Finalist, Intellectual Property Litigation Department of the Year: Fish & Richardson

They aren't just ubiquitous—Fish handled 20 percent of all U.S. patent cases tried to verdict in 2012—they're successful too.

, The American Lawyer

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Fish & Richardson Litigation Department
From left: Fish & Richardson' Ruffin Cordell, Ann Cathcart Chaplin, Thomas Melsheimer, Juanita Brooks and Michael McKeon.

Fish & Richardson handles more patent litigation than any other firm. According to Corporate Counsel, an American Lawyer affiliate, Fish worked on 220 cases in 2012, more than double the amount of the next busiest firm. By way of comparison, the winner of our IP competition, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, handled just 48 cases that year.

Of course, any patent litigation shop can file and answer complaints. But Fish, according to the firm's internal count, handled 20 percent of all U.S. patent cases tried to verdict in 2012.More importantly, when Fish goes to trial, it's a force. In March 2012 partner Thomas Melsheimer won a defense verdict in the Eastern District of Texas for several U.S. airlines in an infringement case brought by CEATS Inc., a nonpracticing entity (NPE) with a patent on a process for reserving seats online.

Fish partner Frank Scherkenbach scored an equally impressive defense win for IPG Photonics Corp. in a patent dispute with rival laser manufacturer IMRA America Inc. After five years of litigation, it took a jury in IMRA's home state of Michigan just 45 minutes in October 2011 to side with IPG and Scherkenbach.

SIGNATURE WIN: In 2012 an NPE called Parallel Networks LLC accused 120 companies of patent infringement. Fish, which represented 37 of the defendants, helped bring the massive litigation to a quick end before the expensive discovery process began. Fish partner Michael McKeon and other defense lawyers won a favorable claim construction ruling that dismantled the plaintiff's infringement theory. At the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, McKeon delivered the winning argument on behalf of the defendants.

MAKING LAW: Fish helped win Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories, a 9-0 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 that narrowed the scope of patent-eligible subject matter. The decision, which has major implications for the burgeoning field of personalized medicine, was vindication for Fish partner Jonathan Singer, who helped Mayo, an affiliate of the famed Mayo Clinic, devise the argument that Prometheus' patent improperly covered a law of nature. Singer handled the case at the trial court level and the Federal Circuit, while Stephen Shapiro of Mayer Brown argued at the Supreme Court.

FROM THE CLIENT: Ross Oehler, the former chief patent counsel at Cephalon Inc., called on Fish to defend the company against challenges to its patents on brand name drugs. "What we appreciated was their depth of knowledge of the court we were before, as well as their depth of knowledge of IP in general," said Oehler, now at Johnson Matthey Inc. "We also appreciated their ability to pull resources from their different offices and then put them together in a seamless way."

ON THE DOCKET: Fish is representing Samsung Electronics Co. in a multifront patent battle with Ericsson Inc. relating to mobile devices.

Practice Group Size and Revenue

Partners: 99 Associates: 90 Other: 14

Practice Group as Percent of Firm: 57%

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