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McKool Smith Opening DC Office, Expanding U.S. International Trade Commission Practice

Monday, September 10, 2007

McManus, Sweetland will respond to "explosion" in ITC intellectual property caseload

Washington, DC – The Dallas law firm of McKool Smith, P.C., is announcing a new firm office in Washington, DC, and the addition of veteran international trade trial attorneys Michael G. McManus and Rodney R. Sweetland III.

The firm’s expansion into the nation’s capital marks McKool Smith’s first office outside Texas. The new office will provide the firm with additional expertise in cases involving international trade issues, as well as commercial and intellectual property litigation.

"According to its own estimate, the number of patent disputes before the ITC has soared since 2000," says firm founder Mike McKool. "We’re very excited to be moving into Washington where the ITC is headquartered, and working with two seasoned litigators like Michael and Rodney. Our clients stand to benefit from their expertise in the international arena."

Mr. McManus, who joins the firm as a Principal, has an extensive background in international trade and intellectual property litigation. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and previously handled chemical, pharmaceutical and petroleum tariff classifications for the U.S. Customs Service’s Office of Regulations and Rulings.

"McKool Smith enjoys a well-deserved national reputation for excellence and for representing some of the finest companies in the world," says McManus. "I’m thrilled to help establish a new frontier for the firm in DC."

Mr. McManus also worked as an international trade facilitator for From2 Global Solutions. Most recently, he handled international trade and intellectual property matters at Washington, D.C.-based Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP where he was a partner. Mr. McManus earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Master of Science degree in chemistry from Georgia State University. He earned his J.D. from the University of Arkansas School of Law.

Mr. Sweetland, who joins McKool Smith as a Principal, is a veteran trial attorney with broad knowledge of federal and appellate law. His work in high-profile technology disputes includes litigation involving cyber-squatting, computer hacking and Internet trademarks.

"The landscape is changing in patent litigation," says Sweetland. "I believe the ITC will continue to emerge as the preferred forum for resolving patent and trademark disputes."

Mr. Sweetland, also formerly a partner at Adduci Mastriani & Schaumberg, focuses his practice on matters involving unfair competition, patent litigation and trademark disputes before the ITC and district and appellate courts. Mr. Sweetland served as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1988 to 2003. He earned his B.S. from Western Michigan University and his J.D. from George Washington University.

The U.S. International Trade Commission an independent, quasi-judicial federal agency charged with protecting U.S. industries from illegal imports and unfair competition. Most of the complaints investigated by the ITC involve intellectual property rights, including patent infringement and trademark infringement by imported goods.

The ITC has grown in prominence as a forum to resolve IP-related disputes because of the extensive experience and training of its administrative law judges and because matters are typically resolved within 12 to 15 months. According to the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget Justification for the U.S. International Trade Commission, presented to Congress, "…the Commission’s Intellectual Property-based Investigations caseload has ‘exploded’ in recent years, more than tripling since FY (fiscal year) 2000."

In addition to the firm’s Dallas headquarters, McKool Smith maintains offices in Austin and Marshall, Texas, and firm attorneys routinely can be found in courtrooms across the country.

McKool Smith has more than 90 attorneys handling commercial and intellectual property litigation for national and international clients. The firm is recognized as one of the premier litigation law firms in the United States, having earned significant courtroom victories for clients such as Electronic Data Systems, BearingPoint, Ericsson, Cisco Systems, Medtronic Inc. and National Instruments.

McKool Smith’s new office is located at 1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20036.

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