The Legal 500

Cooley LLP

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United States

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: renewable/alternative, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Cooley LLP’s ‘excellent’ work in the clean energy and technology space makes it a stand-out in the market. Practice head Tom Amis attracts praise for his strong belief in the clean energy sector; he is ‘able to think outside of the box and is a solid negotiator’. Highlights from the past year included advising Green Planet on the development and financing of agricultural waste-to-energy projects in Marland, Oklahoma. The firm is lead counsel for BrightFarms on the development, financing and construction of a nationwide network of hydroponic greenhouses. EDF Renewables is another client, which the firm advised on the acquisition of wind turbines for a project in Canada.

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

The highly regarded Barbara Kosacz, based in Palo Alto, leads Cooley LLP’s group and is well regarded for advising investors on spin-outs and public offerings, with particular expertise in M&A and complex strategic partnering. The firm’s impressive track record includes advising XOMA on its collaboration with Servier for the development and commercialization of the former's anti-inflammatory antibody drug candidate. It has also advised Reata Pharmaceuticals on the development and commercialization of bardoxolone, a first-in-class antioxidant inflammation modulator. More recently, it advised NextWave on its high-profile $700m acquisition by Pfizer; and Jazz Pharmaceuticals on its $125m acquisition of the worldwide development, manufacturing and commercial rights to ADX-N05 from Aerial BioPharma. Prevalent in public offerings for start-ups and clinical stage biotechs, recent clients for which the firm has acted on IPOs include Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Cara Therapeutics and Trevena. Boston-based Marc Recht handles a significant proportion of this capital markets work. A group of six recently joined from Mintz Levin in Boston and New York.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent litigation: full coverage, tier 5

Cooley LLP has ‘a deep bench of patent litigators and significant experience litigating in venues across the country’ acting for clients such as Facebook, ASUSTeK, HTC and Qualcomm. The practice successfully defended Websense to obtain a finding of non-infringement in a case brought by Finjan against a number of software security companies and also won dismissal of a case on behalf of Kik Interactive against plaintiff Intercarrier Communications, with a court ruling it did not have personal jurisdiction over the dispute. Other highlights included representing HTC and Nintendo as respondents to an ITC investigation, with an initial determination clearing them from claims of violating a microprocessor patent through the importation of certain consumer electronics. It has also been acting for Gevo on offensive and defensive disputes against Butamax regarding petroleum-alternative biofuel patents, to achieve a non-infringement ruling in one case as defendant. Thomas Friel leads the IP litigation team from San Francisco. Other key attorneys include Palo Alto-based Heidi Keefe and Stephen Neal.

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

At Cooley LLP’s trademark litigation practice, San Francisco-based John Crittenden has led on a number of key cases and is ‘an authority in the field of IP law’. Peter Willsey in Washington DC handles cases at both federal court level and before the TTAB, and Michael Rhodes, also in San Francisco, acts for hi-tech and online companies on contentious matters. Recent highlights include acting for a BDO Unibank subsidiary in litigation against Stichting BDO regarding the use of the BDO Remit mark, as well as settling a case for online retailer Beyond the Rack following its win to dismiss a motion for preliminary injunction against the use of the Rack term, in a trademark dispute brought by Nordstrom. It obtained a settlement for Facebook in a trademark infringement dispute brought by Timelines Inc, which alleged the client’s timeline feature infringed its marks. The practice has also been acting for plaintiff Sazerac in a trademark and trade dress infringement case against Hood River Distillers, alleging confusion claims between the client’s Firewater and Fireball products and the defendant’s SinFire Cinnamon whiskey brand.

