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McKool Smith, one of America’s leading trial firms, has announced that veteran intellectual property litigator, William “Bill” LaFuze, has joined the firm as a principal with a dual assignment in its Houston and Washington D.C. offices. Prior to joining McKool Smith, Mr. LaFuze was a partner in the intellectual property practice group at Vinson & Elkins where he had been the firm-wide IP practice group leader or co-leader for many years.

Mr. LaFuze’s practice has been directed to a broad range of intellectual property law issues, with a particular focus on patent litigation in the smartphone, computer, electronics, oilfield equipment, telecommunications, and internet-related fields.  He has represented clients in many district courts throughout the United States and in cases appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. Mr. LaFuze has also served as arbitrator in many intellectual property cases, and has substantial experience in IP strategic counseling and licensing. 

Over the years, Mr. LaFuze has handled litigation of substantial commercial import for numerous companies, including Chesapeake Energy Company, Motorola Corporation, the Coca-Cola system and its bottlers, Halliburton,  Harley-Davidson, Fina Oil and Gas, Mostek Corporation, Compaq Computer Corporation, Western Container Corporation, Cooper Industries, Weatherford International, First Gibraltar Bank, the Baylor College of Medicine, The Methodist Hospital (Houston), and Baker-Hughes (through its predecessors in interest).

Mr. LaFuze currently serves as an officer of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Intellectual Property Law and is a delegate from that section to the ABA House of Delegates. Over the years, he has led many national and regional professional associations, including serving as the President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and Chair of the Section on Intellectual Property Law of the ABA. He has testified several times in hearings before Congressional Committees and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with regard to patent law reform issues.

Mr. LaFuze was selected as one of only two IP lawyers in the country to advise the Bush/Cheney administration through its Presidential Transition Team to counsel the then new administration on patent policy, the operation of the USPTO, and patent reform issues. By appointment of the U. S. Secretary of Commerce, he later served on the Patent Public Advisory Committee of the USPTO.

“Bill’s reputation as one of the best patent litigators in the country is certainly well-deserved,” said Mike McKool, a Founder and Chairman of McKool Smith. “I have always admired him and his abilities, and have no doubt that he will make an excellent addition to the firm. I’m looking forward to working and trying cases with him. Our clients will certainly benefit from his skills and expertise.”

“When you think about the preeminent patent litigation practices in the country, McKool Smith is obviously one of the firms that quickly come to mind,” said Mr. LaFuze. “Many trial firms are centered upon one prominent lawyer whose sole reputation supports the firm’s brand. McKool Smith is different. I was intrigued by the opportunity to work closely with so many truly superb trial lawyers, particularly patent trial lawyers, many of whom I have known and respected for a very long time. I believe the firm’s deep bench of first-chair trial lawyers is what truly distinguishes McKool Smith from others. Add to that the firm’s stellar reputation for winning massive patent infringement verdicts and defending industry leading companies in important cases of high commercial value, and you have the makings of a true patent litigation powerhouse.”

McKool Smith’s courtroom track record in patent litigation is unrivaled. In January, the firm was awarded “IP Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation. Last year, the firm was named an “IP Group of the Year” by Law360 based on the significance, size, and complexity of its intellectual property litigation wins. The firm was also named the 2014 U.S. “Plaintiff IP Firm of the Year” by Managing IP. Over the last eight years, McKool Smith has secured eight nine-figure patent infringement verdicts -- more than any other law firm. These victories include wins on behalf of ParkerVision ($173M); VirnetX ($368M); Versata ($345M); i4i ($200M); Versata ($138M); VirnetX ($106M); Medtronic ($250M); and TGIP, Inc. ($156M). Within the same time period, the firm also won six eight-figure patent infringement verdicts, including wins on behalf of  Droplets ($15M); Summit 6 ($15M); Ericsson ($10M); Opti, Inc. ($19M); Pioneer Corp. ($59M); and Anascape Ltd. ($21M). Moreover, McKool Smith has represented a balance of patentees and accused infringers in its patent cases, and has achieved significant successful outcomes for defendants in patent cases as well.

With more than 180 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. The firm has won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last eight years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents leading clients in intellectual property, complex commercial litigation, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.

For additional information, please contact Michael R. Coston at 212-402-9450 or mcoston@mckoolsmith.com.

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