Best Lawyers 2019: Intellectual Property

by Chris Outcalt

Local attorneys on this year’s Best Lawyers list discuss Denver’s thriving IP market

“It’s really an exciting time to be an IP litigator,” said Timothy Getzoff, partner at Holland & Hart.

One of several Denver-based IP lawyers named to this year’s Best Lawyers in America list, Getzoff has been at Holland & Hart for 22 years and has worked in the intellectual property field for most of that time. He’s handled more than 150 IP cases in federal district and appeals courts all over the country. “I like IP work because it’s very challenging from an intellectual level, especially the patent stuff,” Getzoff said. “But it’s not as personal as, say, employment law.”

Whether it’s related to copyright challenges or branding issues, Getzoff said technological changes during the past 15 to 20 years have made IP law a dynamic field. Getzoff said Holland & Hart has put together a tight-knit group that’s fun to work with. “I really enjoy working with them,” he said.

“One thing that’s helped us at the firm is that Holland & Hart has really prided itself on a collaborative team-based approach,” Getzoff said. “That’s eliminated a lot of sharp elbows or turf wars — when new work comes in we’re thinking about what’s the best staffing at the partnership and associate level that makes sense for the case.”

Several IP lawyers noted that a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group has changed the way patent law is practiced. Prior to the Heartland decision, attorneys had leeway to bring patent cases in various venues across the country. That often meant finding a court they thought might be most favorable to their client. For years, that venue was the Eastern District of Texas, which handled far more patent lawsuits than any other venue in the country. But the 2017 Heartland decision, an 8-0 ruling by the court (Gorsuch had yet to be seated), said that these patent infringement cases had to be filed where a company “resides.”

“There was an immediate impact that had the effect of reducing filings dramatically,” Getzoff said.

Robert Brunelli, shareholder at Sheridan Ross, who chairs the firm’s litigation practice and has handled hundreds of intellectual property actions, said the Heartland decision has brought more activity to Colorado. “If they’re a domestic company, you have to sue them where they have a brick and mortar physical presence,” said Brunelli, who has practiced in the field for almost 30 years and was recognized on this year’s Best Lawyers list.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the September 10, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.

The entire Best Lawyers 2019 list is also available online.