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

Praised for its ‘exceptional strength in depth’, Cooley LLP’s trademark and copyright team assists in international clearance and registration matters relating to large portfolios, as well as assisting in rights of publicity, trademark dilution, false advertising and unfair competition matters. The firm manages Facebook’s international trademark prosecution portfolio, as well as handling all its trademark clearances, filings, oppositions and cancellations. New York-based litigator Janet Cullum is ‘excellent’ and gives ‘good, practical advice beyond pure legal analysis’, and is noted for her expertise in domain names. San Francisco-based John Crittenden advises Nintendo and Tesla Motors on trademark issues, including handling Trademark Trial and Appeal Board matters. Anne Peck in Palo Alto is recommended for international matters, and Washington DC-based Peter Willsey is a further name to note. Other clients include Lonely Planet, Pac-12 and LinkedIn.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Private equity funds, tier 5

Clients appreciate Cooley LLP’s ‘experience and ability to balance what is remote and what is material in order to get the deal done’. A market leader for venture capital fund formation and funds investing in technology and start-up companies, it recently acted for Redpoint Ventures on the $400m close of its early-stage focused Redpoint V fund, and advised Trinity Ventures on the formation of its digital technology-focused Trinity V fund. Washington DC based Thomas Salley is ‘terrific for venture capital and private equity’, and New York based Jeremy Naylor is ‘outstanding for tax and deal structuring’. In San Francisco, Bernard Hatcher is recommended for his compliance expertise. Palo Alto based team head Craig Dauchy also stands out.

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United States: Litigation

Within Leading trial lawyers, Cooley LLP is a third tier firm,

Stephen Neal Cooley LLP: The ‘deeply experienced’ Stephen Neal is a highly significant figure in this ‘firm of excellent trial lawyers’. He was recently active on behalf of longstanding client Nintendo in an International Trade Commission Section 337 investigation initiated by live-action adventure game manufacturer Creative Kingdom. Numerous other lawyers stand out at this firm: Michael Rhodes is ‘very effective in the courtroom’; William Schwartz and Jonathan Bach are ‘respected by their peers’; Steve Strauss is noted for ‘great preparation’; Michael Attanasio and patent litigation specialist Thomas Friel are also names to note.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 5

Cooley LLP is ‘very busy on the West Coast and has cornered the market for life sciences companies’. John Dwyer in Palo Alto and Koji Fukumura in San Diego co-chair a practice that is ‘one of the dominant players in the Ninth Circuit’. Although centered in the technology hotspot that is the West Coast, the firm also has a growing nationwide presence through partners such as William Schwartz in New York, who advised Credit Suisse on a multi-district securities fraud matter relating to the collapse of NCFE; Lyle Roberts in Washington DC, who successfully defended an SEC action for a client accused of influencing stock prices through insider trading; and Robert Lovett in Boston, who won at trial in Delaware Chancery Court. Dwyer and Palo Alto-based Stephen Neal are acting for Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman in class actions relating to its Autonomy acquisition.

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Within White-collar criminal defense, tier 6

Despite being relatively small, Cooley LLP has some ‘very, very good people’, who are particularly renowned for representing individuals. With partners spread across the East and West coasts, the team is able to assist clients across the country facing investigations by both state and federal regulators. Major securities fraud cases are a key feature, and the team recently secured an acquittal for a prominent individual charged with insider trading in a highly publicized case heard in Texas. In San Diego, Michael Attanasio has broad expertise which includes criminal antitrust, conspiracy and wire fraud. Also recommended, in the New York office, are Alan Levine, who acts for household name clients in the banking sector, and William Schwartz, whose recent cases include a securities fraud case in Ohio for a multinational financial services client. In Palo Alto, Stephen Neal is the name to note; his experience extends across tax, trade secrets and government contracts.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

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

Cooley LLP’s 40-lawyer interdisciplinary privacy group is led by Michael Rhodes and Matthew Brown in San Francisco. It regularly represents clients in regulatory inquiries and investigations by the FTC and other regulatory authorities. A highlight for the firm was its role as lead counsel for Facebook in the widely publicized class action regarding its ‘Beacon’ feature. It is also defending LinkedIn in four consolidated privacy class actions arising from a hacking incident in 2012. Healthcare regulation specialist Drew Gantt in Washington DC advises on HIPAA/HITECH compliance and healthcare data privacy. Former practice co-head Susan Lyon-Hintze left the firm in February 2014 to set up her own practice.

