Two intellectual property partners from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan have joined King & Spalding, which is aiming to broaden its IP litigation practice.
Joseph Diamante and Charles Cantine joined King & Spalding late last week as partners. They mark just the latest partner exits from Stroock, which has seen several departures this year. In a statement Monday, Stroock indicated that the firm is shifting away from contingency cases, which at least partly motivated Diamante and Cantine’s move.
Diamante and Cantine have a general IP litigation practice, including patent, trademark and trade secret litigation, licensing, distribution and supply agreements, unfair competition work and counseling.
Diamante’s clients have included G.D. Searle, Citigroup Inc., Monsanto Co., Merck & Co. Inc., The Culinary Institute of America, Dictaphone Corp., Plainfield Asset Management, Diesel Jeans S.p.A. and New York Cruise Lines/Circle Line/World Yacht.
King & Spalding has been mostly on the defense side of IP patent litigation, in cases brought by nonpracticing entities, said partner Robert Perry, a leader in the firm’s IP group.
But as patent litigation has slowed down in recent years, “we wanted to broaden our capability” to include more copyright and trademark litigation and plaintiff side work, he added.
While the firm has a policy against representing patent “trolls,” plaintiff’s side work can include representing small businesses, universities and clients backed by litigation funding, Perry said, adding that Diamante and Cantine’s expertise in all areas of IP litigation will complement the firm’s practice.
Diamante said he and Cantine got to know King & Spalding well recently in PODS Enterprises v. U-Haul in Florida federal court. The trademark infringement action related to portable moving and storage containers and resulted in a verdict of more than $60 million for Diamante’s client, PODS Enterprises, in 2014. Diamante worked with King & Spalding as co-counsel on appeal of the verdict. The case was eventually settled.“We had a close relationship through the PODS case and we got to know the quality of the litigation team,” he said.
He said he was also drawn to King & Spalding’s larger platform, noting there are many more IP practitioners there than at Stroock. King & Spalding has more than 50 IP litigators, while Stroock has about 15 lawyers in the practice, according to its online roster.
“Here, IP is one of the major emphases of the firm,” Diamante said. “It gives me a lot more ability to attract more business” and to build deeper litigation teams, he said.
“It’s great to have a law firm that can do both the trial work and the appellate work,” he said.
In its statement, Stroock said, “We understand their desire to focus on contingency cases, and wish them well at their new firm in this endeavor. Stroock retains a deep bench in intellectual property and is committed to strategically grow our core practices from our very solid foundation.”
Stroock has experienced a high number of lateral exits this year.
In the last couple of weeks, a major entertainment dealmaker in Los Angeles, Schuyler “Sky” Moore, left Stroock for Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger.
Last month, Lior Ohayon, who was co-leader of Stroock’s corporate practice and chair of its private funds group, joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher as a partner in its asset management practice. And in March, a funds group led by Stuart Coleman, who had been co-managing partner for 12 years at Stroock, left for Proskauer Rose, Cooley hired former private equity chair Ray LaSoya in Los Angeles in February.
However, Stroock announced in June that it had hired a four-person restructuring team, including partner Brian Kelly, who was special counsel at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, special counsel Samantha Martin, who was an associate at Morrison & Foerster, and two associates.