David Elkins, Squire Patton Boggs ()
Fernando & Partners, a four-lawyer IP firm in Palo Alto, California, has agreed to join Squire Patton Boggs.
The group joining Squire Patton Boggs includes name partner Ron Fernando, senior associates William “Bill” Higley and Jacob Smith, and associate Prateek Bhatnagar.
Fernando and his colleagues specialize handling IP matters for electronic devices and software. Squire Patton Boggs, formed through a merger in 2014, had a team doing similar work on the East Coast, but recently has seen increased client demand in the area on the West Coast, said David Elkins, head of the firm’s IP and technology practice.
The move to absorb Fernando & Partners comes almost a year after Squire Patton Boggs picked up San Francisco-based Carroll Burdick & McDonough, a deal that Elkins said doubled the firm’s footprint in the Bay Area. Elkins said that having a larger presence in Northern California has led to more opportunities to do IP litigation and licensing work.
“We were developing opportunities to bring in new portfolios of client work where under our existing structure we really couldn’t do it,” Elkins said. “We could do it through smoke and mirrors, but that’s not how we want to work.”
Fernando, a former associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear who founded Fernando & Partners in 2013, said he was also running into requests for work he didn’t have the capacity to handle. He realized it was time to move to a larger firm.
When the licensing and due diligence work that Fernando did for clients led to their companies being purchased, Fernando & Partners would have to let go of the project because the small firm didn’t have anyone on staff who could do asset transfer work.
“I was basically turning work away,” said Fernando, who will be a partner at Squire Patton Boggs.
Gary Davis of San Francisco-based Patterson Davis Consulting brokered Fernando & Partners’ union with Squire Patton Boggs, Elkins and Fernando said. Davis had recruited Fernando to Morgan Lewis as an associate in 2011, and when Fernando started his own shop two years later, the two kept in touch.
“Very early on he suggested that eventually you’re going to get to a certain size where it makes sense to be on a different platform,” Fernando said.
When Davis set up an initial meeting between the firms, they clicked in terms of their client philosophy, Elkins said.
“As I learned more about Ron’s practice and the clients for whom he works, what I’ve found most interesting was the type of work he was getting was very high level and very important work for the clients he’s been servicing,” added Elkins. “The reason he gets that kind of work is his client service is second to none, and that’s an important part of our cultural fabric.”
The addition of Fernando & Partners is the latest move by Squire Patton Boggs to bolster its IP expertise. The firm announced this week its hire of Thomas Anderton, a former general counsel and corporate secretary at Mountain View, California-based ultrasound solutions company Zonare Medical Systems Inc., as of counsel for its IP litigation group in San Francisco.
Squire Patton Boggs also welcomed three IP litigators to its ranks last month in Frankfurt, Germany, from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, according to sibling publication Legal Week. The group included Reinhart Lange, Wilmer’s former managing partner in the city.