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

Cooley LLP’s 40-lawyer practice, which undertakes complex technology and licensing transactions, is led by Adam Ruttenberg. The recent merger with Dow Lohnes added six licensing lawyers to the group, including the legacy firm’s former practice head David Wittenstein, Jonathan Hart, who handles licensing and newspaper work, and former engineer Randy Sabett who advises on cybersecurity; all are based in Washington DC. Clients range from established software and hardware infrastructure vendors and companies where IP is a key value driver, to innovative start-ups. It has particular expertise in social networking, SaaS, consumer electronics, information services, semiconductor and cleantech technology. 2013 saw continued focus on converging media as well as hardware developments including second-screen technology. Ruttenberg advised Facebook on its acquisition of further patent portfolios. Jennifer Massey in Los Angeles specializes in the convergence of entertainment and technology while Carolyn Craig in Palo Alto advises on licensing and strategic usage agreements. Recent instructions include assisting Qualcomm with the IP aspects of its $800m sale of Omnitracs to Vista Equity Partners, advising Audax on its sale to United Health Group, and advising Backflip Studios on its acquisition by Hasbro, including IP cross-licenses. On the pure tech side, Ruttenberg advised Crocus Technology on several strategic licensing matters, including the strategic IP license of its MLU technology to ARM. Other clients include Cox Communications, DraftKings, FoundationDB and Scality.

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

Cooley LLP’s practice joins the table following its merger with Dow Lohnes in January 2014. The team is led by John Feore in Washington DC and represents some 300 commercial television stations and 250 commercial radio stations before the FCC on licensing, operational, transactional and content issues. It also assists media companies with financial, business and regulatory matters. Feore served as regulatory counsel to SoftBank in its $20.1bn acquisition of a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel, the third-largest wireless carrier in the US, and continues to serve as regulatory counsel for the same client for all its US wireless pursuits. Other highlights saw the group advising Gray Television on its $335m acquisition of Hoak Media properties, and advising The Meredith Corporation on its $407m acquisition of stations from Gannett and Allbritton via a $985m transaction with Sinclair. The group continues to advise Comcast on program access and licensing-related matters. Michael Basile has expertise in federal law and regulations relating to the ownership and acquisition of media properties; he advises various television and radio group owners on FCC matters. Anne Swanson maintains a robust practice in the burgeoning area of spectrum issues related to navigation and drones/unmanned aerial vehicles.

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

Cooley LLP has acquired the team from legacy firm Dow Lohnes, following the merger. It led by John Feore in Washington DC, who recently served as regulatory counsel to SoftBank in its $20.1bn acquisition of a 70% stake in Sprint Nextel. Other instructions came from Gray Television in its $335m acquisition of Hoak Media, the Meredith Corporation in its $407m acquisition of stations from Gannett, and The Allbritton Communications Company in its $985m transaction with Sinclair Group. Michael Basile, whose regulatory experience complements the practice, is also recommended.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

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

Cooley LLP’s M&A practice is particularly known for its work in the technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. It also handles acquisitions of venture capital backed corporations and other closely held entities, and regularly negotiates acquisitions involving large, publicly traded companies. The team acted for Jazz Pharmaceuticals on its $125m acquisition from Aerial BioPharma of the worldwide development, manufacturing and commercial rights to ADX-N05, which is being developed for the treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness in patients suffering from narcolepsy; and acted for Mandiant Corporation, in the field of security incident response management, on its acquisition by FireEye, valued at more than $1bn. The team also assisted NextBio, a Santa Clara-based leader in clinical and genomic informatics, on its sale to Illumina, a developer, manufacturer and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic variation and function. San Diego-based M&A head Barbara Borden has experience representing a broad range of technology, life sciences and other growth companies.

