Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP > Washington DC, United States > Firm Profile

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
901 NEW YORK AVENUE, NW
WASHINGTON, DC 20001-4413
United States

Intellectual property > Patents: litigation (full coverage) Tier 1

Outstanding full-service IP giant Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP houses one of the most well-rounded practices in the market. The firm covers a wide range of sectors, and has an excellent track record of performances in the major US venues, including the PTAB, the ITC and the Federal Circuit. A Washington DC trio comprised of managing partner Anand Sharma, chair Mark Sweet and litigation practice chair Frank DeCosta sits at the helm of the practice, which continues to be renowned for its experience handling Hatch-Waxman litigation, but also offers a powerful disputes practice for technology, semiconductor and electronics clients. John Livingstone, who heads the Atlanta office; Robert Shaffer, whose expertise includes medical device, biologics, cutting-edge consumer products, and gaming; and Danielle Duszczyszyn, like Shaffer based in Washington DC and  is particularly well-versed in patent cases related to biological products and those arising from the filing of ANDAs, are additional key contacts.

Key clients

AbbVie Inc.

Acrox Technologies Co., Ltd.

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

Ajinomoto Co. Inc.

American Regent, Inc.

Asetek Danmark A/S

AstraZeneca PLC

Bausch Health Companies Inc.

BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI)

Biogen Idec Inc.

BMW Group

CSL Behring GmbH

Eli Lilly and Company

FedEx Corporation

FIS

Globe Union Industrial Corporation

Godbersen Smith Construction Co. Corp d/b/a Gomaco Corporation

Grupo Cosentino SL

Intuitive Surgical Inc.

LG Electronics, Inc.

Maglula Ltd.

Monolithic Power Systems, Inc.

Nestle

NICE Ltd.

Nidec Corporation

Novartis International AG

Playtika Ltd.

REC Americas LLC

SharkNinja

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Inc.

Streamline Automation

TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd.

Vifor Pharma Ltd.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

ZTE Corporation

Work highlights

  • Achieved a victory for Playtika, which invalidated all five of NexRF’s gaming patents in district court litigation.  
  • Represented AstraZeneca in a Hatch-Waxman litigation involving patents protecting FARXIGA®, securing a win for the client.
  • Defending Nestle over the course of eight years, with a multi-front defense strategy in the district court and the PTAB, against Steuben.

Intellectual property > Trademarks: litigation Tier 1

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP continues to protect the marks of major global brands like IBM, Nestlé and Sony, acting for both plaintiffs and defendants in high-value litigation. The group represents a wide span of clients across the automotive, chemicals, food, telecoms, financial services and entertainment sectors. The group is headed by managing partner Anand Sharma and chair Mark Sweet, along with practice leader Danny Awdeh, who assists clients with high-profile disputes involving trademark infringement, counterfeiting and false advertising. Douglas Rettew handles matters concerning unfair competition litigation, product disparagement and domain names disputes. Mark Sommers specializes in building strategies for the acquisition and enforcement of core branding rights. Naresh Kilaru brings extensive experience in appearing before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). All lawyers mentioned work in the Washington DC office.

Key clients

A&H Sportswear

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

ATP Tour, Inc.

Biogen Inc.

BRF S.A.

Bridgestone Americas, Inc.

Bytedance Ltd.

Capital One

Caterpillar

Combe Incorporated

Coupang Corporation

ECCO SKO A/S

EdgeVerve Systems Limited

Flare Health, Inc.

Glioblastoma Foundation, Inc.

IBM

Intercontinental Hotels Group (a/k/a IHG

Kinesio Holding Corporation

Le-Vel Brands, LLC

LG Electronics, Inc.

Marriott International, Inc.

Nestlé

Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc.

Sony Corporation

SpringWorks Therapeutics

Subaru of America, Inc.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.

TBL Licensing LLC

TD Bank

The Lincoln Project, Inc.

Under Armour, Inc.

Unilever United States, Inc.

Varsity Spirit, LLC

WIPRO Limited

WNAC, LLC and Super Towers, Inc.

Wonder Media Network, LLC

Work highlights

  • Representing gun magazine loader manufacturer Maglula in a case against Amazon for alleged counterfeiting practices.
  • Representing Unilever in a variety of advertising and intellectual property matters involving some of its global brands such as Dove, Axe, Nexxus, and Tresemmé.
  • Representing the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries in a noninfringement suit.

