With the recent opening of a Los Angeles office, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s intellectual property practice keeps building upon its status as the go-to law firm for Silicon Valley technology and media companies looking for practical and business advice.
Founded in 1961 in Palo Alto, Calif., Wilson Sonsini has long dominated Silicon Valley. It counts 650 attorneys, including 175 who focus on intellectual property.
The firm handles strategic counseling, risk management, litigation preparedness and actual litigation, but David Kramer, lead attorney in the Internet and copyright litigation practice, said transactions are the main emphasis. "Every client has transactional issues every week, if not every day."
Kramer, who joined at the dawn of the Internet boom in early 1996, said his practice actually picked up following the financial crisis. "There is an increasing demand for domain expertise," said Kramer, whose high-profile clients include Dropbox Inc., Google Inc., Square Inc. and Twitter Inc. "The troll in the patent-­litigation world does not care about the economic world."
As one of the lead counsel for Google in a variety of matters, Kramer has obtained precedent-setting victories in lawsuits involving copyright law, online privacy, search rankings and defamation. He said his practice success stems from "predicting what is going to happen in five years from now — which is forever in the Internet." The firm is now defending YouTube LLC against consolidated copyright-infringement actions brought by Viacom Inc. under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The Los Angeles office, led by former Sidley Austin West Coast and intellectual property team leader Edward Poplawski, includes partners Vera Elson, Paul Tripodi II, Olivia Kim and Sandra Fujiyama, who also made the move from Sidley. "The Los Angeles market is particularly attractive for life sciences, especially medical products, new media companies and companies such as Google and Yahoo that are establishing substantial presence here," Poplawski said. Semiconductor industries and startup activities are also attracted by Wilson Sonsini’s name, he said.
The Los Angeles outpost counts seven IP lawyers and could accommodate 30. "There is a rapidly growing Asian influence in technology and life-science practices," said Poplawski, who hopes to combine the existing robust platform of Wilson Sonsini clients with those he brought with him and those his team formerly was conflicted away from.