Paul Hastings adds ‘firepower’ to IP bench with six-strong US team from Allen & Overy

The top 25 US firm secures highly respected team of tech-focused IP litigators in Silicon Valley and Washington DC

(l-r) Shamita Etienne-Cummings, James Gagen, Eric Lancaster and Lisa Nguyen Photos courtesy of Paul Hastings

A team of six highly respected patent litigation partners has moved from Allen & Overy (A&O) to join Paul Hastings’ IP disputes team.

IP litigators Shamita Etienne-Cummings, Lisa Nguyen, Eric Lancaster, James Gagen and Grace Wang are joining the firm. An as yet unnamed sixth litigator will be joining the Washington DC office.

The group, whose departure comes ahead of London-based A&O's impending merger with New York's Shearman & Sterling, focuses on litigation and cases before US district courts, the International Trade Commission (ITC), the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. They work across ‘big tech’ and a range of high-growth industries like artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, e-commerce, semiconductors and telecommunications.

Etienne-Cummings and Gagen will be based in Washington DC, while Nguyen and Lancaster will be located in Palo Alto, and Wang in New York.

Frank Lopez, Paul Hastings chair, said that “deepening our IP litigation bench in Silicon Valley and Washington will further position us to capture additional market share at the top of the market”.

Naveen Modi, global co-chair of Paul Hastings’ IP practice, said their depth in popular patent litigation venues will add “more firepower to our already impressive group”.

The group represents clients including Google, Toshiba, Kioxia, Curiosity Stream, Wonderland, Meta Platforms, Realtek Semiconductor, ResMed, Extreme Networks and Marvell Semiconductor. 

A first-chair litigator on complex patent matters, Etienne-Cummings represents technology clients before district courts, the Federal Circuit, the PTAB and the ITC in matters including mobile communications, smart consumer electronics, semiconductor design, consumer electronic devices and medical devices.

Nguyen focuses on patent and trade secret litigation, representing top technology companies as lead counsel. She successfully argued a case representing Meta and Instagram, which had been accused by a company called Street Spirit of infringing a patent relating to identity verification on social networks. 

Lancaster is a former managing partner of Allen & Overy’s Silicon Valley and San Francisco offices, with a practice focusing on patent litigation across a wide range of sectors and technologies including medical devices, software and pharmaceuticals.

Gagen is known for his experience with Section 337 matters at the ITC, these matters investigate alleged patent and trademark infringement by imported goods into the US.

Wang’s practice focuses on PTAB and ITC matters, including post-grant proceedings, infringement, patent validity, freedom to operate and due diligence analysis. 

The former Allen & Overy team joins other notable IP additions to Paul Hastings practice, including Rudy Kim, who joined the Palo Alto practice from Morrison & Foerster last year. Other IP litigators that have joined in recent times include Jason Raeburn in London, who also sits part-time as a judge in the English High Court and was 12 years at Baker McKenzie, and Doug Sawyer in Chicago, who was perviously at Perkins Coie.

Paul Hastings also boosted its London investigations and litigation bench in February with the hire of partners Stuart Alford KC and Oliver Browne from Latham & Watkins.

The hires comes against the backdrop of the soon to be created A&O Shearman, the landmark merger deal between UK Magic Circle law firm Allen & Overy and New York’s Shearman & Sterling.

Further details of the first senior leadership roles of the newly formed firm were released last week. Allen & Overy’s interim global managing partner, Khalid Garousha, has been named senior partner of the new firm.

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