Intellectual property > Trademarks: non-contentious (including prosecution, portfolio management and licensing) Tier 1

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP remains a market leader, leveraging the bench strength of its network and the experience of its team to advise major global brands like Unilever, Caterpillar and Nestlé on the management, licensing and enforcement of their international trademark portfolios. In Washington DC, practice leader Danny Awdeh, who specializes in infringement, unfair competition, false advertising disputes leads the team, along with managing partner Anand Sharma and chair Mark Sweet. Veteran trademark litigators Douglas Rettew and Mark Sommers provide support in DC, along with Naresh Kilaru, who previously served as the in-house counsel to the Turner Broadcasting System. In Boston, of counsel Laura Johnson assist clients in the telecoms, automotive, sports apparel, music and electronics industries. Morgan E. Smith in Silicon Valley was promoted to partner in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

1st Detect, Inc.

Advanced Drainage Systems, Inc.

American Chemical Society

Armadillo Enterprises

ATP Tour, Inc.

Assurant, Inc.

Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Biogen

BRF

BSN Sports, LLC

Bytedance Ltd.

Caterpillar

Coupang Corporation

ECCO SKO A/S

EdgeVerve Systems Limited

Flare Health, Inc.

Fuente Marketing Ltd.

Glioblastoma Foundation, Inc.

Head Sport GmbH

Infosys, Ltd.

Intercontinental Hotels Group (a/k/a IHG)

Kinesio Holding Corporation

Le-Vel Brands, LLC

Nestle

Petco Animal Supplies Stores, Inc.

Science Applications International Corp.(SAIC)

SpringWorks Therapeutics

Subaru of America, Inc.

TD Bank

Trek Bicycle Corporation

Unilever United States, Inc.

Under Armour, Inc.

Varsity Spirit, LLC

VIAVI Solutions

VYNE Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Welspun India Ltd.

WIPRO Limited

Xiaomi Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising Six Continents Hotels clearance and prosecution work for launches of high-profile domestic and worldwide advertising campaigns, slogans, updated logos for famous brands, new global hotel names/brands, new programs and service offerings for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)’s customers.
  • Advising BRF on its worldwide trademark portfolio (comprised of several thousand traditional trademarks, design marks, and product packaging configurations).
  • Assisting Caterpillar with respect to a wide range of trademark clearance, prosecution, and enforcement issues involving Caterpillar’s complex portfolio of brands, the cornerstone of which is the CAT mark.

Intellectual property > Patents: licensing Tier 2

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP's sizable practice comprises recognized authorities in the field such as Washington DC's Brian Kacedon who has a wealth of expertise handling the licensing aspects of transactions, in drafting and negotiating license and collaboration agreements in addition to having litigated multiple lawsuits and arbitrations based on his extensive transactional experience. Managing partner Anand Sharma and chair Mark Sweet, both also based in DC, are at the helm of the practice, which covers a variety of industries, with pharmaceutical, medical device, software, and consumer electronics as its mainstays. The firm enjoys a well-established footprint in the US thanks to its offices in Reston, Palo Alto, Boston, and Atlanta, as well as a significant international presence with offices in London and four hubs in Asia, which makes the team a solid choice for matters with a cross-border component.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Asetek Danmark A/S

Bausch Health Companies Inc.

BrainScope Company, Inc.

Coupang Corporation

CSL Limited

Eisai Co., Ltd.

ONWARD Medical

Work highlights

  • Advising on portfolio development and licensing as well as patent and trademark prosecution services for ONWARD Medical.
  • Assisting CSL with due diligence investigations regarding the strength of IP and freedom-to-operate related to potential acquisitions.
  • Assisting Megagon Labs with developing its patent portfolio directed to cutting edge AI technologies and assisting with open-source licensing matters.

Intellectual property > Patents: litigation (International Trade Commission) Tier 2

IP mega-boutique, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP, is home to a phenomenal group of practitioners, widely recognized as a top-notch practice when it comes to ITC proceedings, frequently representing both plaintiffs and defendants in cases that often involve a parallel district court litigation or post-grant proceeding at the PTAB. The group, which is jointly led by Smith Brittingham and Elizabeth Niemeyer, has played a key role in some of the most significant investigations in recent years, covering a wide range of sectors.The practice is also well-known for its ITC work involving Asian clients, often drawing resources from its own offices in the continent. Mareesa Frederick is another key contact of the team. All the lawyers mentioned are based in the firm’s headquarters in Washington DC.

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

BMW Group

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

Gamevice, Inc.

LG Electronics, Inc.

MediaTek Inc.

REC Americas LLC

SharkNinja

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Inc.

Swedish Match North Europe AB

US Synthetic

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Wuhan Healthgen Biotechnology Corp.

