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The American Lawyer Recognizes WilmerHale as IP Litigation Department of the Year Finalist

January 3, 2012

The American Lawyer has recognized WilmerHale as a national finalist for its Intellectual Property Litigation Department of the Year. The firm’s Litigation Department also received an honorable mention for winning “two of the most important intellectual property appellate victories of the past two years in just three days.” Former Co-Managing Partner Bill Lee was singled out as “Mr. IP,” and named as a finalist for the Litigator of the Year title.

The American Lawyer’s Litigation Department of the Year is a biennial competition that first originated 10 years ago. Since then, WilmerHale has been recognized in the IP Litigation category four times, twice as the winner. WilmerHale’s IP Litigation Group was most recently recognized for its record-setting victories, including the patent ruling for Abbott Laboratories in litigation over Abbott’s best-selling drug Humira®. On appeal, Lee convinced the Federal Circuit to overturn a $1.67 billion verdict against Abbott, the biggest patent damages award in US history.

The group was also honored for upholding patent law precedent for client Roche Molecular Systems, Inc. against Stanford University, arguing that an inventor of record retains the right to a patent even if federal funds were used to help develop the research behind the invention. In the end, Partner Mark Fleming won a 7-to-2 decision, which marked the Supreme Court's first affirmation of a Federal Circuit ruling over the Solicitor General's opposition.

Equally credited for the group’s trial practice, Lee and Partner Amy Wigmore were mentioned for their victory for Wyeth (now part of Pfizer Inc.) in a lawsuit against generic drugmakers in a federal district court in Newark over their versions of gastric acid disorder treatment Protonix. The jury found the patent valid in April 2010. Now the generic drugmakers face a possible trial on damages tied to Wyeth's lost sales.

The American Lawyer also recognized that during a one-week period, Lee and Partner Seth Waxman (a former US Solicitor General) argued two appeals apiece in the Federal Circuit. Twelve other WilmerHale lawyers also appeared before the court, scoring wins for TiVo Inc., Intel Corporation and US Philips Corporation.

For the first year, The American Lawyer invited firms to nominate a partner as Litigator of the Year. In recognition of Lee’s victories highlighted above, as well as his Federal Circuit victories for Nintendo and Broadcom, he was profiled as a Litigator of the Year finalist.

The Am Law 200 firms—the nation’s top-grossing firms—were all invited to compete for the title of Litigation Department of the Year in one of three specialties: Intellectual Property, Labor and Employment, and Product Liability. Nominees were judged based on their performance during the past two years.

These cases, and many of WilmerHale’s other recent successes in patent infringement and appellate matters are highlighted in The American Lawyer's January 2012 issue. Read about the firm as a finalist for IP Litigation Group of the Year and as an honorable mention for Litigation Department of the Year, as well as Lee’s recognition as Litigator of the Year finalist.