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Steptoe to Open in Palo Alto, Expand IP Group with Trio of Partners


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is expanding its presence on the West Coast and its growing national intellectual property practice by opening an office in northern California. Joining the firm to spearhead the launch of the new Palo Alto office and to serve as its managing partner is William F. Abrams, a noted patent litigator with significant first-chair trial and appellate experience. Joining Mr. Abrams as a partner in Palo Alto is Sanjeet Dutta. As part of the expansion of the firm’s litigation practice, Boyd Cloern is joining as a partner in Steptoe’s Washington office.

“While Steptoe has long had clients in Silicon Valley, putting down roots there has been an important priority of the firm,” said Phil West, chair of Steptoe. “The new office in Palo Alto will allow us to better serve our existing clients in the region as well as expand our services, particularly in intellectual property, cybersecurity, tax, litigation and technology.”

Described by clients in the Chambers USA legal guide as a “wizard of the patent bar,” Mr. Abrams has tried to verdict and arbitration award and argued appeals in many IP and other business disputes in US and international matters during his 30 years of experience. Specific recent engagements include patent infringement, trade secrets and misappropriation, unfair competition and antitrust, technology transfer and licensing, trademarks and advertising, copyright, internet and media, non-compete and non-disclosure disputes, and First Amendment and defamation. For the past five years, the Daily Journal has named Mr. Abrams to its list of the Top IP Litigators in California. Mr. Abrams has also been named by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in California. Since 2004, he has been listed inBest Lawyers, which in 2014, named him a “Lawyer of the Year” in technology.

Mr. Abrams also has handled a number of high-profile pro bono matters through the US and California Supreme Courts, particularly involving the death penalty, education, foster care and children’s welfare. In 2010, he received a California Lawyer magazine “Lawyer of the Year” award for his representation of foster group homes to receive funding from the state of California. Mr. Abrams is also a consulting professor at Stanford University, where he teaches courses on science and the law, policy making and capital punishment, and serves on the boards of the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Youth Law Center, and is a past co-chair of the Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services.

Mr. Cloern focuses on intellectual property and antitrust matters. His intellectual property work includes litigating patent cases in the computer, automotive, defense, telecommunications, consumer products, semiconductor, and medical devices industries, as well as trade secrets and copyright cases. His antitrust work includes cartel investigations and litigation involving various types of claims under both Section 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and the FTC Act. Mr. Cloern has also litigated securities class action, bank fraud, and general commercial cases.

Drawing on his background in electrical engineering, Mr. Dutta’s practice focuses on patent litigation, patent prosecution, licensing agreements and IP diligence and audits. He has litigated in federal courts and before the International Trade Commission. With nearly 15 years of experience practicing in Silicon Valley, Mr. Dutta has counseled hundreds of emerging technology companies on all aspects of intellectual property strategy and development. He has served as president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley, a member of the Santa Clara County Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee, and is an active member of the Honorable William A. Ingram Inn of Court.

With their arrivals, Steptoe’s Intellectual Property Group will now have patent lawyers in both northern and southern California, along with its Chicago and Washington offices.

Alfred Mamlet, head of Steptoe’s Intellectual Property Group, commented: “Over the past decade, our IP practice has grown more than tenfold to a team of 70-plus and counting. This growth has been strategic, aimed at giving Steptoe deep experience in several areas that fit well with the firm’s traditional strengths in complex commercial litigation and international trade. Bill’s experience as a first-chair litigator will greatly complement the team we have in place, and we are delighted to welcome him, Boyd and Sanjeet to the firm.”

Mr. Abrams added: “Steptoe is a firm of outstanding reputation and accomplishment, with great commitment to excellence and professionalism, and deep strength in IP litigation and technology. The opportunity to join Steptoe and lead the team establishing an office in Silicon Valley is tremendous. I look forward to working with my new colleagues and building our new office in Silicon Valley.”

Mr. Abrams received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford and his J.D. from Santa Clara University.

Mr. Cloern received both his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Kentucky, where he was an associate editor of the Kentucky Law Journal.

Mr. Dutta earned his J.D. from The George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Steptoe’s new Palo Alto office is located at 1001 Page Mill Rd.

About Steptoe

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is an international law firm widely recognized for vigorous advocacy in complex litigation and arbitration, successful representation of clients before governmental agencies, and creative and practical advice in guiding business transactions. The firm has more than 500 lawyers and other professionals in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, Phoenix and Washington. For more information, visitwww.steptoe.com.



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