(Jason Doiy/ALM)

SAN FRANCISCO ­— The Recorder is recognizing NetApp and Lyft as the winners of its annual In-House Legal Departments of the Year awards.

NetApp is being recognized in the large-company category for its excellence in patent strategy, litigation, legal operations and its focus on cross-border regulatory and compliance issues.

Lyft is taking the top spot among emerging companies for its focus on patent strategy, product counseling, legal operations, and litigating some of the leading cases affecting gig economy companies.

The Recorder has also, where warranted, named winners in seven specialty areas for patent strategy, data security, product counseling, regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisitions, litigation and legal operations.

Two individual lawyers are being awarded with In-House Impact Awards for their specific contributions to their companies.

The winning lawyers and departments will be honored at a Nov. 16 dinner in San Francisco. Details on the event will follow.

The category winners are:

Large Company

Patent Strategy

• Square: Developed a system that leverages intellectual property for product and engineering development, all while filing 144 patent applications, and obtaining 80 patents from July 2016 through June 2017.


• Square: Completed a $440 million private placement offering of convertible senior notes to institutional buyers, led by Goldman Sachs & Co. and J.P. Morgan Securities, that had a 0.375 percent interest rate and allows the company to use cash and shares to repay investors.


• Varian Medical: Got a walkaway settlement in a two-year global patent war with radiation oncology and cancer treatment rival Elekta.

Regulatory and Compliance

• NetApp: Helped develop a digital, automated risk assessment tool that allows routine requests to be managed offshore and in-house attorneys to review escalated risks,

Legal Operations

• NetApp: Developed a shared services organization that centralized the legal team to manage routine activities, developed self-help solutions for the business, and limited the number of escalations to the internal legal team—resulting in reduced time spent on contracts and improved turn-around time.

Emerging Companies

Data Security

• Pure Storage: Helped establish a process for identifying and responding to potential security issues identified in open-source or third-party code, an important concern of enterprise customers, and worked internally on pressing general data protection regulation compliance issues.

Patent Strategy

• Pure Storage: Filed 231 patent applications from July 2016 through June 2017 and worked with engineers, developers and members of the company’s field and sales teams to bring new inventors into the fold.


• Exelixis: Inked four significant, complex collaboration and licensing agreements with Ipsen Pharma, Takeda, BMS and Genentech.

Product Counseling

• Exelixis: Obtained regulatory approval for Cabometyx, a therapy for patients with an advanced form of kidney cancer, whose disease progressed following prior treatment, and vetted the company’s go-to-market strategy and materials for compliance issues.


• Lyft: Enforced the company’s class action waiver and arbitration agreement in several lawsuits and got sign-off on a $27 million settlement in a California employment misclassification suit that preserves drivers’ status as independent contractors.


•Instacart: Navigated complex and divergent state alcohol laws and cleared the way for alcohol delivery on behalf of retail partners in more than 10 states and counting.

Legal Operations

• Lyft: Hired Frances Pomposo, a senior legal operations exec from Adobe, to establish its legal ops department and rolled out a new contract management system and internal legal site.

In-House Impact Award Winners

• Keith Askoff, at Varian Medical, helped the company’s litigation team at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan land a pivotal victory at the International Trade Commission dealing with radiotherapy systems in a wide-sweeping patent battle with rival Elekta.

• Nair Flores, at Lyft, has led an internal team that’s increased patent activity by 300 percent, all while avoiding arbitrary filing goals and focusing on strategic patents targeting core aspects of ride sharing and self-driving car systems.