Orrick secures four-partner life sciences IP litigation team from Milbank

Arrival of West Coast-based quartet set to fill 'missing piece' in San Francisco giant's IP litigation portfolio

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Top 35 US law firm Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has added a four-strong team of life sciences-focused IP litigation partners from Milbank in California. 

The team is recognised for its record protecting the innovations of major biotech companies in complex patent cases and is made up of David Gindler, who headed Milbank’s IP litigation and licensing practice, along with Gary Fischling, Lauren Drake and John Lu. Frischling has joined the firm in Santa Monica while the rest of the team will be based in Orrick’s Los Angeles office. 

“Life sciences was the missing piece in our IP litigation portfolio,” said Orrick IP business unit leader Clem Roberts. “We have zero doubt that we have found the best team in the market – and we are excited to add them at a time that our IP practice is on fire.”

Before joining Milbank in 2019 the team practised together for a number of years at Los Angeles litigation boutique Irell & Manella, where Gindler served as managing partner and Frischling as co-leader of the IP practice. 

Gindler brings decades of experience as a trial lawyer with an emphasis on trials of high-stakes patent and trade secret disputes. Ranked Band 2 by Chambers in the life sciences: IP/patent litigation category, his trial outcomes include a $302m verdict for breach of a research and license agreement and defeating a $217m damages claim where liability had already been established in an earlier trial handled by a different firm. 

Frishcling has extensive experience advising clients in protecting innovations in new drugs and drug delivery systems, medical devices and biotherapies and has won patent cases for companies including Gilead, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and St. Jude Medical. 

Meantime Drake represents clients in the biotech and pharma industries and has secured trial wins in patent litigation in the federal courts and handled matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Rounding out the team is Lu, who focuses on patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation and other IP matters, including litigation involving Chinese entities. His major clients have included Genentech, Gilead, Rosenberger Asia Pacific and Tris. 

“In 2019, we set an objective to build a top-tier practice serving the life sciences sector – an essential part of the economy," said Orrick chair Mitch Zuklie. “We started with a strong but small foundation. We launched our Boston office, in part, because of its importance to the life science sector. Since then, we have been thrilled with the quality of the practitioners we have attracted and this IP litigation team adds an essential piece to our integrated offering – with talent that is unsurpassed in the market.”

Orrick said it has added 22 partners to its life sciences platform since 2019 in transactional, litigation and regulatory areas and advises more than 500 companies in the sector. 

Meantime Orrick’s IP litigation practice has led matters for Sonos, Oracle and Micron, while the firm’s appellate team has racked up wins in life sciences cases for Gilead, Kite Pharma and Johnson & Johnson.

Gindler commented: “Everything about Orrick resonates for our team in terms of our vision for our practice – the quality of the IP litigation platform, the integrated approach to serving life sciences clients and the record of innovation. We are excited to become part of the team.”

The quartet’s arrival at Orrick follows first chair trial lawyer Bill Oxley rejoining the firm in Los Angeles in June from Baker & Hostetler to team up with commercial litigator Meghan Kelly, who moved over from Baker & Hostetler in New York. 

Tech litigator Ben Au also joined in Santa Monica in May from Californinan litigation boutique Durie Tangri, which in October announced that it was teaming up with Morrison & Foerster

Elsewhere in the US a number of firms have been boosting their life sciences IP litigation offering, including McGuire Woods, which added a pair of experienced trial lawyers from Winston & Strawn in September in Chicago and Houston. 

And earlier in the year UK magic circle firm Allen & Overy hired a highly rated five-partner life sciences IP litigation team from Goodwin Procter in a move that also handed it an office in Boston, its fifth in the US.

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