Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has recruited John “Jay” Neukom, a former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan trial lawyer specializing in patent and trade secret disputes, to join the firm’s intellectual property litigation group as a partner in Palo Alto, California.
Neukom said he is grateful for the experience he gained at Quinn Emanuel, where he served as head of the firm’s trade secrets practice after coming aboard from Mayer Brown in 2012. But Neukom said he was attracted to Skadden because of the firm’s client base in Northern California and the opportunity to help the Am Law 100 firm expand its IP litigation practice on the West Coast.
“This is an exciting opportunity to join a world-class firm with a dynamic litigation practice and to help grow Skadden’s IP litigation team in Palo Alto,” Neukom said.
Skadden, which closed its San Francisco office in 2010, now has 75 lawyers working out of its sole Bay Area base in Palo Alto. Neukom said he is currently that office’s only IP litigator, as longtime Skadden partner James Elacqua retired from the firm in December. (Elacqua, who joined Skadden from Dechert in 2010, served as head of the firm’s patent and other complex IP litigation group.)
In stepping in for Elacqua, Neukom joins a group of five IP associates and two counsel in Palo Alto, with additional Skadden IP team members in New York.
“Jay is a terrific addition to our intellectual property litigation practice and to the Palo Alto office,” said a statement by Kenton King, managing partner of Skadden’s Palo Alto office. “His industry experience and world-class trial credentials will enhance our scope of services to clients in Silicon Valley and worldwide.”
Neukom is the youngest son of William Neukom III, a longtime general counsel at Microsoft Corp. and former managing general partner of Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants. The younger Neukom, who helped establish the Neukom Family Foundation, began his legal career in 2005 at Susman Godfrey in Seattle after clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Judge Jose Cabranes.
In 2009, Neukom left Susman Godfrey and briefly worked at Keker, Van Nest & Peters spinoff Durie Tangri and Boies Schiller Flexner before being recruited to Mayer Brown in September 2010.
While at Quinn Emanuel, Neukom had continued to focus much of his practice on patent and trade secrets disputes. He was one of the many lawyers representing Waymo LLC in its high-stakes trade secrets dispute against ride-sharing giant Uber Technologies Inc. over self-driving technologies.
“I felt so lucky to be part of Quinn Emanuel, including its trade secrets group,” Neukom said. “We’ve all seen, in the market, the increasing importance of trade secret claims in recent years. That’s in part because the landscape for patent litigation has changed, but also because parties are recognizing the value of a claim for trade secret misappropriation in federal courts.”
Neukom has also represented a number of other emerging and established technology companies, such as Cisco Systems Inc., Fortinet Inc., Google LLC, HTC Corp. and Koninklijke Philips NV. A Seattle native, Neukom also helped Quinn Emanuel set up an office in the city in 2015, serving as its managing partner before returning to the Bay Area in 2016.
Jenny Durkan, a former federal prosecutor hired by Quinn Emanuel as a white-collar and corporate investigations partner in Seattle and as chair of its cyberlaw and privacy practice, left the firm late last year after being elected mayor of the city.
Quinn Emanuel, which recently elected eight new partners and hired longtime Ropes & Gray litigator Harvey Wolkoff to build out a new Boston office, has watched a few other partners head for the doors in the first few weeks of 2018. Nine partners, led by top litigators Faith Gay and Philippe Selendy, left the firm last month to start their own shop. Neukom declined to discuss their move.