Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear is a major player in the intellectual property field. The Irvine, Calif.-based firm’s success stems from its full-service capabilities and combination of legal and technical expertise.

John Sganga Jr., who litigates patent, copyright, trademark and trade secrets disputes, said the emphasis is on providing industry-specific knowledge about areas including pharmaceuticals and medical devices. "Because we are big enough in the IP practice, we can have attorneys that have industry-specific expertise, most of whom have technical backgrounds," he said.

Knobbe Martens has 270 attorneys, including 142 partners and 15 scientists specializing in electrical engineering, optics, telecommunications, computer software, medicine and biology, to name a few.

Knobbe Martens represents clients at the startup stage; helps companies acquire and license intellectual property rights; and manages litigation arising from business deals.

As a midsized law firm, Sganga said, it faces the usual challenges. "We want to recruit top talents, and it has gotten easier for us since we expanded our offices," he said. The firm, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012, has opened three offices since 2007, including one in the nation’s capital.

"A diversity of office locations has added a big plus," said Sganga, who has been with the firm for almost 30 years. "Although we do not have an office outside the U.S., we do a tremendous amount of work for clients based outside of the U.S." He added, "by coordinating with counsels in other jurisdictions, we are able to put together a multinational strategy."

In Nobel Biocare USA LLC v. Technique D’Usinage Sinlab, Sganga and Sheila Swaroop, a partner in the Irvine office, represented the world’s largest dental-implant company against accusations of infringement of several U.S. patents. He won a motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of all patents six months after the suit was initiated, ensuring the client’s ability to operate in the U.S. market.

"We have been representing Nobel Biocare for over a decade now. We are familiar with their business and their industry," Sganga said. "This is a fairly aggressive strategy that we pursued in the U.S. and it paid off."

Last year, Knobbe Martens represented a Kyoto University professor in obtaining patent protection in the U.S. which led him to win a Nobel Prize.