted on Facebook that he was forming the group, which he said would file civil rights and First Amendment lawsuits if the opportunity should present itself under the Trump administration.
“It’s a vehicle to facilitate dialogue about things,” Chatterjee said of the group, which he noted is working on a number of still-confidential projects. But Chatterjee said he is also looking forward to joining some of Goodwin’s pro bono efforts.
“Very quickly after I agreed to come to Goodwin, one of the first things the partners sent me was a complaint they had filed in Boston to protect sanctuary cities,” Chatterjee said. “I thought that was awesome.”