Powerhouse team with diverse tech backgrounds and significant trial experience joins firm because of its outstanding reputation in litigation and trials
Morrison &Foerster, a leading global law firm, is pleased to announce the addition of six highly regarded IP litigators to its Intellectual Property (IP) Litigation group. The San Francisco-based team, which joins from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich &Rosati, consists of partners Stefani E. Shanberg and Jennifer J. Schmidt, of counsel Robin L. Brewer, and associates Eugene Marder, Madeleine E. Greene, and Michael J. Guo.
Ms. Shanberg and Ms. Schmidt lead an impressive IP litigation practice and have helped some of Silicon Valley’s top technology companies prevail in their important IP disputes. The team has secured wins and favorable outcomes for clients in federal court, arbitration, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) proceedings, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal. The new litigators will further strengthen Morrison &Foerster’s globally renowned IP Litigation practice, including enhancing its representation of clients before the ITC under the unfair imports provision (Section 337) of the U.S. Tariff Act. Ms. Shanberg currently holds the prestigious position of President of the ITC Trial Lawyers Association—the first ever West Coast lawyer to assume this role.
“We are delighted to welcome such a tremendous group of trial lawyers whose commitment to deep client relationships makes them an ideal fit at Morrison &Foerster,” said LarrenNashelsky, chair of Morrison &Foerster. “Stefani, Jennifer, and the rest of the team’s technology expertise and focus also align with our reputation as a destination firm for technology companies looking for sophisticated and creative IP strategies.”
Morrison &Foerster’s IP Litigation group covers all aspects of intellectual property disputes, from complex patent litigation to trademark and interference matters before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The firm’s clients benefit from one of the largest and best-respected patent groups in the world, with more than 300 attorneys, more than half of whom are litigators. The arrival of Ms. Shanberg and Ms. Schmidt, as well as the rest of their team, also highlights Morrison &Foerster’s continued commitment to making strategic investments to its IP Litigation bench, following the additions of Mark Whitaker, David Manspeizer, and Greg Chopskie on the East Coast last year.
“Our six new outstanding lawyers will complement and further strengthen our IP Litigation group,” said Rich Hung, co-chair of Morrison &Foerster’s IP Litigation group. “Their deep expertise and knowledge in navigating complex IP disputes for technology companies, as well as their experience litigating in diverse venues, will be extremely valuable for our clients.”
The group’s move to Morrison &Foerster also underscores the firm’s focus on adding talented lawyers in the thriving San Francisco Bay Area market. The addition of Ms. Shanberg and Ms. Schmidt comes on the heels of the arrival of four new corporate partners – Dario Avram, Patrick Huard, Alex Kaufman, and Sara Terheggen – and of Joshua Hill, Jr., a white collar litigator, who have all come to the firm in the Bay Area over the last year.
“Morrison &Foerster’s reputation as a litigation and trial powerhouse, and as a leader in the Bay Area were key factors in our decision to join the firm. The firm is renowned as a destination for clients and litigators alike, and as an ideal home for litigators to practice,” said Ms. Shanberg. “Our team has been practicing law together and delivering value to clients for many years, and we are delighted to continue this momentum with the strong team at Morrison &Foerster.”
Ms. Schmidt added: “We look forward to continuing to provide our clients with strong, smart legal counsel from a global platform and to further solidifying the firm’s position as the leading IP group serving technology clients.”
Here is some further information on Morrison &Foerster’s newest attorneys.
- Stefani E. Shanberg’s practice focuses on patent litigation, with a particular emphasis on defending technology companies. She has extensive experience in all areas of intellectual property litigation and complex commercial litigation relating to intellectual property. Ms. Shanberg has handled matters before federal courts, the ITC, and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal. Ms. Shanberg is the go-to advisor for many of the hottest technology companies facing intellectual property lawsuits and prides herself on an understanding of her clients’ businesses and goals. Ms. Shanberg’s patent litigation engagements have related to diverse technologies, including smartphone apps, email, network security, wireless communications, and other Internet, hardware, and software products, as well as consumer products.
While her practice involves matters pending throughout the nation, Ms. Shanberg has particular experience with investigations before the International Trade Commission and currently serves as the President of the ITC Trial Lawyers Association (ITC-TLA); she is the first West Coast President of the ITC-TLA. Ms. Shanberg is regularly recognized as a leading intellectual property litigator and as among the top women in technology law. She has her J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, from which she graduated with high honors.
- Jennifer J. Schmidt’s practice focuses on patent litigation and related complex commercial litigation. Ms. Schmidt has more than a decade of significant trial experience in cases relating to diverse technologies and routinely handles matters before federal courts, the ITC, the PTAB, and arbitration tribunals. With an electrical engineering and computer science background, she focuses her practice on defending technology companies against claims of patent infringement in a wide range of technology fields, including computer hardware and software, video compression, smartphone apps, network security, search algorithms, semiconductor physics, and consumer products.
