Ropes & Gray is bolstering its Palo Alto IP litigation group with a lateral hire from Skadden.

Andrew Thomases joined as a partner on Nov. 1, the firm announced Monday. Thomases represents a range of technology companies in patent and trade secret cases, and has appeared before the International Trade Commission and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

James Batchelder, managing partner of Ropes & Gray’s 30-lawyer Silicon Valley office, said he has held Thomases “in high regard for quite some time.”

“I’m always open to working with just the right people,” said Batchelder, adding, “It wasn’t that I thought we had a hole. I reached out to Andrew and thought there might be an interest.”

Thomases said he was impressed by Ropes & Gray’s depth of coverage and global footprint. Members of the firm’s IP litigation practice are based in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, Tokyo and Seoul, as well as in Palo Alto and San Francisco. “Clients are getting more sophisticated and want deep benches of trial attorneys,” he said. “This is a great platform for my clients and future clients.”

Thomases’ departure from Skadden also marks a split from Skadden partner James Elacqua, who he has worked alongside for over 15 years. The two moved from the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where Elacqua led the litigation group, to Dewey Ballantine to Dechert before landing at New York-based Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in 2010.

Skadden’s IP litigation group added James Brelsford, formerly the chief legal officer at SanDisk, to its Palo Alto office earlier this year, and doesn’t seem miffed by Thomases’ departure.

“I like Andrew, so personally I’m disappointed to see him leave,” said Kenton King, the partner in charge of Skadden’s Palo Alto office. “I still think we continue to have the preeminent complex IP litigation in the Valley.”

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