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Shearman & Sterling has raided leading Los Angeles intellectual property (IP) boutique Fish & Neave for the second time in six months.
Top litigator and Palo Alto senior partner Edward Mullowney is joining Shearmans' Menlo Park office as a partner. Last October, fellow Fish & Neave partner and biotech and IP expert Vicki Veenker also quit for Shearmans' Menlo Park office.
Mullowney's appointment will come as blow to Fish & Neave. Mullowney joined the firm in 1971, becoming a partner in 1980. In 1992 he set up its Palo Alto office, and between 1995 and 2000 he served on the firm's management committee.
The appointments of Mullowney and Veenker are part of a concentrated effort by Shearmans to develop a full-service IP practice.
Senior partner Stephen Volk says: "The need for patent and IP expertise will continue to increase as the world economy becomes more technology-driven, and as clients find themselves confronted with growing IP issues."
Mullowney has acted on a host of significant IP cases. Clients include Amersham Pharmacia Biotech, Becton Dickinson and General Electric. It is not known if he will take clients with him.
Fish & Neave, which has 47 partners and an office in New York, is one of Silicon Valley's leading IP specialists.
Founded more than 100 years ago, some of its first cases were defending Alexander Graham Bell's patents. In more recent times it has worked on such high-profile cases as Xerox v IBM and Polaroid v Eastman Kodak.
Big-hitting Wall Street firm Shearmans has had West Coast operations since 1979, when it established an office in San Francisco. It went on to open in Menlo Park in 1998.