Morrison Foerster absorbs 'stellar' Californian litigation boutique Durie Tangri

Durie Tangri’s 36 lawyers to move across, boosting MoFo's West Coast IP coverage
A photo of Daralyn Durie, Ragesh Tangri and Eric McCrath

From left to right: Daralyn Durie and Ragesh Tangri with MoFo's chair Eric McCrath

Morrison Foerster (MoFo) is teaming up with Californian litigation boutique Durie Tangri and its team of 36 lawyers, strengthening MoFo’s West Coast intellectual property offering.

The incoming team comprises 12 partners, including Durie Tangri’s founders Daralyn Durie, Ragesh Tangri, Mark Lemley and Joseph Gratz. 

In addition to its IP expertise, the firm’s practice also focuses on civil litigation, professional liability, white-collar crime and investigations, contract and commercial disputes and class actions. 

The firm was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and opened a second office in Los Angeles in 2018. It recently helped successfully defend video games developer Activision Blizzard against a copyright claim related to its Call of Duty Black Ops 4 release and online art marketplace Redbubble against a copyright and trademark infringement case brought by Atari.

The deal promises to hand MoFo market leading capability in practice areas in which a number of its rivals excel, making it a good fit for both parties. Legal directory Chambers and Partners ranks the boutique as a Band 1 firm for trademark, copyright and trade secrets disputes work in California - alongside West Coast giant Latham & Watkins - and in Band 2 for patent litigation, alongside Cooley, Kirkland & Ellis and Latham.

Eric McCrath, chair of MoFo, said: “Their stellar IP, complex civil litigation and trial law capabilities will add significant strength and talent to our ranks on the West Coast. Our shared commitment to serving clients on the forefront of technology and life sciences, while staying true to our values, in particular our commitment to diversity and inclusion, make this the perfect match for our firm.”

Prior to founding Durie Tangri, Durie was a partner at San Francisco litigation boutique Keker and Van Nest. Lemley also previously worked at Keker and Van Nest, leaving in 2007 after co-founding legal analytics company Lex Machina. Gratz was an associate at Keker and Van Nest for two years before helping set up Durie Tangri in 2009.

Durie said: “Providing access to Morrison Foerster’s global platform will be transformational for our lawyers’ ability to grow their practices and is a natural next step in our evolution. Morrison Foerster’s deep roots in the Bay Area, continued tradition of leadership in the tech and life sciences sectors, coupled with its well-respected bench of IP lawyers, and premier litigation department all make MoFo the ideal fit for us.”

The Durie Tangri tie-up is MoFo’s latest effort to beef up its IP capabilities. In 2019, it opened in Boston to bolster its East Coast IP coverage, while earlier this year it opened in Austin, supported by IP practitioners Brian Nash and Aaron Fountain who joined from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and DLA Piper respectively.

Last month, Morgan Lewis & Bockius hired a five-strong IP team from Duane Morris to expand its IP litigation practice in Silicon Valley. The team included Duane Morris’s former Silicon Valley managing partner Manita Rawat.

And earlier in September, McGuireWoods added two IP litigation partners – Michael Nutter and Merritt Westcott – from Winston & Strawn in Chicago and Houston respectively.

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