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Sheppard Mullin Adds IP Pros in Palo Alto

Three-Attorney Team Brings Deep Technology Experience to Firm

Sheppard Mullin is pleased to announce that a team of three attorneys, led by partner Harper Batts, has joined the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group in Palo Alto. Batts was most recently a partner at Baker Botts. Joining Sheppard Mullin with Batts are special counsel Chris Ponder and senior associate Jeffrey Liang.

"Our IP practice is booming," said Guy Halgren, Sheppard Mullin’s Chairman. "Our IP litigators and our patent and trademark teams are busy everywhere, and our clients routinely rely on us for guidance on their most important IP matters. Harper and his team’s extensive experience with venues around the country and before the PTAB will benefit our clients immensely."

Commenting on the expansion of the firm’s IP practice, practice group leader Dan Yannuzzi said, "We continue to invest in our IP practice, which is growing rapidly and firing on all cylinders. Harper, Chris and Jeff are an ideal complement to our existing team. Their practice fits nicely into our focus on continuing to build our patent litigation and IPR capabilities in the Bay Area."

Batts’ team represents clients across numerous technology sectors, including numerous streaming companies in patent litigation matters and IPR proceedings. Last year, Batts argued and won an appeal that reversed a PTAB determination that patent claims asserted against a group of streaming companies were not invalid. Batts and Ponder represented a wearable technologies company in multiple patent disputes in the past year, including a recent IPR proceeding in which Wi-LAN subsidiary Smart Wearables disclaimed all challenged claims after the institution of IPR proceedings. In July, Batts and Ponder argued for video-game maker Wargaming at an IPR hearing against Game & Technology, Co., following Blizzard, Inc.’s own unsuccessful IPR against the same patent. A decision was recently issued by the PTAB finding all challenged claims unpatentable. Batts also has represented companies in the medical space, including in competitor disputes, PTAB proceedings, and district court litigation. Batts works with a leading semiconductor manufacturer in connection with patent disputes and he has successfully disposed of numerous cases quickly for clients. Ponder is a former clerk of Judge Payne of the Eastern District of Texas and has extensive experience in competitor litigation, while Liang previously worked for Intel as an engineer and has an electrical engineering background.

"I look forward to incorporating my IPR and patent litigation practice into Sheppard Mullin’s extensive IP practice, as well as to collaborating with the impressive set of attorneys across practice areas that Sheppard has in California and elsewhere," Batts said. "I am honored to join the Sheppard team and excited to have my team work with our new colleagues to take the practice to the next level." 

The firm’s Silicon Valley office, which began with four attorneys in 2008, has grown to 32 attorneys, and serves a wide array of Silicon Valley-based businesses, from start-ups to some of the Valley’s biggest international technology and social media companies. The firm’s Intellectual Property practice group has 98 attorneys and is ranked as a top firm in multiple categories in Patexia's 2018 IPR Intelligence Report. The group was also recently listed on the National Law Journal’s IP Hot List and recognized by Law360 as "Intellectual Property Practice Group of The Year."

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