Houston-based intellectual property boutique Patterson + Sheridan has opened an office in Waco, planting a flag in the Western District of Texas, where well-known IP litigator Alan Albright recently took the bench as a district judge.
Todd Patterson, a founder of Patterson + Sheridan, said the firm sees opportunity to file patent suits in the Western District to get them before a “well-experienced judge who has a history of patent cases.” He said venue has become more important in IP litigation in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Heartland decision, which limits venue options.
For the new Waco office, Patterson + Sheridan hired Abelino “Abel” Reyna as of counsel. Reyna is the former two-term district attorney in McLennan County who lost a Republican primary election last spring and left office at the end of last year. His office handled the prosecutions stemming from a 2015 motorcycle gang shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.
Patterson said hiring Reyna, who had a criminal defense practice before he became the DA, helps the firm expand its trial group. It boosted the same group last summer by hiring two Big Law litigators in Houston—John Barr Jr., who came from King & Spalding, and Jay Yates from Hogan Lovells.
Patterson said Reyna will work on IP litigation, but also rebuild a criminal defense practice, in part to provide trial experience for Patterson + Sheridan associates.
“Most civil lawyers don’t get to go to the courthouse that often, but criminal [defense] lawyers do,” he said.
Reyna said the move to Patterson + Sheridan allows him to expand his caseload beyond criminal defense work. He said he has not tried an IP suit before, but is looking forward to the experience.
The firm also recently hired Arien Ferrell away from client Intuit, bringing him on as of counsel in Houston. Ferrell, who had been senior patent counsel and associate general counsel at Intuit in California, has moved to Houston.
Patterson said Ferrell will continue to do work on Intuit’s patent portfolio, but also handle work for other clients. Ferrell did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.
The Waco office is Patterson + Sheridan’s third in Texas, in addition to Houston and Dallas. The 79-lawyer firm also has offices in California, North Carolina and New Jersey.