Work highlights

  • Representing Wuhan Healthgen Biotechnology Corp. in an ITC investigation related to plant-derived recombinant human serum albumins.
  • Acting as lead counsel for SharkNinja in an ITC Section 337 investigation, district court case, and related inter partes and post-grant reviews involving smart robot vacuum cleaner technology.
  • Achieved a Commission opinion finding no infringement, handing the client, REC Solar, a complete victory on summary determination.

Intellectual property > Patents: prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings) Tier 2

IP powerhouse Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP covers the full gamut of patent prosecution services. The group stands out for its particularly superb PTAB practice, which has a remarkable track record representing petitioners and patent owners in post-grant review, inter partes review proceedings, and covered business method reviews. In addition to its solid domestic presence with offices in Washington DC, Reston, Palo Alto, Boston and Atlanta, the firm boasts a significant global footprint in jurisdictions such as the UK and Japan. Jill MacAlpine in Washington DC, who heads the patent office practice, and has a focus on the chemical and pharmaceutical areas, Boston's Jeffrey Jacobstein, who is a recurring choice for clients from the biotechnology and life science spaces, and Aaron Capron in Palo Alto are key contacts of the group.

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

AbbVie Inc.

Asetek Danmark A/S

BMW Group

Caterpillar, Inc.

CSL Behring

Danisco US Inc.

Eli Lilly & Company

FedEx Corp.

Geneze Innovation Inc.

Godbersen Smith Construction Co. Corp d/b/a Gomaco Corporation

Google LLC

Grupo Cosentino SL

IDEAL Industries, Ltd. d/b/a Cree Lighting

iFlight Technology Company Ltd.

Intuitive Surgical Inc.

LG Electronics, Inc.

Nestle

NetApp

Nevakar, Inc.

NICE Ltd.

Playtika Ltd.

Polygroup Limited MCO

Prolitec Inc.

Promptu Systems Corporation

pSemi Corporation

REC Solar Pte. Ltd.

Sarepta Therapeutics

SharkNinja

SPG Dry Cooling USA, LLC and SPG Dry Cooling Belgium SRL/BV

Tianma Microelectronics Co., Ltd.

Toyota Motor Corp.

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Assisted Nestlé with multi-front defense strategy in the district court and the PTAB, securing victory.
  • Prosecuted utility and design patents and coordinated the preparation and prosecution of IP rights worldwide for a variety of products made by Caterpillar.
  • Advising Vertex with a focus on Vertex’s FDA-approved cystic fibrosis products, including Kalydeco®, Orkambi®, and Symdeko®.

Intellectual property > Trade secrets (litigation and non-contentious matters) Tier 3

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP is one of the world’s largest firms focusing on intellectual property law. With offices in the United States, Asia and Europe, Finnegan practises all aspects of trademark, copyright, and patent law, including counselling, prosecution, licensing and litigation. Finnegan also represents clients in IP issues relating to advertising, trade secrets, European patents and trademarks, international trade, portfolio management, the Internet, e-commerce, government contracts, antitrust and unfair competition.

    Finnegan offers full-service IP legal and technical experience in virtually every industry and technology, including consumer products, sports and fitness, textiles, food and beverage, automotive, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, chemicals, electronics, semiconductors, computers and software, industrial manufacturing, medical devices, clean energy and renewables, robotics, artificial intelligence, media, and three-dimensional printing.

With the firm’s practice centered on intellectual property, the firm is able to create economies of scale and focus all resources on providing the best tools, practices, and procedures for clients’ IP matters. More than 300 of Finnegan’s legal professionals hold degrees in scientific disciplines (over 60 hold PhDs), more than 200 are registered to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and nearly 40 are former USPTO patent examiners. With more than 55 years’ IP experience, Finnegan handles hundreds of litigation cases across the spectrum of IP-related venues, including district courts, the US International Trade Commission (ITC), the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the US Supreme Court. Since being the one of the first to file a petition and subsequently argue a post-grant review of a covered business method case following the implementation of the America Invents Act, Finnegan is one of the busiest law firms representing petitioners and patent owners in post-grant review proceedings, with more than 90 covered business method reviews (CBMs), more than a dozen post-grant reviews (PGRs, relatively few of which have been filed), and more than 900 inter partes review (IPR) proceedings. The firm files approximately 2,500 US and 1,000 foreign patent applications annually.