Ms. Schmidt is consistently ranked by Northern California Super Lawyers in their list of “Rising Stars,” and has also been recognized by New York Super Lawyers. She has her J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was the Managing Editor of the Yale Journal of Law and Technology,and an A.B. in electrical engineering and computer science from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude and worked at the Harvard Robotics Lab.
- Robin L. Brewer’s practice focuses on patent litigation, including actions before the ITC, federal district courts, the Federal Circuit, and the PTAB. She has represented a variety of high-tech clients and has experience with cases involving digital wallets, network security, video compression technology, database systems, Internet advertising, email systems, smartphone apps, and online marketplaces. Ms. Brewer has successfully litigated all stages of a case, obtaining wins at federal district courts, PTAB, ITC, and Federal Circuit. She is consistently named to the “Rising Stars” list published by Northern California Super Lawyers. She has her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School with honors; her D.E.A. in Mechanical Engineering from the Institut National des Sciences Appliquees in Lyon, France; and her B.E. in biomedical engineering and A.B. in engineering science (cum laude), both from Dartmouth College.
- Eugene Marder’s practice focuses on patent litigation, primarily in software, electronic, digital media, and network technologies. He has represented a diverse array of high-tech clients and has had extensive involvement in high-stakes hardware and software patent litigation. In particular, Mr. Marder has significant trial experience in matters before federal district courts and the ITC. He has guided clients to successful outcomes at all stages of litigation, including victories through dispositive motions, at trial, and on appeal. He has a J.D. from Stanford Law School and his B.A. in international relations (magna cum laude) from the University of Southern California, where he was Phi Beta Kappa.
- Madeleine E. Greene’s practice primarily focuses on patent litigation in diverse technical fields, including network security, video compression, Internet applications, computer hardware and software, and housewares. She has experience in all stages of litigation and has represented clients before federal district courts throughout the country, the ITC, and the Federal Circuit. Ms. Greene has achieved favorable outcomes for numerous clients, including case resolutions resulting from successful claim construction and collateral proceedings along with total case victories through dispositive motions and on appeal. She has her J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law and her B.A. in Law & Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she received Dean’s Honors.
- Michael J. Guo’s practice focuses on patent litigation. He has experience with all aspects of litigation in a diverse range of technologies and has represented clients before district courts, the Federal Circuit, the PTAB, and the ITC. He has achieved favorable results for clients, such as winning motions to dismiss, obtaining findings of noninfringement, and invalidating patent claims in Patent Office proceedings. Prior to his legal career, he was a quantitative analyst and later a web developer. He has a J.D. from University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, where he was an editor of the UCLA Law Review, and a B.S. in economics and electrical engineering/computer science from Yale University.
UK might need negative rates if recovery disappoints – BoE’s Vlieghe
By David Milliken and William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – The Bank of England might need to cut interest rates below zero later this year or in 2022 if a recovery in the economy disappoints, especially if there is persistent unemployment, policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said on Friday.
Vlieghe said he thought the likeliest scenario was that the economy would recover strongly as forecast by the central bank earlier this month, meaning a further loosening of monetary policy would not be needed.
Data published on Friday suggested the economy had stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown hit retailers last month, while businesses and consumers are hopeful a fast vaccination campaign will spur a recovery.
Vlieghe said in a speech published by the BoE that there was a risk of lasting job market weakness hurting wages and prices.
“In such a scenario, I judge more monetary stimulus would be appropriate, and I would favour a negative Bank Rate as the tool to implement the stimulus,” he said.
“The time to implement it would be whenever the data, or the balance of risks around it, suggest that the recovery is falling short of fully eliminating economic slack, which might be later this year or into next year,” he added.
Vlieghe’s comments are similar to those of fellow policymaker Michael Saunders, who said on Thursday negative rates could be the BoE’s best tool in future.
Earlier this month the BoE gave British financial institutions six months to get ready for the possible introduction of negative interest rates, though it stressed that no decision had been taken on whether to implement them.
Investors saw the move as reducing the likelihood of the BoE following other central banks and adopting negative rates.
Some senior BoE policymakers, such as Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden, believe that adding to the central bank’s 875 billion pounds ($1.22 trillion) of government bond purchases remains the best way of boosting the economy if needed.
Vlieghe underscored the scale of the hit to Britain’s economy and said it was clear the country was not experiencing a V-shaped recovery, adding it was more like “something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery.”
“I want to emphasise how far we still have to travel in this recovery,” he said, adding that it was “highly uncertain” how much of the pent-up savings amassed by households during the lockdowns would be spent.
By contrast, last week the BoE’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, likened the economy to a “coiled spring.”
Vlieghe also warned against raising interest rates if the economy appeared to be outperforming expectations.
“It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
Higher interest rates were unlikely to be appropriate until 2023 or 2024, he said.
($1 = 0.7146 pounds)
(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)
UK economy shows signs of stabilisation after new lockdown hit
By William Schomberg and David Milliken
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s economy has stabilised after a new COVID-19 lockdown last month hit retailers, and business and consumers are hopeful the vaccination campaign will spur a recovery, data showed on Friday.
