MoFo targets London contentious IP work with four-strong team hire from Brown Rudnick

Team's arrival comes hard on heels of acquisition of West Coast IP boutique Durie Tangri

Steven James Image courtesy of Morrison Foerster

Top 40 US law firm Morrison Foerster (MoFo) has hired a four-strong team from Brown Rudnick in London to build a contentious IP practice.

The group is led by Brown Rudnick’s former lead partner for UK and European IP, Steven James, along with counsel Ruth Arkley, senior associate Hattie Chessher and paralegal Rebecca Jenkins. 

“Strengthening our IP practice in London has long been a strategic priority and we have been looking for the right team, said Paul Friedman, MoFo’s managing partner for Europe. “Steven’s experience and established client base strongly align with our sector focus across tech and life sciences, making him the perfect choice to lead our new London contentious IP practice.” 

James joins after almost nine years at Brown Rudnick, where he worked with clients including cryptocurrency payment platform Wirex, medical technology provider Novaerus and Covid rapid test provider Excalibur Healthcare Services. 

Earlier he was an associate at Latham & Watkins and Pinsent Masons and has a broad practice covering matters from trade secret, patent, passing off, copyright and trademark disputes to counseling clients on the development of IP and branding strategies. He also brings experience advising on defamation and on the IP, technology and data protection aspects of corporate and M&A transactions. 

Meantime Arkley was a partner at Brown Rudnick but joins MoFo as of counsel, bringing more than eight years of IP, technology and commercial law experience with a focus on innovative technologies and data protection. Chessher joins as a senior associate; she has more than eight years of experience advising on IP and commercial law, including trademark, passing off and copyright disputes, trademark portfolio management and transactional matters.

The quartet’s arrival follows MoFo’s announcement last month that it was significantly beefing up its IP capabilities on the US West Coast with the absorption of 12-partner litigation boutique Durie Tangri.

The firm also bolstered its East Coast IP coverage back in 2019 with the launch of an office in Boston and earlier this opened a shop in Austin to advise clients in the technology, life sciences and healthcare sectors on IP litigation and transactional matters. Partners Brian Nash and Aaron Fountain joined the firm’s IP litigation team from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and DLA Piper respectively for the Austin launch. 

MoFo said its lawyers have litigated more than 300 patent disputes in the most active district courts in the US. The firm has more than 115 patent attorneys and patent agent/scientific analysts globally. 

James pointed to the quality of MoFo’s IP lawyers globally and its reputation across tech and life sciences as strong draws. 

“The team and I are thrilled to be given the opportunity to build out the IP group’s capabilities in London,” he added. 

The team’s departure will leave Brown Rudnick without any London-based partners in its IP litigation group, according to its website. Commenting on the move, a firm spokesperson said: “We thank them for their contribution to the firm and wish them all the very best for the future.”

It emerged last month that Brown Rudnick, which is based in Boston, had closed its Paris office, leaving London as its only international location. At the time the firm said the London office, which has around 20 partnes, was ‘thriving across our core areas, including crisis and global litigation, life sciences, technology and reputation management’.

Another US firm to boost its IP coverage in the UK recently is top 200 outfit Armstrong Teasdale, which followed up its 2021 London launch with the hire of a team of four partners from IP boutique Phillips & Leigh in August.

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