Surveys conducted by legal and business publications consistently rank Finnegan as one of the leading intellectual property law practices in the world. The firm is consistently ranked in the United States for contentious and prosecution trademark and patent work by publications including Managing Intellectual Property and The Legal 500, which have ranked Finnegan as a top tier firm in nearly every significant IP category for more than 10 years. The publications cite the firm’s winning record, technical expertise, and deep bench of talent in all aspects of IP litigation, including trials, appeals, and proceedings at the USPTO and ITC investigations.

Representative engagements:

  • Handled appeal after TCL received an unfavorable judgment of willful infringement in district court, which resulted in a damages award of over $110m. Convinced the Federal Circuit that the claims were patent ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The court reversed the district court’s ruling of no invalidity, vacated the entire judgment, and awarded costs to TCL. Finnegan further persuaded the Eastern District of Texas to tax $2.35m in costs.
  • Represented petitioner DJI at the PTAB in a series of IPRs against five Synergy Drone patents, resulting in cancellation of all 76 claims related to unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Appealed adverse IPR decision to the Federal Circuit for Kaken Pharmaceuticals and Bausch Health, arguing that the final written decision finding the patent obvious/unpatentable was based on an erroneous claim construction ruling. The Federal Circuit overturned the PTAB’s claim construction of a key term in the patent, reversing the finding of obviousness that led to the finding of unpatentability and remanding to the Board.
  • Convinced the Federal Circuit to vacate and remand adverse PTAB decisions for client FOX Factory, finding the patent owner was not entitled to any presumption that the patented invention (related to bicycle chainring technology) was responsible for the alleged secondary considerations. On remand, the PTAB found all of patent owner’s claims unpatentable.
  • Provided strategic worldwide intellectual property counselling to Vertex with a focus on Vertex’s FDA approved cystic fibrosis products, including Kalydeco®, Orkambi®, and Symdeko®, as well as several preclinical compounds, for several still-expanding patent portfolios protecting these approved and future products for treatment of cystic fibrosis.

Sample client list: AstraZeneca; Bausch Health; Bridgestone; Capital One; Caterpillar; Eli Lilly; FedEx; FIS; Heaf; Google; IBM; IHG; LG; Lockheed Martin; Marriott; Nestlé; Otsuka; Patagonia; Petco; Philips; Subaru; Toyota; Varsity; Under Armour

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Managing Partner Anand K. Sharmaanand.sharma@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4446
Chair Mark D. Sweetmark.sweet@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4162
Patent Litigation: Appeals; Arbitration and Other ADR; Branded Hatch-Waxman (ANDA); ITC Section 337; Patent Trial; Pre-Trial Strategy Frank A. DeCosta, III, Ph.D.frank.decosta@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4012
Post-Grant Proceedings: Appeals of PTAB Trial Decisions; Derivations; Interferences; IPR, PGR, and CBM Joshua L. Goldbergjoshua.goldberg@finnegan.com+1 202 408 6092
Patent Office Examinations: Prosecution; Reexaminations; Reissue Proceedings; Appeals to the PTAB Jill K. MacAlpine, Ph.D.jill.macalpine@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4105
Patent Portfolio Management, Monetization, and Transactions: Antitrust and Misuse; Due Diligence; Licensing, Pooling, and Other Transactions; Opinions and Counseling; Patent Mining and Mapping; Portfolio Management D. Brian Kacedonbrian.kacedon@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4301
European and UK IP Law: Designs; EPO Third Party Observations; EPO Opposition and Appeals; Patent Prosecution; Supplementary Protection Certificates (SPCs); Trade Marks; The Unitary Patent System (UPS) and the Unified Patent Court (UPC); United Kingdom Patent Law Anthony C. Tridico, Ph.D.anthony.tridico@finnegan.com+44 (0)20 7864 2888
Design Patents Elizabeth D. Ferrillelizabeth.ferrill@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4445
Trademark: Counterfeiting/Gray Market Goods; Domain Name Litigation and UDRPs; Trademark Counseling and Prosecution; Trademark Litigation; TTAB Litigation Danny M. Awdehdanny.awdeh@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4353
Trade Secrets John M. Williamsonjohn.williamson@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4282
Copyright Margaret A. Esquenetmargaret.esquenet@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4007
Export Control William H. Prattbill.pratt@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4054
Advertising Anna B. Naydonovanna.naydonov@finnegan.com+1 202 408 4427
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Mr Danny M. Awdeh  photo Mr Danny M. Awdeh Leader, Trademark, Copyright, and Advertising Practice Group
Ms Michele C. Bosch  photo Ms Michele C. Bosch Leader, Chemical and Metallurgical Practice Group
Mr Smith R. Brittingham IV  photo Mr Smith R. Brittingham IV Leader, ITC Litigation Practice
Ms Adriana L. Burgy  photo Ms Adriana L. Burgy
Dr Frank A. DeCosta III, Ph.D. photo Dr Frank A. DeCosta III, Ph.D.Leader, Litigation Section
Ms Mareesa A. Frederick  photo Ms Mareesa A. Frederick Partner-in-charge, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts
Mr Eric J. Fues  photo Mr Eric J. Fues
Mr Joshua L. Goldberg  photo Mr Joshua L. Goldberg Leader, PTAB Trials Section
Mr J. Michael Jakes  photo Mr J. Michael Jakes Leader, Appellate Section
Ms Doris Johnson Hines  photo Ms Doris Johnson Hines
Mr Naresh Kilaru photo Mr Naresh Kilaru
Dr Jill MacAlpine, Ph.D.  photo Dr Jill MacAlpine, Ph.D. Leader, Patent Office Practice Section
Mr James B. Monroe  photo Mr James B. Monroe
Mr Anand K. Sharma photo Mr Anand K. SharmaManaging Partner
Mr Mark D. Sweet  photo Mr Mark D. Sweet Chair
Mr John M. Williamson  photo Mr John M. Williamson
Mr E. Robert Yoches photo Mr E. Robert Yoches
Arabic
Chinese
Farsi
French
German
Hebrew
Hindi
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
International Trademark Association (INTA)
Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO)
American Bar Association (ABA)
Licensing Executives Society (LES)

