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August 8, 2011
Foster Pepper Builds Intellectual Property Practice by Adding Six Leading Attorneys from Top IP Law Firm Black Lowe & Graham

August 8, 2011 – In a major move impacting the intellectual property law landscape in Seattle, Foster Pepper PLLC, one of the Northwest’s leading law firms, today announced the addition of six intellectual property attorneys. The group is led by Richard T. Black, the founder and name partner at Black Lowe & Graham PLLC (BLG), one of the highest-ranked Chambers USA® intellectual property boutiques in the Pacific Northwest.

Black will be joined by five of his BLG partners, all of whom have practiced complex intellectual property law for clients ranging in size from startups to Fortune 100® corporations: Joel B. Ard, P.G. Scott Born, Douglas A. Grady, Richard A. Koske, and Richard C. Vershave.

The move allows Foster Pepper to meet the increasingly complex demands of Seattle’s sophisticated technology community and is a big step toward Foster Pepper’s goal of becoming the leading full-service intellectual property and technology law firm in the Pacific Northwest. The team has deep and broad domestic and international experience in patent and technology legal issues, including patent prosecution, patent litigation, global IP portfolio management, patent licensing and technology transfer agreements, and related patent and intellectual property services.

“We have been looking to add a strong patent team to our Intellectual Property group – especially a team with deep ties to the tech and venture communities. This addition will enable us to better serve the needs of our expanding business and litigation groups,” said Robert Kunold, Jr., Chair of Foster Pepper’s Executive Committee. “This new group of attorneys is exactly what we have been looking for – smart lawyers with great clients and broad skills in IP transactional and litigation matters.”

For Richard Black and his group, the move represents a win-win for clients as well. “We were courted by many Seattle law firms, but it quickly became clear that Foster Pepper was highly committed both to us and to our clients and has the breadth of capabilities our clients need,” Black said. “By joining Foster Pepper, we will be able to continue providing clients with the highest quality work at rates that have made us extremely competitive in larger markets. We get the best of both worlds – smaller firm culture and collegiality coupled with a national business practice that provides more big cases and transactions, and a corporate client-base.”

In recent years, Foster Pepper’s business practices have grown dramatically, with nationally recognized practices representing some of the country’s largest pension funds and handling sophisticated financing, M&A transactions and litigation for companies in the private equity, real estate and venture capital industries. Rafael Stone, one of the country’s top pension fund attorneys and member of the Foster Pepper Executive Committee, notes “our recent growth demonstrates the strength of our existing team and the addition of attorneys from BLG allows us to expand our relationships with our private equity and venture capital clients, as well as long-time national clients of the firm.”

Foster Pepper’s client portfolio includes Costco, Vulcan, REI, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Marlin Equity Partners, Bay Grove Capital and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

“Seattle continues to develop some of the country’s most creative and innovative companies. These companies – from start-ups emerging from university tech transfer programs to governmental entities to multi-billion dollar corporations with extensive intellectual property portfolios – are faced with an increasingly complex legal landscape,” said Black. “By joining Foster Pepper, we now have resources that a boutique infrastructure simply couldn’t provide.”

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About the Attorneys

Richard Black: Richard Black is a registered patent attorney. His intellectual property practice embraces all aspects of U.S. and international patent, trademark and copyright preparation, prosecution, litigation, licensing and counseling in diverse fields of technology, including medical devices, robotics, Internet, electronic commerce, software, telecommunications, healthcare, civil engineering, green energy, and construction. With a particular emphasis on intellectual property due diligence audits, strategic intellectual property portfolio development and management, software licensing, and technology transfer, Richard has represented clients of all sizes, from individual inventors and start-up companies to multi-billion dollar companies, and in hundreds of intellectual property related transactions and disputes. With over two decades of experience, Richard is knowledgeable in all aspects of USPTO proceedings, especially post-issuance proceedings, including both ex parte and inter partes reexaminations, many taking place concurrently with complex litigation. He is highly skilled in the strategic and tactical use of reexamination to help clients avoid the high cost of patent litigation. He is also experienced in using patent post-grant procedures as a means for correcting latent defects in issued patents to prepare them for superior enforcement. In addition to his litigation and re-examination practice, Richard counsels a variety of international and domestic clients on U.S. intellectual property law including providing clearance, enforceability, infringement and validity opinions. His licensing experience includes university/industry collaboration, patent licensing programs, and joint ventures.

Joel Ard: Joel Ard’s litigation practice focuses on the defense and enforcement of patent infringement claims as well as disputes over trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property. A registered patent attorney, he focuses on post-grant practice before the Patent Office, particularly inter partes re-examination conducted in parallel with patent infringement litigation. He works closely with trial teams preparing patent portfolios for assertive litigation through rigorous “pre-examination” claim validity review and owner-directed re-examination and correction.

Scott Born: Scott Born is a registered patent attorney whose practice focuses on patent portfolio development, management and litigation support. He handles matters involving a wide variety of technology areas including consumer electronics, avionics, telecommunications, software, and aerospace/mechanical systems. He also has extensive experience in developing and negotiating license agreements involving software and other proprietary technologies.

Doug Grady: Doug Grady litigates patents and other intellectual property in federal courts and tribunals in the United States and internationally, including a perfect record before the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). He has served as trial counsel in multiple intellectual property trials, including a notable full defense jury verdict of patent non-infringement representing a ‘Fortune 50’ corporation, and a rare bench trial before the Honorable Richard A. Posner. Grady has experience in a myriad of technologies, including electronics, software, wireless, and bio-medical; he was honored as one of the top 2.5% of Washington Super Lawyers® under 40 years old in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Richard Koske: Rick Koske served as in-house IP and general counsel to multiple Fortune 1000 companies, and has particular experience in advising business executives on their increasingly complicated intellectual property issues. This unique experience extends to providing due diligence counsel on mergers & acquisitions, on both the buyer and seller’s side. He is a registered patent attorney, with a EE background, whose practice includes the protection and assertion of intellectual property, including U.S. and foreign patents, trademarks and trade dress, and copyrights, with an emphasis on the strategic development and management of intellectual property portfolios of mid- and large-cap companies.

Richard Vershave: Richard Vershave is a registered patent attorney with a practice focused on a variety of technologies such as powered vehicles, air and space systems and structures, reinforced composites, computer hardware, sensors and control systems, sports and recreational gear, medical devices and business methods.