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    July 21, 2008  

Boies Takes on Facebook;
Troutman Merger;
Sonnenschein Grows

You might remember hearing that ConnectU filed copyright and trade claims against Facebook in the N.D. Cal., and in February, the parties signed a settlement agreement. When new evidence suggested Facebook may not have fully disclosed the value of its stock, ConnectU hired Boies, Schiller & Flexner IP practice head Mike Underhill (and co-lead counsel David Barrett) to argue that alleged fraud invalidated the document.

The district court found otherwise, but Mike says an appeal to the 9th Circuit appears imminent. The parties were ordered to turn over cash and stock by August 4th, so it should be coming before the end of this month. Mike joined BS&F 18 months ago from McDermott, Will & Emery and in less than two years, the full-time patent litigation practice has grown from zero to five. (And yes, those are Lincoln Logs on his desk, but he assures us they're just jury demonstratives. Honestly, we weren't judging.) 


Mike's patent infringement cases mean lots of travel: Bascom, an Internet filtering company, is suing AOL and Yahoo in E.D.NY; Roy-G-Biv, a software company, is suing a GE joint venture in E.D.TX; Heerema, a Dutch company, is suing a defendant that leases oil-drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico; and Arm & Hammer manufacturer Church & Dwight is embroiled in a dispute involving toothbrushes in Denver. Mike also took a recent trip to Israel with his father and son. While we hear the Middle East has a few property disputes of its own, Mike says this trip was of the pleasure variety.

Troutman-Ross Dixon Nuptials

On January 1, that sign behind David Gische, Managing Partner of Ross Dixon & Bell, becomes a collectors' item. That's when his firm (50 attorneys in DC, 100 total) will merge into Troutman Sanders (50 DC, 650 total), with local forces joining together in expanded space at Troutman's 401 9th Street office. David gave us the scoop on how talks got started:  The DC offices of both firms have a number of former DOJ attorneys, who'd done some informal hypothesizing about whether the shops would click. When word of the conversations reached David, he sat down for a December lunch with Kevin Fitzgerald, Troutman's DC Managing Partner. That began a series of discussions between the firms, including multiple day-long meetings between David and Bob Webb, the Atlanta-based Troutman chair.


In the deal, Troutman adds offices in Chicago, Orange County, and San Diego to a lineup of U.S. offices that had been centered on the East Coast. For Ross Dixon's part, David says that a crucial factor was the meetings that a contingent of Ross Dixon partners had with members of Troutman's Richmond office (formerly of Mays Valentine) and NY office (formerly of Parker Chapin), who "couldn't have been more complimentary" of Troutman in discussing their integration. David, who specializes in D&O litigation, is putting his practice on hold while he puts all his "mental and emotional energy" into the January merge.




That giant sucking sound you hear is Sonnenschein gobbling up practice groups. Well, okay, in this case it's just Mark Petry, an outsourcing expert who moved over from Wilson Sonsini with Adam Sak (resident in Silicon Valley) and Roberto Grande (New York). The trio helps companies evaluate RFPs, draw up contracts, and manage outsourced operations everywhere from India (a good locale if English speakers are needed) and Eastern Europe (good for global operations needing European-language skills), to Israel (experts in the telecom industry). The group sometimes teams with business consultants like EquaTerra, and Mark himself had a mini-career consulting with Accenture and SAP America before taking a late dive into the law. Though on weekends he likes to dive into the Chesapeake—sail on it anyway—with wife Amber and four-year-old daughter Clara, who already knows how to guide a dinghy.

Andrews Kurth
Tower Oaks
Kane Company
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