While the United States is undoubtedly the largest and most important single market, its sheer size and the divergent conditions for litigating life sciences patent cases from state to state have generated a number of local markets instead of a single unified scene. However, a few names have risen to national prominence and would be recognised anywhere in the United States, as well as further afield. This table identifies those leading practitioners.
“One of the best pharmaceuticals patent litigators ever” is the consensus among commentators on Robert L Baechtold of Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto. He is recognised across the country and has many “disciples” who have benefited from his mentoring over the years, demonstrating the value of his contribution to the market. He specialises in representing pharmaceutical innovators and is noted for his Paragraph IV expertise, among numerous other areas. Some speculate that Baechtold is nearing the end of an illustrious career, but his seniority and depth of experience make him a key rainmaker at the firm. Leora Ben-Ami of Kaye Scholer LLP is another leader in the market, with exceptional feedback extolling her “immense talent, fearless courtroom style and great judgement, all backed up by a wealth of experience”. She has acted on many of the most significant cases in the market for clients including Pfizer, Wyeth and Elan Pharmaceuticals; she spends a larger proportion of her time on life sciences patent litigation than many of her competitors, enhancing her “great reputation and expertise” in the area. The “complete loyalty of her team” is seen as further testament to the quality of her practice and her prestigious standing. The “star of the West Coast”, Morgan Chu chairs the litigation group at Irell & Manella LLP. He maintains a diverse portfolio of patent litigation work in a variety of industries, but is such a “terrifically impressive” practitioner that he is “very hot property” in the life sciences patent litigation market. He is particularly well regarded for his plaintiff-side representation. Donald R Dunner of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP is “the master at federal circuit appeals” with a “very strong, impressive style” and practice that “plays a major role in making Finnegan what it is”. His life sciences expertise lies predominantly in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Dianne B Elderkin is “very hot news right now”, having scored a major victory in Abbott GmbH & Co KG v Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc, winning damages of US$1.67 billion for Centocor – amounting to the largest jury verdict ever in a US patent case. This triumph has significantly boosted Elderkin’s already prestigious reputation and practice, which she has recently taken with her from Woodcock Washburn to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Philadelphia. “You want Ford F Farabow for a jury case,” say interviewees of the Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP stalwart, due to his “great charm and experience”. Mayer Brown LLP partner James Ferguson has won national renown for his work for innovators on biotech, pharmaceutical and medical devices industries cases. His Hatch-Waxman litigation is singled out for particular praise, along with his “uncanny ability to present and convey the most complex issues in a comprehensible way”. “Definitely one for the top of the list” is Anthony Figg of Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC. “Smart and experienced”, he is noted for his abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) and general pharmaceutical patent litigation expertise. William F Lee brings “top-flight knowledge and experience” to Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP. While he maintains a broad patent litigation practice, his “exceptional intellect” enables him to provide high-quality representation in all manner of life sciences cases. He is esteemed by clients as “extremely well organised, thorough, hardworking and superb on his feet”. Charles E Lipsey of Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP is hailed as “smart and a pleasure to work with”. He enjoys one of the most prestigious reputations in the market, being described as “among the best pharmaceutical patent litigators in the US”. His focus is on the innovator side of the industry; he “really digs deep, does his homework and understands the technology”, establishing the bases for his “forceful and convincing” courtroom appearances. David T Pritikin chairs Sidley & Austin LLP’s national IP practice. He spends a large proportion of his time on major life sciences patent litigation cases; of late he has been representing a major client in a matter concerning coronary stents. He is also busy on Hatch-Waxman cases. He is highly praised for his “impressive technical expertise”.