 

Trusted Advisor. Working as a business partner with your clients

In this video and print segment, IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.
Managing Partner Mark Sweet and Chairman, James Monroe, discuss with Catherine McGregor, Publishing Director, The Legal 500 (In – House) and GC Magazine topics such as how to avoid silos, creating a distinct culture, collaboration for and with clients and what is the key lesson a client has taught them.

Culture and Collaboration

Lawyers as business advisors

 


 

Trusted Advisor. Working as a business partner with your clients.

In a cross-platform collaboration between GC magazine and leading IP law firm Finnegan, key partners and senior in-house clients explore the challenges for women in assuming leadership roles in the legal profession. Through a series of videos and an extensive editorial, informed by a full-day summit held in Washington DC, the collaboration gleans an insight into just what it means to be a leader and the strategies employed by those who have made it to the top of the legal profession, as well as what can be done to foster an environment which both recognises and develops the potential of future leaders.

Fostering the Development of Future Female Leaders

Unique Challenges

Barriers for Women

 


In our continuing collaboration, GC and Finnegan have teamed up to create a bespoke online platform to host interviews with leading diversity figures, featured articles and takes an extended look at Finnegan’s D&I work. Visit the hub.


Our story

At Finnegan, diversity and inclusion are core values that we live every day in thought, approach, and solutions. In fact, they are so much a part of our culture, we are consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top law firms for overall diversity.

Finnegan traces its roots to 1965, when Marc Finnegan and Doug Henderson established an intellectual property law firm designed to serve the growing needs of national and international clients. Of Finnegan’s nearly 300 professionals possessing a science or engineering degree, more than 60 have a doctorate in a technical field. Finnegan has worked creatively and aggressively to excel in recruiting, developing, and promoting extraordinary and diverse professionals within its ranks. The results speak for themselves: 71% of the summer 2022 class members are diverse per the Mansfield Rule definition. Our professionals are multilingual and multicultural, and they work with clients in real time around the world. Our professionals hail from locations ranging from Romania to Alabama to Colombia to Taiwan. For more than 50 years, we have maintained a keen pride in our ability to hire, retain, and promote some of the best and most diverse IP law talent in the world.

Finnegan Innovation

These healthy statistics don’t happen in a vacuum. The firm works diligently and creatively to hone existing programs and develop new ones, ensuring that when it makes promotional decisions, our attorneys and administrative professionals are given a competitive edge.

For example, our firm has a robust training curriculum (L.E.A.P.: Learn, Enrich, Achieve, Progress), designed to support the continued growth and development of attorneys at all levels. Finnegan believes that training and ongoing education are essential to developing the best attorneys and advocates for our clients. With multiple training and education components, L.E.A.P is designed to enhance the firm’s existing training and mentoring activities throughout the year. This highly ranked program (#12 in Formal Training, Vault 2022) arms our team with the tools and resources necessary to practice law in an ever-evolving legal and business market.

