Vinson & Elkins continues to enhance its global Intellectual Property practice with the addition of five highly regarded partners in Austin and Dallas who have a broad range of patent, copyright, trademark, trade secrets and complex commercial litigation experience. The new partners arrive on the heels of the hiring of two IP partners on the West Coast and the recent opening of the firm’s Taipei office.

Fred Williams, Michael Simons, Todd Landis and Eric Klein have joined V&E from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Craig Tyler has joined the firm from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC. Williams and Tyler both started their careers at V&E more than 20 years ago.

“Having a vibrant intellectual property group with a national representation that is integrated with the rest of the firm has been a real focus of ours,” said V&E Chairman Mark Kelly. “Attracting these five accomplished lawyers, when added with our other recent additions on the West Coast, is a big milestone and will position us well for the future. These strong partner additions confirm our commitment to the Austin market and bolster our Dallas IP practice.”

The new partners join V&E’s global IP practice, which spans eight offices and includes a deep bench of trial lawyers who have successfully litigated a wide range of complex disputes. They will also support the firm’s broader litigation practice, which includes more than 250 lawyers worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Fred and Craig have come back to V&E and are being joined by Michael, Todd and Eric, all of whom are leading IP litigators,” said V&E Global Litigation Head Jim Thompson. “V&E is committed to maintaining an elite litigation practice in Texas and throughout the world, and the addition of these partners underscores our dedication to that effort.”

Williams, who served as deputy group leader of Akin Gump’s global IP practice, will reside in V&E’s Austin office. He is being joined by Simons, who previously served as partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Austin office, and Tyler. Landis and Klein will reside in V&E’s Dallas office.

“Returning to V&E presents a unique opportunity to reconnect with my roots and to be a part of the firm’s ongoing efforts to expand its IP practice nationally and internationally,” said Williams. “I am excited to be joining V&E’s exceptional litigation team and starting the next chapter of my career.”

The partners focus their individual practices on a wide range of intellectual property disputes and commercial litigation and represent a number of name brand clients across a broad spectrum of industry, including the personal computer, telecommunications, LCD, software, Internet, semiconductor, medical device, gaming, e-learning, and energy sectors.

“Our newest partners are an incredibly welcome addition to V&E’s growing IP practice,” said Hilary Preston, co-head of V&E’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. “Fred, Craig, Michael, Todd and Eric are outstanding trial lawyers who will enhance the firm’s presence in Texas and strengthen our global IP profile.”

The group’s arrival follows V&E’s opening of a new office in Taipei focused on serving the U.S. intellectual property and commercial litigation needs of over 40 Taiwanese companies, introduced to the firm through the addition of partners Chris Kao and David Tsai, who were attracted to V&E’s IP practice in San Francisco and Palo Alto last September. They joined partner Darryl Woo, who previously had chaired the Litigation and Patent Litigation Groups of Fenwick & West. Woo now co-chairs V&E’s IP Group along with Preston.

“I am so excited about returning to V&E—the firm has an outstanding reputation and an impressive global IP platform, which is a strong fit for my practice,” said Tyler. “The firm is clearly committed to growing a robust IP presence in Austin and around the world and I am looking forward to contributing to that vision.”

Below is a brief overview of each new partner’s practice.

Fred I. Williams focuses his practice on complex litigation and counseling, with emphasis on intellectual property, antitrust, and class action disputes. The majority of his work is devoted to representing industry-leading companies in cases involving patent infringement, trade secret, competition, trade regulation and consumer protection claims. Williams prepares and tries cases to judges and juries across the country, having represented clients in 28 different states and the District of Columbia. He has extensive experience in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and in representing technology companies and financial institutions nationwide. Williams also maintains an active pro bono practice focused on civil rights and consumer-protection litigation.

M. Craig Tyler has litigated more than 140 patent infringement cases in federal courts throughout the country. Tyler also provides guidance, counseling and coordination of patent enforcement and patent defense efforts throughout the world, having assisted clients with patent-related issues in Japan, Taiwan, China, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, France, Australia and Canada. Tyler also has extensive experience with misappropriation of trade secrets, trade dress, trademark infringement, Lanham Act, copyright infringement and unfair competition claims. He is particularly experienced in ex-parte/emergency proceedings for temporary and preliminary injunctions involving IP and breach of contract issues in both federal and state courts in Texas and other states. An accomplished appellate lawyer, Tyler has handled appeals before the Federal Circuit and the Fifth Circuit. He has also handled AAA and JAMS arbitration proceedings, and has prosecuted patent and trademark applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office.

Todd Eric Landis practices intellectual property litigation in the electronic arts, chemical arts and oil field services. An experience trial lawyer, Landis has served as lead counsel in dozens of intellectual property matters and has significant jury and Markman hearing experience. He has represented companies as both plaintiff and defendant in patent litigation. Landis also has extensive experience in transactional aspects of intellectual property law, including complex licensing negotiations.

Michael Simons is an experienced trial lawyer with first-chair experience in complex litigation cases. Simons practice focuses on patent infringement, trade secret, breach of contract, fraud, copyright, trademark and trade dress cases principally in the areas of medical devices, disruptive internet technology and financial services. Simons has tried IP jury cases as both plaintiff and defendant, including a significant trade secret verdict in the Eastern District of Texas that was affirmed by the Federal Circuit in the past few months. Prior to joining V&E, Simons served as the partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Austin office. Simons was named one of Law360’s top intellectual property attorneys under 40 to watch in 2011.

Eric Joseph Klein’s trial practice focuses on intellectual property matters, with a particular emphasis on patent litigation. Klein has a broad background in engineering and extensive experience building cases in highly technical subject matter areas. His practice encompasses all aspects of case preparation, discovery, expert preparation, claim construction, trial preparation and trial. Klein’s technical experience spans a variety of fields, including computer hardware and software, Internet-related technologies, cell phone technologies, computer and data networking, wireless communications and semiconductors. In particular, he has litigated numerous cases involving telecommunications technologies and standards, such as Wi-Fi (802.11), WiMAX (802.16), CDMA, UMTS (3G), LTE (4G), GSM and Bluetooth. Klein is also one of the world’s foremost legal authorities on the invention of the touchscreen computer.

V&E has an established record of success obtaining, protecting, defending and enforcing clients’ intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, trade dress, trade secrets and copyrights. The firm’s lawyers have successfully litigated patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret cases in state and federal district courts throughout the United States and have obtained highly favorable results for V&E’s clients at the U.S. International Trade Commission and in a variety of appellate courts, including the Federal Circuit.

With more than 250 trial and regulatory lawyers located in offices across the globe, V&E’s Litigation Department has experience litigating major disputes covering multiple jurisdictions and devising innovative methods to resolve those disputes. Recognized as an “awesome opponent” in litigation by BTI’s Litigation Outlook 2016, the team’s seasoned attorneys have substantial experience in jury and bench trials in the federal and state courts when litigation is necessary, as well as before administrative agencies and in arbitration.


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