SAN FRANCISCO — Bingham McCutchen has lured five IP litigation partners from DLA Piper in Los Angeles.

The group is fronted by Richard de Bodo, who co-chaired DLA Piper’s patent litigation and life sciences practices and will help lead the IP and life sciences practice groups at Bingham. De Bodo is joined by fellow partners Siegmund Gutman, Andrew Devkar, Olga Berson and Bruce Kuyper. The group is expected to bring some clients and matters with them from DLA Piper, bolstering Bingham’s expertise in life sciences and electronics, said Geoffrey Howard, co-chair of litigation at the firm.

"We’re doing well, but the addition of this team will really fill out our IP litigation offering," Howard said.

The group’s technology prowess and clients will also help the firm enhance its offerings in Silicon Valley, Howard added. The firm hired a five-lawyer team headlined by Foley & Lardner partner James Chapman and Dinsmore & Shohl partner Michael DiSanto in March to expand its corporate practice in the Valley.

It’s been a busy lateral hiring season. Bingham is coming off the loss of a team of 11 securities lawyers — including San Francisco-based partner W. Hardy Callcott — to Sidley Austin last week. Sidley, meanwhile, had just lost five IP litigation partners to open Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s Los Angeles office in late March.

IP litigators make the rounds because the demand for their services is so strong in the market, said legal recruiter Avery Ellis. Even in tough times, firms enjoy good profit margins on IP litigation, which is one of few legal services for which clients are willing to pay a premium, he added.

"If you talk to any firm and ask them about their shopping list of practices, IP litigation is always at or near the top," said Ellis, who is executive managing director of Mestel & Co.

Bingham is the fourth firm in seven years for de Bodo, who handles patent and trade secret disputes for companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, electronics and software, among other industries. He left Irell & Manella to lead Hogan Lovells’ West Coast IP practice in 2006. He then moved to DLA Piper in 2010 as part of a five-partner group that included Gutman.

De Bodo and his group do not yet have an exact start date at Bingham, but the firm anticipates that they will begin work in the near term, a Bingham spokesman said. As for whether the partners will bring any supporting attorneys or staff with them from DLA Piper, Howard said:"We do expect that others may follow in the coming days." Partner Michael Meyer, who leads DLA Piper’s Los Angeles office, declined to comment on the departures.

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