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

Cooley LLP, ‘outstanding in all areas’, has ‘massive connections’ in the venture capital and emerging technology community, particularly in Boston, New York, Washington DC and the across the West Coast. The firm is a genuine ‘enabler’, bringing together venture funds and promising growth companies, and its ‘large and diversified practice’ remains closely involved in the entire life cycle of emerging companies. In public offerings, the firm had a strong 2012-2013, in part because its many life sciences clients decided to access the equity markets; it advised on 35 IPOs during this period, of which 13 were for life sciences companies. The firm’s leading position in this industry space was reinforced when Reston partner Kenneth Krisko led advice to immatics biotechnologies and Molecular Partners on two separate collaboration agreements with Roche; the deals are potentially worth more then $1bn. Elsewhere, it advised Tableau Software on its IPO in 2013. Other key industries include consumer products and cleantech. With the uptick in public offerings, it also experienced considerable growth in later-stage financings, including Series D, E and F financings. Among highlights, it advised Pure Storage on its $150m Series E financing. It also advised Revance Therapeutics on its $110m Series E preferred stock financing. The Silicon Valley giant is one of few firms with a core focus on emerging companies and venture capital, and at the same time has a genuine geographic spread. In January 2014, it significantly bolstered its regulatory expertise in the communications, education and media sectors through a merger with Washington DC’s Dow Lohnes. Besides Krisko, other standout names include ‘terrific lawyer’ and Mark Tanoury and his Palo Alto colleague Eric Jensen. New York’s James Fulton and Reston and New York partner Michael Lincoln are also highly respected, as is Ryan Naftulin, the partner in charge of the Washington DC office. San Diego-based Fred Muto is ‘always available at a moment’s notice’, is ‘excellent at dealing with investors, directors and potential partners’ and has ‘extensive experience of life sciences transactions and corporate formations’. San Francisco’s Craig Jacoby heads the emerging companies group.

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United States: Real estate and construction

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

With ten attorneys and three urban planners in its land use team, Cooley LLP has broad expertise across land use, zoning and development matters and acts nationwide for a client base across diverse industries. In a major work highlight, the group advised longstanding client Capital One on rezoning its 26-acre campus on the Virginia Capital Beltway. Reston-based Antonio Calabrese heads the practice.

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Within Real estate, tier 5

Among Cooley LLP’s key strengths are its ‘strong’ capital markets practice and ‘excellent experience in transactional matters’. Reston-based Antonio Calabrese heads the team. It advised Southwest Value Partners on a number of matters relating to its property portfolio, including the acquisition of the Houston Renaissance Hotel and the Hilton Ontario Airport Hotel as well as the acquisition, financing and related management and franchise agreements for the InterContinental New Orleans. Jack Lavoie is leading advice on commercial leasing matters for CustomInk; the team recently finalized a 72,750 lease for its headquarters in the Mosaic District, Virginia. Other instructions came from DuPont Fabros Technology, The Association for Manufacturing Technology, Boston Properties, Caribbean Property Group and JLB Partners. Former department head Thomas O'Connor and Alan Cohen recently joined Duval & Stachenfeld LLP. Ben Pierson also left the firm.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: West Coast, tier 4

Cooley LLP has its headquarters in Palo Alto, which is the base of its tax practice group co-chair Mark Windfeld-Hansen and senior counsel Buff Miller. Windfeld-Hansen advises on the tax implications of a wide range of business transactions, as well as executive compensation, and Miller acts for businesses and high-net-worth individuals on federal and California income tax law and federal estate and gift tax law matters. In San Francisco, Susan Cooper Philpot focuses on corporate income tax planning, in particular governance matters, reorganizations, and partnering arrangements.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 4

New York-based Stephen Gardner heads the ‘very good’ practice at Cooley LLP, which handles federal, state and international tax controversies at all levels, and has gained recognition in recent years from some high-profile instructions. It acted for ConocoPhillips in a refund action in the US District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma and the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit relating to the tax treatment of $175m liability for the dismantling, removal and restoration of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System; Gardner acted alongside highly regarded litigator Kathleen Pakenham in the case. Other clients of the practice include Entergy, Newmont Mining and American Express.

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