McKool Smith namepartner Mike McKool had just scored a $290 million jury verdict in a patent case his firm had taken on contingency. But because the losing party was Microsoft Corporation, McKool wasn’t celebrating just yet. The software giant is known for getting substantial damage awards in patent disputes slashed on appeal. Which is why, in May 2009, McKool urged his client in the case, Canadian software developer Infrastructures for Information, Inc. (i4i), to bring in the man McKool calls “the best”: Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner name partner Donald Dunner.

Dunner did not disappoint. At oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Microsoft’s lawyers from Weil, Gotshal & Manges argued that the district court judge had erred at every step in the case. Dunner, who says he spent more than 100 hours preparing for the argument, always had a quick retort. In March 2010 the Federal Circuit affirmed i4i’s win across the board. “I never want to do it again,” says i4i founder Michael Vulpe, who had the extra satisfaction of seeing the U.S. Supreme Court affirm the Federal Circuit’s ruling, “but if I had to, I’d use Finnegan.”

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