Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has hired Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison counsel Menachem Kaplan as a partner and head of its U.S. intellectual property practice in New York.
Kaplan’s move comes less than a month after the departure from Paul Weiss of senior litigator Roberta Kaplan, whom he called a “great colleague,” yet noted his decision was unrelated to that of his namesake, who also has no familial relation to the 42-year-old Kaplan.
Instead, Kaplan himself was drawn to Freshfields by a U.S. expansion effort launched by the London-based legal giant three years ago, one that earlier this year saw Freshfields recruit a three-partner restructuring team from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer.
Kaplan, an IP and technology transactions expert who advised a consortium on its $4.5 billion buy in 2011 of Nortel Networks’ patent portfolio, as well as a Major League Baseball on a $1 billion media streaming deal last year, cited Freshfields’ cross-border M&A expertise as a critical factor in his decision to leave Paul Weiss after 11 years at the firm.
“IP deals are becoming more global in nature and transactional structures more complex,” said Kaplan, adding that he expects to work closely with Freshfields’ global technology and antitrust teams.
Kaplan, who started Monday at Freshfields, expects the firm to gradually grow its IP transactional practice in the U.S., which he hopes to focus on an expanding technology sector based out of New York that will increasingly have corporate ambitions abroad.
IP litigation, which has become a struggle for some firms due to changes in U.S. law, is not something that Freshfields is currently looking at getting into, Kaplan said.
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