Andrei Iancu of Irell & Manella.
Andrei Iancu of Irell & Manella. ()

Correction: This item has been changed to reflect that one patent agent works at Irell & Manella.

Irell & Manella took a slice out of the competition last year in patent disputes surrounding some of the most cutting-edge technologies.

For longtime client TiVo Inc., Irell was set to go to trial in its latest patent infringement battle when the case against Motorola Mobility Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. settled on June 6. Both companies, along with Cisco Systems Inc., which had another pending case against TiVo, agreed to pay $490 million.

Many of TiVo’s lawsuits over its core technology have settled at the brink of trial. That’s why the San Jose company relies on Irell to handle the litigation, which has totaled $1.6 billion in settlements, general counsel Matthew Zinn said.

“We don’t use them for run-of-the-mill patent-troll cases that aren’t really going to go to trial,” he said. “But if we think a case is going to go to trial, and it could have a real business impact on us, not just a small monetary impact, that’s when we use them.”

Leading the team were Andrei Iancu, Irell’s managing partner, and litigation chairman Morgan Chu.

Irell defeated infringement claims brought by Sequenom Inc. against another client, Ariosa Diagnostics Inc., one of a handful of companies selling a new DNA test that detects fetal genetic defects from the pregnant mother’s blood. A federal judge’s ruling on Oct. 30 followed a string of U.S. Supreme Court decisions addressing patents based on natural phenomenon.

“What the court found is that Sequenom’s patent they were asserting against our client, Ariosa, does not claim more than a natural phenomenon, and therefore it’s not patentable,” Iancu said.

Irell obtained a March 31 ruling for San Jose’s Tessera Inc. in a dispute over computer chip packaging patents against Taiwan’s Powertech Technology Inc. that ultimately led to a $196 million settlement this year.


Year Founded: 1941
Headquarters: Los Angeles
Total Attorneys: 166
IP partners: 23
IP associates: 37
IP counsel: 5
Patent agents: 1