The Legal 500

Cooley LLP

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United States

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Antitrust

Within Merger control, tier 4

Cooley LLP received a considerable boost when it merged with Dow Lohnes in early 2014. The 22-strong antitrust group with offices in Washington DC and California is ‘excellent in handling complex global M&A deals’ in particular, and has particular strength in the high-tech and automotive industries. Clients say that ‘working with the firm is always a pleasure’. Howard Morse, who heads the team in the capital, is ‘practical and intelligent, efficient and responsive’, and has ‘a clear understanding of antitrust trends around the globe’. The firm represented Johnson Controls in its announced $7.5bn joint venture with Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems, and acted for Delphi Automotive in several acquisitions. Other key clients include Stratasys, eBay and Bertelsmann. Apart from Morse, the names to note are Jacqueline Grise and Marc Schildkraut in Washington DC as well as Francis Fryscak in Palo Alto.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Healthcare: life sciences, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s reputation rests on its outstanding emerging companies and venture capital capabilities, and its involvement in cutting-edge matters such as client NewLink Genetics’ collaboration with Merck & Co to develop and commercialize the former’s Ebola vaccine candidate. In a typically prolific year on the early and clinical-stage front, 2014 highlights included advising medical device company CardioKinetix on its $50m financing led by Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, Canadian player Xenon Pharmaceuticals on its $50m IPO, and Israeli clinical-stage company Vascular Biogenic on its $65m offering. Not limited to smaller transactions, the firm’s M&A record included advising Ambit Biosciences on its $315m merger agreement with Daiichi Sankyo Company, and OnCore Biopharma on its $750m proposed merger with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. Barbara Kosacz, based in California where the bulk of the practice is located, is an exceptionally highly regarded figure in the emerging companies space in a group which also includes Boston-based capital markets specialist Marc Recht, Washington DC-based regulatory and e-health expert Andrew Gantt, and strategic IP and licensing specialist Erich Veitenheimer, also based in the capital.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent litigation: full coverage, tier 5

Jim Brogan’s group at Cooley LLPcombines first-rate leadership skills with an excellent strategic and tactical sense’. Recent highlights include obtaining a number of full victories at the Federal Circuit on behalf of Facebook against plaintiffs Wireless Ink and Cross Atlantic Capital Partners. The team also succeeded in asserting Gilead’s exclusive rights to its hepatitis C drug Sovaldi in arbitral proceedings against Roche, secured a dismissal of a $1bn suit filed against Qualcomm by Gabriel Technologies and acted for the defendant in Creative Kingdoms v Nintendo, an ITC case concerning Nintendo’s Wii system and controller. Other notable lawyers include San Diego-based Anthony Stiegler, ‘a canny and subtle litigator who is well attuned to various arguments and approaches’, and Thomas Friel who heads the IP litigation group in San Francisco.

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Within Patent prosecution: utility and design patents , tier 4

Cooley LLP’s patent counseling and prosecution team has expertise in a wide range of industries, but is particularly strong in the life sciences arena: it has recently been advising Abaxis on the development and implementation of a worldwide patent protection strategy. Juniper Networks, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and Gilead Sciences also feature on its client list. Washington DC-based Michael Tuscan and Reston-based Christopher Hutter co-chair the group, and Erich Veitenheimer, Scott Talbot and Thomas Blinka are also recommended.

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Within Trademarks: litigation, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘efficient, practical and results-focused’ team at Cooley LLP is frequently instructed by clients in the technology sector. San Francisco-based John Crittenden is particularly recommended for online-related trademark disputes; he recently represented BitTorrent in a trademark infringement and cybersquatting suit against German company Bittorrent Marketing and obtained a judgment transferring 54 domain names and awarding $2.3m. Practice chair Peter Willsey in Washington DC and the ‘remarkable’ Janet Cullum in New York successfully defended Google against two individuals, who challenged the Google trademark based on its generic use to describe internet searches. Willsey also acted for Facebook in several trademark opposition matters, most recently successfully opposing the registration of the FaceMail trademark by Think Computer. Other instructions came from Global Personals and Sazerac Company.

