Greenberg Traurig recruited patent partner Bob King from Hunton Andrews Kurth to build a patent transactional practice for its Atlanta office.
The Greenberg shareholder advises clients on managing their patent portfolios and performs due diligence for transactions and licensing deals. “I look at the IP and make sure there are no potential validity or freedom-to-operate issues that could lead to potential infringement issues,” he said.
Patent prosecution makes up more than half his practice, King added, but it’s strategic procurements, not a volume practice.
While Greenberg’s roughly 100-lawyer Atlanta office has a significant intellectual property practice based around its marquee entertainment practice, it is more focused on brands and copyrights. “I’m the first patent person,” King said.
King spent almost 15 years on Hunton’s large Atlanta IP team before moving to Greenberg, where he started last week. “I respect that office a lot, and I enjoyed my time there,” he said. “They are a great group of people.”
King, 50, said the entrepreneurial opportunity to start a local patent practice for Greenberg to support its corporate practice was exciting. “The firm has 180 patent professionals — attorneys and patent agents — so I have great resources at my disposal.”
Greenberg’s Atlanta managing shareholder, Ted Blum, who also co-chairs the office’s corporate practice, said in an announcement that King’s “experience as a skilled patent attorney makes him an outstanding contribution to our clients in Atlanta and firmwide.”
“Ted and the firm are committed to grow this group with patent transactional and litigation capabilities,” King said.
King said he’s done a lot of work with payment systems, including mobile authentication devices, for banks, financial institutions and other fintech companies. He declined to name clients since he is still transitioning them, but he said his focus is on anything having to do with computer technology, whether hardware, software or storage devices.
King also has experience as a patent litigator, but he said patent strategy is more interesting to him. After graduating from West Point in 1991 and serving as an Army officer in Colorado Springs, he earned a law degree at night from Catholic University in Washington while working as a patent agent at Baker Botts.
Early on, he worked as a patent litigator at now-defunct Dewey Ballantine, but “my heart was in the patent transactional side,” he said.
At Dewey, he worked on patent litigation for large clients, so it likely would never go to trial. Instead the lawyers were taking depositions and writing discovery letters. “That to me was not exciting,” he said.
When King joined Hunton in 2005, he focused on patent prosecution and strategy. “I just think I have the knack for it,” he said. “I can see a client’s portfolio, understand where they are going and what the threats are for the space they want to be in.”
Meanwhile, Greenberg Traurig lost P3 practitioner Ken Neighbors to McGuireWoods also in Atlanta. Neighbors who has almost 20 years of experience on public-private partnerships, joined McGuireWoods’ public finance practice as a partner.
Neighbors has worked on several notable public-private partnership deals in Atlanta. He was part of the team that represented the Georgia World Congress Center Authority in negotiating Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s financing and construction. He helped structure the P3 deal to build the recently opened Northwest Corridor express lanes — nearly 30 miles of toll lanes on I-75 and I-575 — as a special assistant attorney general for the Georgia Department of Transportation.
He’s also advised Atlanta agencies on acquiring and developing the Northeast Corridor section for the city’s 22-mile BeltLine.