The L.E.A.P calendar includes the following programs: litigation training, advanced legal writing, advanced patent prosecution, practice before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), advanced technical and legal research, business development training and individualized coaching, billing and timekeeping, budget development, accounting for lawyers, persuasive speaking, law firm economics, presentation skills, leadership, management, and delegation.

Finnegan was one of the first firms in the country to implement a comprehensive new partner training and coaching program. As part of this year-long program, new partners are paired with a share partner advisor, whose charge is to meet regularly with the new partner to discuss workload and business and career development, and to serve as a sounding board and advocate as the new partner progresses to equity partner consideration. The training curriculum includes topics such as: Leadership Development (new partners learn the fundamental tenets of leadership during immersion and capstone training programs and are paired with a leadership/executive coach who works with the new partner one-on-one for a year); Budgets and Finances (including Color Accounting, designed to assist new partners in understanding the business imperatives and finances of firm clients); Advanced Pitch Workshops (new partners emulate the role of the pitching attorneys, and share partner advisors play the role of the client, all under the tutelage of our communications expert/coach); How to Prepare Your Compensation Memo (designed to give new partners up-to-date and transparent information as to how best to present to the Compensation Committee for compensation and elevation purposes); and a roundtable with members of the management committee, share partner advisors, and practice group leaders (designed to arm new partners with best practices for navigating the nuances of partnership).

Diversity and inclusion training includes topics such as The Diversity Wheel (two parts) and Overcoming Bias as a Leader. The firm’s compensation, management, and review partner committees take part in day-long experiential workshop on how to avoid implicit bias in talent management. Finnegan was proud to implement its first-ever, six-part Women’s Leadership Series for female attorneys and female managers/leaders.

Finnegan FORWARD (Focused On Raising Women’s Advancement, Representation, and Development), launched by Finnegan women partners, creates and supports initiatives aimed to address issues impacting women attorneys in intellectual property. Initiatives include enhancing marketing and recruiting efforts to hire and retain high-performing women; offering strategies to overcome the challenges of developing a book of business and identifying business development opportunities for our women attorneys; providing specialized education and training geared to our women attorneys; supporting them in leadership roles; and highlighting their accomplishments. Finnegan FORWARD also spearheads internal initiatives at the firm designed to empower our women and enhance their professional and social relationships, including through formal and informal internal mentoring and networking events, both social and educational.

Finnegan also actively participates in several external initiatives targeting retention, professional and business development, and promotion of our women, minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) colleagues, including Charting Your Own Course (CYOC) and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow and Pathfinder external development programs for diverse attorneys.

As an early Mansfield Rule adopter in 2018, one of 65 law firms nationwide, the firm has been Mansfield-certified every year since. We consider a diverse slate of candidates for purposes of recruitment, promotion, and leadership, including:

  • Equity Partner Promotions
  • Lateral Partner and Mid/Senior Level Associate Searches
  • Practice Group and Office Head Leadership
  • Executive Committee and/or Board of Directors
  • Partner Promotions/Nominations Committee
  • Compensation Committee
  • Chairperson and/or Managing Partner

Results matter. Thirty-nine percent of our equity partners are women or attorneys of color; 43 percent of our non-equity partners are women or attorneys of color; women and/or attorneys of color make up 75 percent of the firm’s partnership nominating committee (conducting partnership admission/elevation due diligence/recommendations); more than 63 percent of our management and compensation committees are comprised of women and attorneys of color; and 44 percent of our practice groups/sections are chaired by women or attorneys of color. Five of our office managing partners are women or attorneys of color.

Finnegan provides an alternate/off-track associate program, recognizing the need to offer a variety of career paths for attorneys who possess invaluable skill sets, but who may not wish to pursue partnership at a particular point in their professional or personal lives. More than 20 years ago, the firm established two part-time options (80 percent and 60 percent time), which, regardless of gender or parenthood status, provide attorneys with a continued path to partnership while working a reduced schedule.

Finnegan Recruitment

Not only do our attorneys have law degrees, but all our patent attorneys have scientific or technical degrees. The firm’s success and growth are proof of the benefits of a collaborative culture that supports a range of initiatives to attract diverse talent. The Finnegan Diversity Scholarship, established in 2003, awards $15,000 per year for tuition and law school fees, as well as an offer to join the firm’s summer associate program. Over $500,000 has been awarded to student applicants since the inception of the scholarship.

Results matter. Typically, more than half of our summer associate programs are comprised of women and diverse students. In fact, the 2022 summer class is 71 percent diverse—women, students of color, and/or LGBTQ+ students.