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Within Trademarks: non-contentious: full coverage, tier 4

Washington DC-based Peter Willsey chairs the trademark, copyright and advertising practice at Cooley LLP, which addresses the trademark needs of clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. The group handles a number of global portfolios, advising clients on all matters related to international brand protection including trademark selection, registration and enforcement. In the San Francisco office, John Crittenden acts as primary counsel for Lonely Planet, Tesla Motors and Earthbound Farm on trademark-related disputes and infringements, as well as assisting with rights of publicity, international clearance and registration. New York-based Janet Cullum focuses on advertising, online marketing and privacy issues, and Scott Dailard is the key contact in San Diego.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Private equity funds, tier 5

In 2014, Cooley LLP’s highly regarded practice, which has a strong focus on venture capital funds, had a particularly prolific run of fund closings. Palo Alto-based practice head Craig Dauchy and San Francisco-based Ian O’Donnell handled the $1bn closing of Founders Fund V, while Dauchy advised Venrock on its first and final closing on its $450m seventh venture capital fund, which invests in technology companies and emerging technology. The group, which includes Aaron Velli, Bernard Hatcher and John Dado, is fund counsel to more than 300 investment fund organizations and handles small to middle-market funds, as well as billion-dollar funds.

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United States: Litigation

Within Commercial litigation, tier 5

Rooted in California but strong across the US, Cooley LLP has ‘real trial lawyers and is among the leaders for clients in Silicon Valley’. From San Diego, Michael Attanasio leads a team in which San Francisco-based Michael Rhodes successfully defeated a bid to unify multiple lawsuits against Google. The firm, which also represents Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, ‘blends traditional courtroom advocacy with new economy companies’. Stephen Neal in Palo Alto defended Gilead Sciences.

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Within Leading trial lawyers, tier 4

Stephen Neal - Cooley LLP: ‘Highly experienced’ Stephen Neal recently defended Nintendo in Creative Kingdoms v Nintendo, where the plaintiff alleged that the client’s Wii system and controller infringed three of its patents relating to fantasy video game MagiQuest; the court found in favor of the client and all patents were affirmed. Neal also secured a favorable ruling at arbitration on behalf of client Gilead Sciences in F Hoffmann La Roche v Gilead Sciences, in which Gilead’s exclusive rights to hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir were affirmed.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 4

Cooley LLP dominates the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotechnology space on the West Coast, in which securities class actions are rife. The firm also has ‘a great track record and high-quality service’ for clients in the food and technology sectors. John Dwyer in Palo Alto, who advised Affymax on class actions arising from its recall of an anemia drug, and Koji Fukumura in San Diego, who represented Arena Pharmaceuticals in a series of class actions and derivative suits, co-chair the nationwide practice. Lyle Roberts in Washington DC advised entrepreneur Mark Cuban on an SEC insider trading case and, with Palo Alto-based Stephen Neal, represented Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman in class actions stemming from its $11bn acquisition of Autonomy.

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Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 5

At Cooley LLP there is no shortage of white-collar trial expertise, with a bench that includes ‘great trial lawyer’ Stephen Neal in Palo Alto, practice chair William Schwartz in New York and recent recruit William Donovan, who joined the Los Angeles office from DLA Piper. As well as representing individuals, the team also has the capability to act for companies faced with white-collar investigations and Schwartz recently acted as co-counsel to Credit Suisse in a settlement relating to securities litigation brought against the bank for its alleged role in a $2.9bn Ponzi scheme. In San Diego, litigation chair Michael Attanasio enjoyed a number of notable trial successes including the rare withdrawal of a guilty plea for the owner of a payment processing company indicted for money laundering by the DOJ.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-$999m), Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s M&A practice continues to stand out for its technology, healthcare and life sciences expertise. The team advised Datalogix on its sale to Oracle, and assisted Volcano Corporation on its $1.2bn sale to Royal Philips. San Diego-based Barbara Borden heads the M&A practice.

