Plenty of law firms tout their full-service intellectual property practices, but Morrison & Foerster has the legal firepower to back it up. The firm’s approximately 400 IP lawyers stay busy with patent prosecutions, high-profile patent trials, due diligence in advance of transactions involving technology companies and just about everything in between.
That breadth of expertise — which includes more than 80 attorneys holding computer-science or electrical-engineering degrees and 44 with doctorates in the life sciences — has helped Morrison & Foerster secure as clients some of the biggest names in the business, among them Intel Corp., Novartis A.G., Oracle Corp. and Toshiba Corp.
"I think we’re the only firm that has both a truly substantial, top-rate trial practice in IP and a substantial, top-rate prosecution and portfolio counseling practice," said Rachel Krevans, co-chairwoman of the IP practice group. "We have a very large prosecution group that on its own would be one of the biggest prosecution law firms in the country, and they are incredibly good at what they do."
The firm’s attorneys aren’t slouches in the courtroom, either.
Morrison & Foerster’s biggest recent victory was the $1.05 billion jury verdict it helped to secure for Apple Inc. against rival Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in one of the most closely watched patent trials to date. The firm’s team, led by partners Krevans, Michael Jacobs and Harold McElhinny, made the case at trial that several of Samsung’s Android smartphones and tablet computers infringed upon Apple’s utility and design patents. (Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr partner William Lee took the lead in defending Apple against Samsung’s counterclaims.)
The verdict was the second largest of 2012, although U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh reduced it to $598 million.
"The thing that distinguishes us is that we have a bunch of people who are really good trial lawyers and they aren’t afraid of technology," Krevans said. "They work with people who are steeped in technology, so they can figure out how to how to tell the story in a way that jurors will understand and think your side should win."
On the life-sciences front, Morrison & Foerster’s attorneys represent Novartis generic subsidiary Sandoz Inc. in a string of patent cases related to so-called abbreviated new drug applications. The firm has racked up litigation victories that opened the door for Sandoz to produce generic versions of certain drugs.