The IHS Markit/CIPS flash composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, a survey of businesses, suggested the economy was barely shrinking in the first half of February as companies adjusted to the latest restrictions.
A separate survey of households showed consumers at their most confident since the pandemic began.
Britain’s economy had its biggest slump in 300 years in 2020, when it contracted by 10%, and will shrink by 4% in the first three months of 2021, the Bank of England predicts.
The central bank expects a strong subsequent recovery because of the COVID-19 vaccination programme – though policymaker Gertjan Vlieghe said in a speech on Friday that the BoE could need to cut interest rates below zero later this year if unemployment stayed high.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due on Monday to announce the next steps in England’s lockdown but has said any easing of restrictions will be gradual.
Official data for January underscored the impact of the latest lockdown on retailers.
Retail sales volumes slumped by 8.2% from December, a much bigger fall than the 2.5% decrease forecast in a Reuters poll of economists, and the second largest on record.
“The only good thing about the current lockdown is that it’s no way near as bad for the economy as the first one,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said.
The smaller fall in retail sales than last April’s 18% plunge reflected growth in online shopping.
BORROWING SURGE SLOWED IN JANUARY
There was some better news for finance minister Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce Britain’s next annual budget on March 3.
Though public sector borrowing of 8.8 billion pounds ($12.3 billion) was the first January deficit in a decade, it was much less than the 24.5 billion pounds forecast in a Reuters poll.
That took borrowing since the start of the financial year in April to 270.6 billion pounds, reflecting a surge in spending and tax cuts ordered by Sunak.
The figure does not count losses on government-backed loans which could add 30 billion pounds to the shortfall this year, but the deficit is likely to be smaller than official forecasts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think tank said.
Sunak is expected to extend a costly wage subsidy programme, at least for the hardest-hit sectors, but he said the time for a reckoning would come.
“It’s right that once our economy begins to recover, we should look to return the public finances to a more sustainable footing and I’ll always be honest with the British people about how we will do this,” he said.
Some economists expect higher taxes sooner rather than later.
“Big tax rises eventually will have to be announced, with 2022 likely to be the worst year, so that they will be far from voters’ minds by the time of the next general election in May 2024,” Samuel Tombs, at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said.
Public debt rose to 2.115 trillion pounds, or 97.9% of gross domestic product – a percentage not seen since the early 1960s.
The PMI survey and a separate measure of manufacturing from the Confederation of British Industry, showing factory orders suffering the smallest hit in a year, gave Sunak some cause for optimism.
IHS Markit’s chief business economist, Chris Williamson, said the improvement in business expectations suggested the economy was “poised for recovery.”
However the PMI survey showed factory output in February grew at its slowest rate in nine months. Many firms reported extra costs and disruption to supply chains from new post-Brexit barriers to trade with the European Union since Jan. 1.
Vlieghe warned against over-interpreting any early signs of growth. “It is perfectly possible that we have a short period of pent up demand, after which demand eases back again,” he said.
“We are experiencing something between a swoosh-shaped recovery and a W-shaped recovery. We are clearly not experiencing a V-shaped recovery.”
($1 = 0.7160 pounds)
(Editing by Angus MacSwan and Timothy Heritage)
Oil extends losses as Texas prepares to ramp up output
By Devika Krishna Kumar
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices fell for a second day on Friday, retreating further from recent highs as Texas energy companies began preparations to restart oil and gas fields shuttered by freezing weather.
Brent crude futures were down 33 cents, or 0.5%, at $63.60 a barrel by 11:06 a.m. (1606 GMT) U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 60 cents, or 1%, to $59.92.
This week, both benchmarks had climbed to the highest in more than a year.
“Price pullback thus far appears corrective and is slight within the context of this month’s major upside price acceleration,” said Jim Ritterbusch, president of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Unusually cold weather in Texas and the Plains states curtailed up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production and 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas, analysts estimated.
Texas refiners halted about a fifth of the nation’s oil processing amid power outages and severe cold.
Companies were expected to prepare for production restarts on Friday as electric power and water services slowly resume, sources said.
“While much of the selling relates to a gradual resumption of power in the Gulf coast region ahead of a significant temperature warmup, the magnitude of this week’s loss of supply may require further discounting given much uncertainty regarding the extent and possible duration of lost output,” Ritterbusch said.
Oil fell despite a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles in the week to Feb. 12, before the big freeze. Inventories fell by 7.3 million barrels to 461.8 million barrels, their lowest since March, the Energy Information Administration reported on Thursday. [EIA/S]
The United States on Thursday said it was ready to talk to Iran about returning to a 2015 agreement that aimed to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Still, analysts did not expect near-term reversal of sanctions on Iran that were imposed by the previous U.S. administration.
“This breakthrough increases the probability that we may see Iran returning to the oil market soon, although there is much to be discussed and a new deal will not be a carbon-copy of the 2015 nuclear deal,” said StoneX analyst Kevin Solomon.
(Additional reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar in London and Roslan Khasawneh in Singapore and Sonali Paul in Melbourne; Editing by Jason Neely, David Goodman and David Gregorio)
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