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Within Venture capital and emerging companies, Cooley LLP is a first tier firm,

Cooley LLP handles the lifecycle of emerging companies – it has a genuine focus on start-ups and early-stage companies, with regular instructions to advise on company formations. Its dedicated website is an illustration of its commitment to the start-up and growth company sector. At the other end of the spectrum, the firm has an immense record in exits including IPOs, something Palo Alto-based Eric Jensen has extensive experience in. Among a series of IPOs in 2014, the firm advised TriNet Group, the cloud-based strategic partner to small and medium sized businesses, on its $276m New York listing. The firm also represented the underwriters on FireEye’s huge $1.1bn follow-on offering, having also advised the underwriters on FireEye’s $303m IPO in 2013. The firm also has strong regulatory and public company expertise to advise companies in the later stage of their lifecycle. Though frequently associated with biotech and life sciences, its work in fact crosses the entire emerging company and venture capital sector: other key sectors include tech, consumer products, cyber security and cleantech. In addition, it has an impressive geographic reach stretching from West Coast to East Coast, with every office focused on the emerging company environment. It also has one of the leading venture fund formation practices in the US. Key partners include Palo Alto’s Mark Tanoury who is one of the most experienced and highly regarded attorneys in Silicon Valley. Palo Alto colleague Eric Jensen is similarly esteemed and works with emerging companies right through their lifescycle, from early stage start-ups to major public companies. Palo Alto’s Matthew Bartus has a tremendous client base, particularly amongst early stage companies. Founding partner of the Los Angeles office Dave Young is another key name, while San Diego-based Fred Muto has an immense reputation, particularly within life sciences. Reston partner Michael Lincoln is another key figure, as is New York’s James Fulton. Alfred Browne heads the Boston office which also includes Patrick Mitchell. John Roberston heads the Seattle office and Michael Platt leads the team in Colorado. Kenneth Guernsey is an influential figure in San Francisco, as is local colleague Craig Jacoby who heads the emerging company team.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLPhas assembled one of the best teams in the US when it comes to the cybersecurity market and breach response. It is ‘a team that has the technical chops to match its legal acumen’ and counts various internet giants as clients, such as Google, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and eBay. Michael Rhodes chairs the practice from San Francisco and is supported by two vice-chairs: Matthew Brown, also in San Francisco, and Randy Sabett in Washington DC. Sabett is a recent addition to the firm having previously been Commissioner for the Commission on cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency; a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), he is widely considered to be a leader in cybersecurity incident response, and is ‘technically and legally competent’ with strengths in ‘general business, contracts, privacy, security, identity management, technology-related contracts, IP and liability’. Susan Lyon-Hintze left the firm in February 2014 to start her own practice.

