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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Work +1 212 474 1000
Fax +1 212 474 3700
London, NEW YORK

David Kappos

Work +1 (212) 474-1168
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Work Department

Corporate/Intellectual Property.


David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property, including intellectual property management and strategy, the development of global intellectual property norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation‑based assets. Mr. Kappos supports the Firm’s clients with a wide range of their most complex intellectual property issues.



From August 2009 to January 2013, Mr. Kappos served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the President, Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on intellectual property policy matters. As Director of the USPTO, he led the Agency in dramatically reengineering its entire management and operational systems as well as its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the U.S. patent system in generations through passage and implementation of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, signed into law by the President in September 2011.

Prior to leading the USPTO, Mr. Kappos held several executive posts in the legal department of IBM, the world’s largest patent holder. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the company’s Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Intellectual Property. In that capacity, he managed global intellectual property activities for IBM, including all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection. Mr. Kappos joined IBM as a development engineer. During his more than 25 years at IBM, he served in a variety of roles including litigation counsel and Asia Pacific IP counsel, based in Tokyo, Japan, where he led all aspects of intellectual property protection, including licensing, transactions support and mergers and acquisitions activity for the Asia/Pacific region.

Mr. Kappos has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field of intellectual property, including, among others, the 2014 Global Agenda Council Vision Award for the Intellectual Property Council’s pro bono initiative from the World Economic Forum, the 2014 Jefferson Medal from the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association (NJIPLA), the 2013 Board of Director’s Excellence Award from the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the 2013 Champion of Intellectual Property Award from the District of Columbia Bar Association and the 2013 North America Government Leadership Award from Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI). He was named one of the “Top 25 Icons of IP” by Law360, one of the “50 Most Influential People in Intellectual Property” by Managing IP, one of the “Top 50 Intellectual Property Trailblazers & Pioneers” and one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal, “Intellectual Property Professional of the Year” by the Intellectual Property Owners Association and inducted into the Intellectual Property Hall of Fame by Intellectual Asset Management Magazine in 2012. Mr. Kappos was also recognized as a leading lawyer by IAM Strategy 300 – The World’s Leading IP StrategistIAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent PractitionersWorld IP ReviewThe Legal 500Who’s Who Legal: PatentsLawdragonSuper Lawyersand The Best Lawyers in America. He is a frequent speaker and has authored many published articles on various intellectual property, innovation and leadership topics.


Mr. Kappos serves on the Boards of Directors of the Partnership for Public Service, the Center for Global Enterprise and the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation. He also is a member of the Advisory Board of ORoPO Foundation, senior advisor to the Partnership for American Innovation and Chair of the Advisory Council of the Naples Roundtable. He is also an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School, where he teaches copyright litigation and Cornell Law School, where he teaches legal advising for the start‑up general counsel.


Mr. Kappos received a B.S. summa cum laude in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis, in 1983, and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990.

United States: Intellectual property

Patent litigation: full coverage

Within: Patent litigation: full coverage

In New York, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP specializes in the technology, pharmaceutical and semiconductor sectors. Recent highlights include defending against a suit filed by Vivent regarding patents covering remote monitoring, equipment control and home-located electronic devices and location-based alerting system patents. The group also represented Amgen in litigation filed by AbbVie regarding a biosimilar patent, eventually settling the case favourably. And plaintiff Merck engaged the team to assist with three Hatch-Waxman suits against Actavis Laboratories, Roxane Laboratories and Par Pharmaceutical regarding generic versions of an antifungal agent. Other clients include Qualcomm, Juno Therapeutics and OrbusNeich Medical. Richard Stark, Keith Hummel, David Greenwald, David Kappos, David Marriott and Evan Chesler are the key players. Roger Brooks retired. Teena-Ann Sankoorikal joined Levine Lee LLP.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Technology: transactions

Within: Technology: transactions

With technology clients ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to blue-chip industry leaders, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a longstanding reputation for representing technology companies in their most significant transactions. The practice has acted for IBM in corporate matters for decades, and advised on its recent initial $3bn registered fixed- and floating-rate notes offering of IBM Credit. Other key deals included George Schoen advising Scientific Games Corporation on its acquisition of NYX Gaming Group. The team also advised the strategic review committee of the board of directors of Yahoo! on the $4.48bn sale of Yahoo!’s operating business to Verizon Communications; and acted for Xerox Corporation in its spin-off of Conduent, the world’s largest provider of diversified business process services. David Kappos leads the firm’s IP work; and Keith Hallam is also highly regarded.

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