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Dentons Expands Houston With Intellectual Property Team

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dentons announced today the addition of an intellectual property team led by Michael R. Samardzija, PhD, who joins the Firm as a partner in the Firm's Houston office, along with counsel Heather Khassian and associate Karthika Perumal, PhD. The team enhances the Firm's formidable Intellectual Property and Technology group, a top-tier practice consisting of more than 100 lawyers and technically trained professionals.

Samardzija focuses his Intellectual Property practice on the life sciences and clean technology sectors, helping clients secure, transfer, commercialize and protect the rights to their innovations, including microbe technologies to remediate petrochemical spills. He has represented clients in patent infringement litigations and in various technology-based transactions, including licenses, agreements for technology development, transfer, acquisition, joint development, collaboration, product development, strategic alliance, and product distribution.

"Houston is an important hub for life sciences and biotechnology activity, two key areas of focus for Dentons," said Mike McNamara, Dentons US managing partner. "The addition of Michael and the practice in Houston underscores the city's strategic significance to our clients and the Firm."

Before entering private practice, Samardzija served as the director of intellectual property for the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center's Office of Technology Commercialization. In that role, he reviewed more than 300 invention disclosures, filed over 100 provisional patent applications and engaged in policy discussions about patent reform with members of Congress. Prior to that, Samardzija served as the sole in-house lawyer at NeurogesX, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the treatment of pain.

Samardzija earned his JD from University of San Diego School of Law, a PhD and MS from Loma Linda University and a BS from Brooklyn College.

Khassian focuses her Intellectual Property practice on litigation and patent portfolio management. Her IP litigation practice has involved a large array of technologies, including genetic testing, hematology controls, wireless communications, semiconductors, dairy and beef industry management, as well as the chemical arts and the oil and gas industries. Khassian's patent portfolio management experience has focused on the oil and gas industry, chemical technologies, medical devices, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

Khassian has served as in-house counsel at one of the largest chemical companies in the world, where she managed patent portfolios for polymers worldwide, managed patent committees, provided all intellectual property based support for several technology and research centers, and participated in the company's active licensing practice.

Khassian earned her JD from Washington University School of Law, where she was notes editor of the Washington University Law Review. Among her other accolades, she received the Samuel L. Breckenridge Award for Excellence in Writing and won the Client Counseling Competition. Khassian earned her BA in Chemistry and Biology, magna cum laude, both with Honors, from Huntington College.

Perumal focuses her Intellectual Property practice on patent prosecution and litigation. She has experience in licensing and technology transfer work, as well. She has earned her JD, magna cum laude, from University of Houston Law Center, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and associate editor of the Houston Law Review. Perumal earned her PhD from Baylor College of Medicine, where she received the Prof. John Trentin Award for scholastic excellence, and her bachelor's in Technology from Anna University in Chennai, India.

Dentons' Intellectual Property and Technology practice combines experienced lawyers with engineers and other technically-trained professionals holding advanced degrees. BTI Litigation Outlook 2014 ranked the IP group in the top 10 percent of all law firms for intellectual property litigation and related matters. The addition of Michael and his team follows several other high-profile IP hires, including Dr. Russell Tonkovich, an experienced patent litigator, and Lissi Mojica and Kevin Greenleaf, a prominent inter partes review team.

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