People

William F. Lee

Partner

Lee, William F.

Bill Lee is a leading intellectual property litigator who has represented a variety of technology-focused clients for more than 35 years. Mr. Lee has tried more than 100 cases to verdict and argued more than 75 cases to the Court of Appeals of the Federal Circuit and other appellate courts. Those cases have included some of the highest profile patent cases of the last decade. He also has been a member of the faculty at Harvard Law School for more than ten years.

Practice

Mr. Lee continues to concentrate his practice primarily on intellectual property and commercial litigation. His trial and appellate experience is extensive. Mr. Lee has tried more than 100 patent cases, both jury and jury waived, to judgment and argued more than 50 appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and other Courts of Appeals. He was named the 2014 and 2015 "Lawyer of the Year" for litigation/patent by Best Lawyers in America®, the 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leader by The American Lawyer, and was one of eight finalists selected by The American Lawyer as "Litigator of the Year" in 2012.

Mr. Lee has acted as lead trial counsel for Apple Inc. in the "smart phone war" litigations and in several cases between Broadcom and Qualcomm; and in a number of other federal court cases involving genetically engineered products, laser optics, video compression, cellular communications, remote data storage, secure Internet communications, pharmaceutical products, high-speed chromatography and medical devices. From July 1987 through June 1989, Mr. Lee served as associate counsel to Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh in the Iran-Contra investigation. In that capacity, Mr. Lee was responsible for certain portions of the grand jury investigation and resulting indictments.

He has also served as a special assistant to the Massachusetts Attorney General for the purpose of investigating alleged incidents of racial bias in the Commonwealth's courts.

Honors & Awards

  • Named a 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leader by The American Lawyer for his exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr
  • Named to the Boston Business Journal's 2014 Power 50 list, meant to honor the region's 50 most influential business people; this is the fourth consecutive year Mr. Lee has been included on this list 
  • Named a 2013 leading practitioner in patent law by IAM Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Practitioners 
  • Selected as one of The National Law Journal's 2013 "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America"
  • Named the 2013 "Massachusetts Outstanding IP Litigator" of the year and an "IP Star" by Managing IP (MIP) magazine
  • Named the 2013 and 2014 Boston "Patent Law Lawyer of the Year" by the Best Lawyers in America
  • Named a "Life Sciences Star" in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions of LMG Life Sciences for intellectual property
  • Recognized as a "2012 Lawyer of the Year" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Named to Law360’s list of “Intellectual Property’s MVPs” in 2011, 2012 and 2013
  • Received a 2012 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Trailblazer Award, NAPABA’s highest honor, which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated vision, courage and tenacity, and those who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the Asian Pacific American (APA) legal profession, as well as the broader APA community
  • Named Litigator of the Week by Litigation Daily, an American Lawyer Media affiliate providing breaking news, for his lead role in representing Pfizer in its $2.15 billion settlement with generic drug makers. This is the third time Mr. Lee has been recognized by Litigation Daily as a Litigator of the Week. In 2012, Mr. Lee was recognized for his lead role in representing Apple in its $1.05 billion trial victory against Samsung. In 2008, he was recognized for back-to-back victories for clients Broadcom and Targus.
  • Included on Managing IP magazine’s 2012 exclusive list of “Outstanding IP Practitioners of the Year,” and also named among the "Top 10 Litigators" in the life sciences patent industry
  • Named a "Litigator of the Year Finalist" by The American Lawyer 2012 and singled out as "Mr. IP"
  • Recipient of the 2011 Founders Award on behalf of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts for his significant contributions in business, academics and the community in relation to the law
  • Recognized as a "Most Admired Attorney” by Law360 for his success rate in the court room as an IP litigator
  • Listed as a "Leading Lawyer" in the areas of intellectual property: patent litigation in the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 editions of The Legal 500 United States
  • Named "Outstanding US IP Practitioner of the Year," by Managing IP magazine in 2009
  • Named one of "The 50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America," by The National Law Journal in 2008
  • Named one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by The National Law Journal in June 2000 and again in June 2006
  • Recognized for his exceptional intellectual property practice (2006-2014) and named a leading litigation: trial lawyer (2013, 2014) by Chambers Global: The World's Leading LawyersIn 2014, sources described him as "just excellent" and named him as "a leader in the legal space." In the 2013 edition, a client stated that Mr. Lee is "the guy you'd call up to win the big case for you."
  • Recognized as a Massachusetts leader in the area of intellectual property and a national leader in the area of life sciences: IP/patent litigation in the 2010-2014 editions of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. In 2013 and 2014, Mr. Lee was also recognized in the area of litigation: trial lawyers and international trade: intellectual property (section 337).
  • Listed in each edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2003 and was the only Massachusetts lawyer awarded the "star" ranking in life sciences: IP/patent litigation and intellectual property (a stand-alone award above the number one ranking) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2013 and 2014
  • Highly recommended in the PLC Cross-border IP in Business Transactions Handbook 2008/09
  • Listed in the 2006-2007 of the PLC IP & IT Cross-Border Handbook as both a "leading" lawyer for intellectual property in Boston and for patent litigation in the US
  • Ranked as one of the nation's most highly recommended intellectual property attorneys in the 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2009/2010 editions of the PLC Cross-border Life Sciences Handbook
  • Selected as a "patent law expert" in Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Patent Law Practitioners 2007 and a "litigation expert" in The Best of the Best 2011
  • Recognized as one of Boston's top lawyers in the dispute resolution and intellectual property, and as national leader in patent litigation in the PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2006. Also listed as one of four "star" lawyers of the firm in the 2005 edition.
  • Selected as one of The National Law Journal’s 2005 "Top Ten Lawyers with Successful Trial Strategies"
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in every issue of the Best Lawyers in America since 1995/1996 and was named the 2011, 2012 and 2015 "Boston Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer of the Year"
  • Selected by clients and peers as a leading intellectual property lawyer in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of The International Who's Who of Life Sciences Lawyers. Mr. Lee was also selected for inclusion in the 2014 edition of Who's Who Legal: Litigation

