April 16, 2012 6:08 PM

Nine IP Litigators Jump from Duane Morris to Cozen

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

Update, 4/17/12 4:34 p.m. EDT: The fourth paragraph of this story has been revised to include Duane Morris’s response to the departures.

Cozen O’Connor announced Monday that it has hired a group of Duane Morris patent litigators that includes seven partners and two associates.

The new partners include Chicago-based Richard Ruzich; Kerry McTigue, Barry Golob, Donald McPhail, and Blake Coblentz in Washington, D.C.; Joseph Bennett-Paris in Atlanta; and Ian Scott in New York.

The new arrivals to Cozen’s intellectual property group will focus on handling patent infringement matters on behalf of generic drug makers and consumer electronics companies. Ruzich told The Am Law Daily that the group made the move in order to find “a platform to better service our existing clients.”

Duane Morris spokesman Joshua Peck said the firm had no comment other than to wish the lawyers well in their future endeavors.  Factoring in the losses, Duane Morris has some 80 IP attorneys.

The hires represent Cozen’s latest move to bolster its IP litigation practice. Last year, the firm hired a 19-lawyer team from New York IP litigation boutique Cohen Pontani Lieberman Pavane. 

Cozen’s chief executive, Thomas “Tad” Decker, told The Am Law Daily that his firm—which worked with an unidentified recruiter to engineer the group lateral hire—was introduced to the Duane Morris lawyers several months ago.

“When [the Duane Morris group] became available, it was, sort of, right in our sweet spot, [for] our strategic planning purposes,” says Decker, adding that Cozen was not the lone suitor. “I believe we were in competition with a few other firms. We spent a lot of time with them, and I think we persuaded them that our practices and our culture was something they would enjoy being a part of.”

McTigue cochaired Duane Morris’s Hatch-Waxman IP practice group, while Ruzich, a former U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney, has handled patent infringement cases for such clients as Canadian generic drug maker Apotex and Novartis’s Sandoz subsidiary.

Decker expects the group to bring along some clients, though he declined to discuss any specifics.

With the additions, Cozen now has 42 IP attorneys in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. According to Decker, the firm plans to expand in other practice areas as well, including energy, real estate, labor and employment, and commercial litigation.

Cozen, a firm of more than 500 lawyers, saw its gross revenue rise 6 percent to $294 million in 2011 after enduring a 4.5 percent dip in 2010, according to Am Law Daily sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer‘s reporting of the firm’s Am Law 100 numbers.

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