Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe chairman Mitchell Zuklie believes Silicon Valley is on the cusp of a new wave of IP litigation. Instead of networking and smartphones, the new flash points will likely involve blockchain, artificial intelligence, connected vehicles and virtual reality.
Now Orrick believes it’s hired just the IP litigator to help lead the charge in such areas: Jared Bobrow, the co-chair of the patent litigation practice of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, joins Orrick on Tuesday. He will be co-lead of Orrick’s global IP practice with partner Sten Jensen.
“There aren’t many IP litigators as skilled and experienced as him in the valley,” Zuklie said. “He’s a world-class talent and a great cultural fit.”
Bobrow is a 25-year veteran of Weil whose most recent claim to fame was a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling that further fleshed out the U.S. Supreme Court’s TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands ruling on patent venue.
He’s the latest in a long line of IP litigators who’ve thrived at Weil Gotshal before moving on to other firms. Bobrow and partner Edward Reines were regarded as Weil’s last top rainmaking patent litigators in Silicon Valley, according to a 2015 Recorder story.
Bobrow said Orrick held three attractions for him. The first is the commitment to the technology industry, “no matter what perspective you come at it from: VC, emerging companies, IP litigation, licensing.”
The second is the Asia practice built by Orrick partner Xiang Wang. “The IP disputes that stem from or are related to Asia are only going to increase,” Bobrow said. “Orrick is really well-positioned to take advantage of that.” The third piece is an appellate practice that “to my mind is second to none.”
The move will represent a homecoming for Bobrow. He spent six years as an associate at Orrick before joining Weil Gotshal. A lot of Orrick’s personnel has changed over 25 years, particularly in the IP area, but he’s looking forward to being reunited with Orrick veterans like Lynne Hermle and Michael Torpey.
Bobrow handles both trials and appeals. In Micron he persuaded the Federal Circuit that the Supreme Court had effectively changed the law of patent venue in its TC Heartland decision such that other parties who had not raised it did not necessarily waive it. That decision sprung Micron from the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a patent infringement case brought by Harvard University. Following a claim construction hearing in the District of Delaware the case settled.
Bobrow also is representing Micron Technology Inc. in a series of inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
He and Orrick also have a number of clients in common, including Oracle Corp., Synopsys Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc.
Zuklie has identified technology as a strategic cornerstone for Orrick along with energy and finance. With IP practice leaders like Gary Weiss and William Anthony retiring in recent years, and trial honcho Chris Ottenweller beginning to step back from practice, the firm has been searching to add someone like Bobrow for a couple of years, Zuklie said. Orrick also lost patent litigator Neel Chatterjee to Goodwin Procter last year.
It’s probably not Orrick’s last move in the space. “We’re not done with our commitment to the sector,” Zuklie said.
Coming along with Bobrow is Weil Gotshal counsel Jason Lang. Lang does IP litigation and counseling, which includes helping clients understand their portfolio and evaluating IP risks. “But he’s also a courtroom lawyer,” Bobrow said, adding that Lang had helped argue claim construction for Micron in its dispute with Harvard.
“We wish Jared and Jason the best in their new roles,” Weil Gotshal said in a firm statement.
D.C. partner Brian Ferguson, who had been co-chair of the patent litigation practice with Bobrow, will continue to lead Weil Gotshal’s 40 patent litigators, some 80 percent of whom hold technical or scientific degrees, the firm stated.