Publications & News

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November 20, 2014

Prominent Lawyers Publish Essay Defining and Shaping Ethical Responsibilities of Lawyers

Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP are pleased to announce the publication of an essay calling for lawyers, as professionals and as citizens, to balance concerns about the current economic transformation of lawyering with a strong commitment to four ethical responsibilities: to clients/stakeholders, the legal system, their own institution and society. The essay is co-authored by three internationally renowned lawyers representing corporate, law firm and academic environments.

August 28, 2014

LMG Life Sciences Honors Firm, Attorneys with Top Rankings for Third Consecutive Year

The 2014 edition of LMG Life Sciences has been released, and it includes the recognition of nine WilmerHale practice areas and 17 attorneys.

August 27, 2014

Former Co-Managing Partners Lee, Perlstein Honored by The American Lawyer as Distinguished Law Firm Leaders

WilmerHale announced today that former Co-Managing Partners William F. Lee and William J. Perlstein received the 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leaders Award from The American Lawyer for their exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

August 18, 2014

Best Lawyers in America® 2015 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Nine “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 21st edition of Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry.

July 17, 2014

WilmerHale and 17 Partners Rank in Managing IP’s 2014-2015 IP Stars Handbook

Managing IP has released its second annual edition of its IP Stars Handbook—a guide that identifies the leading IP firms and lawyers in the United States—prominently ranking WilmerHale and 17 of its partners.

June 25, 2014

WilmerHale Secures String of Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Wins

Two US Supreme Court decisions handed down on June 12 mark the latest in a string of victories secured by WilmerHale's Appellate and Supreme Litigation Court Practice during the 2013-2014 term.

May 23, 2014

Chambers USA Ranks Top WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices in 2014 Edition

We are pleased to announce the names of the individuals and practice areas that are ranked in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.

May 13, 2014

Success at the Federal Circuit: WilmerHale Earns Five Victories in One Week

WilmerHale has just completed an extremely successful week at the Federal Circuit, receiving favorable decisions in five out of six patent cases concerning various legal issues.

March 26, 2014

Managing IP Names WilmerHale as Patent Contentious Firm of the Year

Managing IP has recognized WilmerHale as the US Patent Contentious Firm of the Year for the fourth consecutive year. At its Annual North American Awards Ceremony held at the Willard InterContinental in DC on March 25, the firm was not only honored as the Patent Contentious Firm of the Year but was also named the Copyright Firm of the Year in the northeast, and the winner of the Milestone Case of the Year with Medtronic for their joint success in Medtronic v. Boston Scientific.

March 14, 2014

Chambers & Partners Recognizes WilmerHale in its 2014 Global Edition

Thirty-one WilmerHale lawyers have been named among the “World’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the 2014 edition of Chambers Global. In addition to these individual accolades, 13 of the firm’s practice areas were also recognized.

Professional Activities

Mr. Lee is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

In July 2010, Mr. Lee was appointed a Fellow of the Harvard Corporation. He is a former member of the Harvard Board of Overseers.

Mr. Lee has served as the John A. Reilly Visiting Professor and the Eli Goldston Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School.

Mr. Lee has served on the Advisory Committee of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He has also served on the Advisory Committee of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts on its local rules; its Committee to Evaluate Administration of the Criminal Justice Act; and the Merit Selection Panel on Magistrate Judges. The Governor of Massachusetts appointed Mr. Lee to serve on a special Judicial Nominating Committee for the selection of judges for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

He has also served as a member of the Visiting Committee at Cornell Law School. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Broad Institute.

Community Involvement

A resident of Wellesley, Mr. Lee has served as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tenacre Country Day School.

Practices

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Education

JD, magna cum laude, Cornell University Law School, 1976, Order of the Coif

MBA, with Distinction, Cornell University, 1976

AB, magna cum laude, Harvard University, 1972

Bar Admissions

Massachusetts

United States Supreme Court