Big firm. Big wins. K&L Gates scored the largest verdict in all of 2012 representing Carnegie Mellon University against Marvell Technology Group Ltd. The firm won a walloping $1.16 billion for Carnegie Mellon in a fight over two patents related to information storage technology.

K&L Gates partners Douglas Greenswag and Patrick McElhinny went up against the formidable Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Following a four-week trial in the Western District of Pennsylvania, a jury found that Marvell had sold billions of chips incorporating the technology without a license, and that the infringement was willful. That finding prompted Judge Nora Barry Fischer to boost the verdict to nearly $1.2 billion.

Peter Kalis, chairman of K&L Gates, said the Carnegie Mellon win and others in 2012 were part of the firm’s long-term strategy to make its IP team a key component of the 2,000-attorney firm.

"Helping clients create and protect intellectual property is core to our mission," he said.

On the defense side, the law firm got client Sigma International Ltd. out of a major scrape. Sigma was sued in 2010 by CareFusion, a market leader in IV infusion pumps, over a patent for one of its devices. CareFusion, seeking an injunction, alleged that Sigma had infringed to the tune of $171 million in lost profits. Confident that its client was not infringing, K&L Gates partners Michael Bettinger and Michael Abernathy went to trial in the Southern District of California against DLA Piper. That confidence paid off. Following a two-week trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for Sigma.

[Correction: This article has been corrected to reflect that K&L Gates represented Sigma International in CareFusion v. Sigma International.]

K&L Gates’ rise to the upper echelon of IP litigation is an endorsement of the business plan of a firm that has grown at lightning speed. Just a few years ago, K&L Gates did not exist. In 2005, Pittsburgh-based Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, which had 400 lawyers, merged with London’s Nicholson Graham & Jones. Two years later, Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Nicholson Graham joined forces with Seattle’s Preston Gates & Ellis. In 2008, K&L Gates acquired Dallas-based Hughes & Luce. Then came its acquisitions of North Carolina’s Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman and Chicago’s Bell Boyd & Lloyd. This year, the firm merged with Australia’s Middletons. Today, K&L Gates has 48 offices on five continents.

"Our IP group’s extraordinary performance in the last five years and especially in 2012 is the product of our long-term strategy to become and remain one of the world’s preeminent IP practices," Kalis said.