Susman Godfrey has been recognized by Managing IP, one of the leading sources of news and analysis on all intellectual property developments worldwide, as having a “milestone case of the year” for its efforts on In re: Queen’s University at Kingston et al. The firm is one of only three recipients nationwide to receive this prestigious honor which goes to the top IP practitioners from across the North American intellectual property community.
In the awarded case, a high stakes patent infringement matter, Susman Godfrey represented Queen’s University, securing a first-of-its-kind ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that upheld privilege for patent agents and their clients. In a decision issued March 7, 2016, the Court held that privilege should extend to communications between U.S. patent applicants and their non-attorney patent agents regarding activities before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The case was closely watched by the patent bar because Susman Godfrey appealed a lower court ruling ordering the production of documents the firm felt were protected by patent-agent privilege. Previously, no circuit court had ever addressed the issue, and district courts had been divided. “The ruling is not only important to our client, but to all patent agents and their clients,” said Ian Crosby, Susman Godfrey Seattle partner and lead attorney for Queen’s University in the case.
“It’s an honor to have helped establish such important precedent,” said Susman Godfrey Houston associate Shawn Blackburn, a former Federal Circuit clerk, who argued the case before the Federal Circuit (read more about that argument here). In addition to Crosby and Blackburn, Queen’s University is represented by New York partner, Bill Carmody and Washington partner Rachel Black. All are recipients of this award.