Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP is bringing its elite antitrust and intellectual property boutique to the West Coast. The firm today announced that it has opened an office in San Francisco, closer to foundational clients in the technology and science sectors, including Google, McKesson and Silver Lake Partners. Antitrust partner Daniel Bitton and IP partner Jason Murata will lead the new Bay Area office, which the firm plans to grow aggressively.
Axinn’s arrival in the Bay Area represents an expansion of the firm’s physical footprint to match its national reputation as a premier antitrust and IP boutique. That reputation, built over the last 20 years from its established offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and Hartford, translates seamlessly to Northern California, the U.S. epicenter of technological and scientific innovation, where demand for antitrust and IP legal services is incredibly strong.
"As technological and scientific innovators develop revolutionary new platforms, products and services, their ability to innovate and grow depends, in part, on the management of their IP rights and competition issues," said Matthew Becker, Axinn’s managing partner. "Given our record of success advising innovative companies, our focused litigation and transactional experience, and our growing roster of California-based clients, the time was right for us to plant a flag on the West Coast."
Axinn’s antitrust practice is one of the largest and most experienced in the world, having obtained antitrust clearance for nearly half a trillion dollars in deals, serving as lead or co-lead counsel on dozens of high-stakes antitrust litigation matters, and defending companies and individuals in criminal antitrust investigations. Bitton, who will lead the antitrust practice in San Francisco, has counseled numerous clients in antitrust litigation, including cartel cases, and co-led the global effort to secure clearance of Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC, the largest tech deal ever. He also has advised Google on litigation, government investigations, and major transactions, including the $700 million acquisition of ITA software and the $2.35 billion sale of its Motorola Home division. For the San Francisco-based McKesson, a Fortune 5 health care company, Bitton led a successful effort to secure Department of Justice’s clearance of its $3.4 billion joint venture with Change Healthcare.
"We are proud to be the only antitrust practice of our kind to handle such a high volume of deals and litigations with such consistent success," said John Harkrider, co-chair of Axinn’s antitrust practice. "Given the high demand for our services, particularly in the technology and life sciences industries, we are optimistic about the possibilities that a West Coast presence opens for our firm as well as our clients."
A core element of Axinn’s California growth strategy will be attracting outstanding legal and business talent to its San Francisco office and strategically scaling its ability to serve West Coast clients.
"The Northern California recruiting landscape is among the most fertile in the country, and we know that attracting top clients and top talent go hand-in-hand,” Bitton said. “That will be a focus from the outset."
On the IP side, Murata will lead the San Francisco extension of a practice with a deep bench of trial lawyers. Axinn has served as lead patent litigation and FDA counsel for many of the world’s leading companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Unilever and Momenta Pharmaceuticals. It also has significant depth litigating and trying patent cases in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostics, biologics and consumer products industries. Axinn boasts many of the nation’s foremost litigators and counselors on issues surrounding the development and marketing of new and generic drug products, biosimilars, human tissue products and adult-stem-cell-based therapies.
"Our IP practice has an extensive record of successfully litigating high-stakes patent cases and trying them to verdict, which is rare for a boutique firm of our size,” Becker said. “We are also well-positioned to handle matters of all kinds—transactional, regulatory and litigation—at the increasingly busy intersection of antitrust and intellectual property law."