Brent Babcock.

Twenty-six years after first joining Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, IP litigator Brent Babcock has left the firm to join Womble Bond Dickinson’s Orange County office, Womble said Monday.

Babcock, who represented clients in more than 130 Patent Trial and Appeal Board proceedings at his former firm, will lead Womble’s PTAB practice.

“Womble is making a big push on the West Coast right now,” said Babcock, noting that the newly trans-Atlantic firm has significantly expanded its presence in California after acquiring local IP boutique Blakely Sokoloff Taylor Zafman in January.

“It is a good time for me to get in on the ground for Womble’s California expansion and make the push onto the West Coast, where I live, where I work, where I know a lot of the folks, a lot of clients,” he said.

Babcock started his legal career at Knobbe Martens’ Orange County office as an associate in 1992, fresh from earning his law degree at Georgetown. Since then, in addition to PTAB matters and other post-grant proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, he’s handled dozens of high-stakes cases in federal district court. He led the USPTO trials and post-grant proceedings practice group at Knobbe Martens.

“The [Leahy-Smith] America Invents Act, which was passed and began effective in 2012 and part of 2013, really changed the landscape of patent litigation, the ability to effectively challenge patents in the U.S. patent office,” Babcock said of the current IP litigation landscape.

Trained as a mechanical engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, Babcock’s cases have involved a wide array of technologies and products, including manufacturing equipment, medical devices and biotechnology.

“Being a patent lawyer is a great plan,” Babcock said. “It is a hybrid kind of career where you can use your technical specialty but also your writing and speaking, and analytical skills as well.”

In addition to handling federal court litigation and PTAB matters, Babcock’s practice also includes pre-litigation counseling, pre-interference and post-grant proceeding consulting, as well as federal appeals and patent-related alternative dispute resolutions.

“There is no substitute for experience, and Brent has an impressive track record in patent litigation,” John Morrow, head of Womble’s U.S. intellectual property litigation group, said in a statement. “He understands the business needs of clients, not just their legal needs, and works to ensure that litigation serves those clients’ overall business goals.”

Womble Bond Dickinson was formed one year ago though a merger between North Carolina-based Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice and the U.K.’s Bond Dickinson. It has about 170 intellectual property attorneys and patent agents in the U.S. and U.K.

The firm’s Orange County office, which it gained through its acquisition of Blakely Sokoloff at the start of 2018, now counts 13 attorneys, including lawyers working in IP and financial services litigation.