Finnegan Collaboration

Finnegan collaborates with and supports several organizations, associations, and educational institutions committed to developing diverse and women attorneys. Our attorneys participate in and support these organizations by teaching, serving leadership roles, and co-sponsoring IP-related events focused on diverse audiences. Finnegan has a strong history of supporting diversity and women in the legal and IP profession.

Finnegan proudly participates in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), hosting Fellows and Pathfinders since 2014 and 2017, respectively. Finnegan has been an annual supporter of the Hispanic National Bar Association and its programs for many years. One example is the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI), which addresses underrepresentation of Hispanics in IP law. The initiative immerses Latinx law students with key members of the federal judiciary and administrative agencies, legal scholars, and attorneys in IP and tech law.

Our relationship with Asian American bar associations is a strong one, regularly sponsoring or supporting a wide range of bar and community events. Finnegan is a long-standing sponsor of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) and the National South Asian Bar Association (NASABA) Annual Conventions. Finnegan attorneys have held high-level leadership and board positions, including NAPABA, APABA-DC, and APABA Education Fund (AEF).

The firm is active in the AIPLA Diversity Committee and the Women in IP Law group. We have been a major sponsor of the annual Women in IP Law dinner since 2008, and for years we have sponsored the AIPLA Diversity Reception.

Howard University Law School has honored Finnegan for its contributions to the university’s Institute of Intellectual Property & Social Justice, which the firm has proudly supported since its beginning. For nearly twenty years, our attorneys have taught patent law and social policy courses at Howard University School of Law (HUSL). In 2003, the firm began its collaboration with HUSL to present the Intellectual Property & Social Justice Conference, which continues to expand each year in the number of attendees and lecturers with strong collaboration with the judiciary, academia, and industry.

A truly diverse environment is one in which everyone is a teacher—and a learner. This philosophy is the basis of the mentorship program at Finnegan. All our new attorneys are paired with a senior associate and a partner advisor who share similar interests and backgrounds. Our collegial nature ensures that doors are always open, and questions—no matter the nature—are always answered.

Finnegan IP University

As part of Finnegan’s commitment to attracting a strong pool of diverse candidates, the firm established Finnegan IP University. The program is a five-week, free virtual series that introduces undergraduate and graduate students with specific STEM majors, who are not pursuing a career in law, to exciting career opportunities in IP. Students who complete Finnegan IP University are given priority consideration for career opportunities at Finnegan, receive a certificate of completion and badge to add to their resume and LinkedIn profile, and access to a personalized one-on-one virtual information session.

Finnegan Professional Staff

Progress related to diversity and inclusion is not limited to associates and partners, which can often be the focus in many law firms. Finnegan is equally proud of its diversity among support staff and management, and its support of career advancement and promotions for staff.

Occasionally, we let others speak for us.

Finnegan is ranked a top 10 firm for Diversity in Vault’s 2022 Guide, with additional top rankings for Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities, Racial & Ethnic Diversity, Diversity for Women, and Diversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals. The American Lawyer similarly includes the firm in the top 30 in its 2022 survey of the leading 100 U.S. law firms for overall diversity, and in 2022, we earned a perfect score of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. We are pleased to be identified by Seramount magazine as one of the best law firms for women for the last eleven years.

Much has transpired since the firm’s founding in 1965. What has not changed, however, is the firm’s laser focus on being the best IP law firm in the world; we are a firm populated, managed, and led by diverse attorneys and professionals at every level. This is what our clients expect, and what we will continue to demand of ourselves.

Q&A

What is the ethos behind the firm’s approach to diversity?

We are committed to promoting and strengthening a diverse and inclusive workplace where all feel welcome and included. By cultivating a work environment of respect and inclusion for individuals from many backgrounds, we position ourselves to offer the most creative perspectives to our broad and diverse client base, attract and retain the finest talent, and grow through the diverse culture within our walls. Our strategy for enhancing diversity and inclusion includes initiatives that focus on recruiting, retention and development, promotion, professional association involvement, and community relations.

What has a more diverse and inclusive workplace brought to your firm, and also to your clients?

Having a more diverse and inclusive workplace provides exposure to differing cultures and points of view. It increases morale, as everyone feels valued and understands they have something to contribute to the overall goal of the firm. It also increases the firm’s chances of attracting even more diverse talent in the future.

Of course, our clients benefit from the different, creative perspectives that come from having a team of diverse talent working on their matters. Our global clients are confident in knowing that we can address any challenge with talented teams that hail from myriad backgrounds and cultures.

How do you encourage a more diverse and inclusive workplace?

We promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace by creating a culture that treats everyone fairly and makes all feel welcome. We host heritage month events throughout the year, honoring various communities and cultures. We make unconscious bias training available to all our employees to raise awareness and to educate regarding solutions that work when facing or witnessing bias. We also periodically review and update policies and procedures to ensure they accomplish inclusivity.

What is needed to help bring more diverse candidates into the legal profession?

This is a continuing effort where we strive to reach students early and often regarding opportunities available in the legal profession, ensuring that they see those who look like them succeeding. Once we bring candidates into the profession, we work with the professional to provide consistent mentoring and development.

Finnegan is always thinking of creative ways to reach undergraduate and graduate students in sciences and expose them to the possibility of a career in IP as a technical specialist, patent agent, or as a patent lawyer. One initiative that resulted from Finnegan’s creative and innovative thinking is Finnegan IP University. Finnegan worked deliberately to outreach to schools across the country, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other underrepresented schools in lesser-tapped regions. The results were overwhelming. Over 100 students applied from over 60 colleges in eight countries. The 2022 inaugural class included a diverse group of over 80 students across 23 states, 57 universities, and six countries. Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees learned from Finnegan attorneys about career opportunities in IP and about patent practice.

What are your policies for recruitment, and what are the major challenges?

One of the hallmarks that clearly defines Finnegan is our focus on intellectual property law. This means over 90 percent of our attorney recruits possess some sort of science or engineering background. Of Finnegan’s nearly 300 professionals possessing a science or engineering degree, more than 60 have a doctorate in a technical field. Women, black, and Hispanic professionals continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce. We have worked creatively and aggressively to excel in recruiting, developing, and promoting extraordinary and diverse professionals within its ranks.

As a private law firm, our hiring practices are not subject to many of the affirmative action laws and procedures that mandate certain types of hiring best practices. Nonetheless, we impose discerning best practices on ourselves, always with the goal of hiring and retaining as diverse a workforce as possible. These practices include but are not limited to blind screenings of candidates, generous diversity scholarship awards for our attorney-type personnel, and a proven track record of promoting women and diverse attorneys into leadership positions.

For professional staff hiring, we partner with diverse colleges and universities to expose diverse undergraduate and graduate students to our industry, including outreach to diverse school alumni groups to source for recent graduates. When recruiting attorney personnel, we partner with various national and regional organizations, including diversity professional associations and student groups, schools that serve predominantly diverse populations, virtual veteran career fairs, nonprofit organizations, and state and federal agencies that specialize in the training and placement of people with disabilities. As a way to diversify the candidate pool, ads are posted on online job boards and websites as opposed to only recruiting in the firm’s geographic areas. We minimize biases in the recruiting process by prescreening all candidates before advancing for manager interviews, and hiring managers are coached and trained on best practice hiring and management skills. A few additional initiatives and programs include: discussing recruiting initiatives once a year with a U.S. Army recruiting specialist to source veteran candidates; assigning a mentor to each staff new hire to help employees integrate into the firm socially; offering an Employee Referral Bonus Program to incentivize already-diverse staff to refer friends and family for open positions; and carefully reviewing job descriptions and vacancy announcements when determining the type of experience necessary to be successful in the role, ensuring that the basic qualification requirements are the minimum necessary for the position and higher levels are listed as preferred qualifications.

Retention of diverse staff is a critical issue – what are the programmes your firm has in place that you feel will help retain your staff?

Investing in people at all levels of the organization, professionally, personally, and financially is critically important to us. Recently, more than 12 unique training programs and 13 unique management/leadership training programs were delivered to develop business skills and support professional development in our personnel. Staff development topics ranged from customer service, reducing speaking anxiety, business writing/grammar, building trust, dealing with difficult people and situations, and the gift of feedback. Management/leadership development programs included mentoring: get one and/or be one, talking to employees about sensitive subjects, and productive leadership for team productivity. Training and development in diversity and inclusion topics included topics such as The Diversity Wheel (two parts), Overcoming Bias as a Leader, and Women’s Leadership Series for our female attorneys and female managers/leaders, among others. The firm explicitly focuses on including diverse colleagues among those considered for these opportunities. We also have other internal resource groups, such as an LGBTQ committee and a new parent group, designed to address any issues relevant to the interests of its members.

We also actively participate in several external initiatives targeting retention, professional and business development, and promotion of our women, minorities, and LGBTQ colleagues: (1) Charting Your Own Course (CYOC) external developmental program for attorneys of color; and (2) Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Fellow and Pathfinder external development programs for diverse attorneys.