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Legal News: Law Blog - WSJ.com
Coughlin Stoia Launches Intellectual Property Practice
By Ashby Jones
Coughlin Stoia has decided to spread its wings and fly into IP land. The San Diego law firm perhaps best known for its association with a lawyer who doesn’t work there anymore, Bill Lerach, and for filing class-action shareholder lawsuits, said Wednesday that it has formed a new group to pursue patent litigation. The firm has plucked John Herman and Ryan Walsh from Duane Morris’s Atlanta office to kick off the practice. Here’s the press release from the firm and a story from the San Diego Union-Tribune (here).
According to the Union-Tribune, the move doesn’t mean the firm is switching to the defense side, rather the new IP group willl focused on enforcing the patent rights of inventors and universities against big business. “It’s actually quite consistent with our traditional practice,” says founding partner Darren Robbins. If you think about it, he’s right. A patent plainitiff needs the financial resources to go after large corporations — something that a plaintiff’s firm used to working on contingency is able to provide. As Robbins put it: “We can go eight years and pony up $30 million.”
This all comes as little surprise to the Law Blog, since we noted back in December the collaboration of Duane Morris and Coughlin Stoia in prior cases. Herman and Walsh will remain in Atlanta, “We view Atlanta as a good core market, and it’s centrally located, so it’s a good hub. We would have done it in Charlotte if the right lawyers had been in Charlotte, or in Dallas if they had been in Dallas,” Robbins told the Fulton County paper.
Herman’s departure ends his 16-year relationship with Woody Jameson, the head of Duane Morris’s IP group. Yesterday he waxed nostalgic about his now former colleague, whom he recruited to King & Spalding in 1992. “I took him to lunch at the Commerce Club,” he told the paper, and “we’ve been working side by side ever since.” He went on: “We are very best friends. On a personal level, I am very sad that we’re not going to be practicing law together anymore. On a professional level, I completely understand what John is doing and why he’s doing it.”
“It’s a side of law that he’s been keenly interested in and it’s something that you have a very difficult time doing on a big firm platform that doesn’t really specialize in plaintiff’s contingent fee cases on a fulltime basis,” he continued. “Who knows? Maybe he’ll get great plaintiffs’ experience and come back to the defense side one day.”
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