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May 10, 2011 7:07 PM

Kasowitz Adds IP Litigation Team from Sutherland Asbill

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

UPDATE: 5/11/11, 10:40 a.m. A comment from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan's managing partner has been added in the final paragraph.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman has hired a group of six intellectual property litigators from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan, the firm announced on Tuesday.

Partner Jack Minnear is based in Kasowitz's New York office. The other five attorneys--led by partner John North--are resident in Atlanta. The group includes Jeffrey Toney, special counsel Laura Fritts and Jonathan Waldrop, and associate Darcy Jones. The six officially joined Kasowitz on Monday.

The hires follow the addition in January of two IP litigation partners from Weil, Gotshal & Manges to Kasowitz's San Francisco office. One of those partners, Douglas Lumish, now heads Kasowitz's IP practice. He will move to Silicon Valley as part of Kasowitz's planned expansion there to focus on IP litigation.

"John, Jack, and Jeff complement our talented IP team," Lumish said in a statement released by the firm. "Their impressive capabilities in constantly evolving areas of patent law and the pharmaceutical sector will be a tremendous asset to our firm and our clients." 

Minnear's practice mostly involves work on patent infringement, trade secret, and antitrust matters.

North, who joined Sutherland in 1987, most recently chaired the firm's IP practice. The group he brings to Kasowitz focuses on patent litigation and trade secrets disputes. Representative clients include Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., Gemstar-T.V. Guide International, and Raytheon Company. Toney also handles transnational arbitration matters, with a concentration on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

"Our practice [focus] is on patent litigation and Kasowitz is a national, high-end litigation-focused powerhouse, and they're interested in expanding their patent litigation so it's an excellent opportunity and a very good fit," North says.

The departing attorneys informed Sutherland management of the move last Thursday, North says, after a few months of exploring the possibility in discussions with Kasowitz. He expects the group will take some client matters with them to their new firm.

Among the factors drawing the lawyers to Kasowitz Benson, North says, is the firm's willingness to deploy creative tactics to win challenging cases for clients. "We like to use innovate approaches to our practice too, and it was one of those things where both sides were speaking the same sort of language," he says.

Kasowitz was founded in 1993 and has more than 350 lawyers in offices in New York, Houston, Atlanta, San Francisco, Miami, and Newark. The firm's Atlanta office opened in 2001.

Mark Wasserman, Sutherland's managing partner, said in a statement: "We wish our former colleagues good luck personally and professionally. We continue to have one of the leading intellectual property practices in the southeast for both prosecution and litigation across a wide range of disciplines."

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