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Within Technology: transactions, Cooley LLP is a first tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s ‘market-leading’ team has attorneys with extensive in-house legal experience and it has particular expertise in social networking, software as a service (SaaS), consumer electronics, information services, semiconductor and cleantech. Reston-based Adam Ruttenberg heads the firm’s technology transactions group and in 2014 assisted Pure Storage with patent acquisition and patent license agreements with IBM, and acted for CrowdRise in negotiating its alliances with major corporate sponsors and events, including NBC and the LA Marathon. Washington DC-based David Wittenstein has experience advising cable television, broadcast and other communications industry clients on syndicated programming and licensing agreements as well as a wide range of regulatory, legislative and policy issues. Peter Burns in Palo Alto focuses on outsourcing and transactions involving the acquisition, development and commercialization of technology. In another work example, the team assisted Everspin Technologies with its partnership with Global Foundries to manufacture MRAM memory chips. Palo Alto-based Carolyn Craig advises on licensing and strategic usage agreements and continues to represent Tillster in its transactions with Burger King and YUM! Brands on the use of Tillster’s digital store platform. Randy Sabett and Los Angeles-based Jennifer Massey are recommended in cybersecurity, and convergence of entertainment and technology respectively.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, Cooley LLP is a second tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s telecoms and broadcast team has historically focused on representing commercial broadcasters and cable television clients in various FCC regulatory matters and transactions that require FCC approval. Its client portfolio includes names such as Gray Television, Comcast, and Gannett Company. The team, which is led by John Feore, represented Cox Communications in FCC proceedings relating to the transition of the US telephone network from legacy technology to an IP-based network. In other work examples, it acted as FCC and antitrust regulatory counsel for Cox Media Group in a realignment of television holdings, and advised Digity on the FCC regulatory aspects of its ongoing roll-up of terrestrial radio broadcast stations, among other matters. Other lawyers to note are Michael Basile, who largely handles transactional and regulatory work for television, cable, and wireless companies, Kevin Mills, a transactional specialist in the communications space, Anne Swanson, who has extensive experience in new technology, and David Wittenstein, a copyright, programming, and transactions specialist.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP is often called upon for assistance with transactions that require FCC approval, and it also advises on licensing matters pertaining to wireless, equipment authorization and device regulation, as well as satellite. It recently advised Cox Communications on retransmission consent agreements for multiple TV markets with LIN Media and Raycom Media. Other mandates included assisting Granite Broadcasting Corporation with the sale of its television stations to both E W Scripps Company and Quincy Newspapers Inc, and assisting Digity Media LLC with its roll-up of terrestrial radio broadcast stations and advising on its expansion plans. Other clients include Oak Hill Capital, Comcast, and Hasbro. The key practitioners are practice head John Feore and Michael Basile.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Land use/zoning, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s three-partner land use and zoning team is based in Reston, Virginia, where it is supported by three land use planners and assists clients in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. In 2014, Colleen Gillis filed six significant zoning applications on behalf of Brambleton Group pertaining to residential developments as well as public facilities. Other clients include Capital One and Boston Properties. Antonio Calabrese heads the group.

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Within Real estate, tier 6

Cooley LLP’s seven-partner department assists owners, operators, developers, lenders, tenants and institutional investors. It often handles real estate-related capital markets transactions, and has carved out a niche in advising on data center-related real estate. Key highlights included advising Milestone Communications on the expansion of its portfolio of telecommunications tower sites, a matter led by Jack Lavoie. Lavoie is also leading work for PN Hoffman regarding a $1.5bn mixed-use development along the Washington Channel, known as The Wharf. It also acted for data center provider The Telx Group on its lease of 32 Avenue of the Americas in New York, as well as data center space in Seattle. In addition, the team is advising DuPont Fabros Technology on its ongoing data center expansion and acquisitions. The ‘fantastic’ Antonio Calabrese in Reston heads the group.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax, tier 8

Cooley LLP advises clients on transactions of all sizes in the technology, life sciences, energy, telecoms and real estate sectors, and represents major corporations, start-ups and high-net-worth individuals. In Palo Alto, practice group co-chair Mark Windfeld-Hansen focuses on M&A, spin-offs, restructurings and executive compensation, and senior counsel Robert Miller’s areas of expertise include federal and California income tax law and federal estate and gift tax law. In San Francisco, Susan Philpot is known for her work in corporate partnering arrangements.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 4

Cooley LLP’s earned reputation for handling federal, state and international controversies has led to an increase in mandates from high-profile clients. Stephen Gardner, who chairs the practice, and ‘experienced litigator’ Kathleen Pakerham led advice to ConocoPhillips on its refund action before the District and the Appeals Court for the dismantling, removal and restoration of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Other clients include Newmont Mining Corporation, NYSE Euronext and Shell.

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