Press Release

Morgan Lewis Boosts US Disputes Capabilities with 7-Partner Life Sciences, Tech IP Team

Monday, July 30, 2018

CHICAGO, July 30, 2018: Morgan Lewis today welcomes a seven-partner intellectual property (IP) litigation team that enhances the firm’s trial and appellate capabilities, particularly in the life sciences and technology industries. Five of the new partners—Jeff Gargano, Krista Vink Venegas, Shon Lo, Hersh Mehta, and Kevin Shortsle—will be resident in Chicago; Natalie Bennett will be resident in Washington, DC; and Brent Hawkins will be resident in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. All arrive from another global law firm, along with several associates.

This team of seasoned trial lawyers has experience litigating patent disputes for companies in the life sciences industry, deepening an already strong and broad industry focus for Morgan Lewis. In particular, the new partners have litigated disputes for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical devices companies, including Hatch-Waxman Act cases. They have tried cases in numerous US federal courts, as well as before bodies such as the US Patent and Trademark Office and International Trade Commission (ITC). All have engineering or scientific backgrounds.

“This new team is a tremendous addition to our firm and our practice, significantly deepening our patent litigation and trial bench and expanding our capabilities to serve pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device clients as they safeguard their critical innovations,” said Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “Our new partners provide clients seamless cross-country access to our firm’s resources as they collaborate with our thriving IP teams in Chicago, Northern California, Washington, DC, Boston, and Philadelphia.”

The addition of five partners in Chicago is the latest example of the considerable growth the office has experienced in the last few years, including the addition of a six-partner tax team. That expansion was preceded by the arrival of four IP partners. The office in recent years also has seen the arrival of new litigation and employee benefits partners. Including today’s new partners, the Chicago office has grown by more than 70% since early 2016, providing regional and global clients with advice on a broad range of services.

“With today’s arrival of our new partners, we have significantly enhanced our patent litigation and trial practices, and have added scientific and technical strength, particularly in life sciences,” said Eric Kraeutler, who leads Morgan Lewis’s IP practice. “Our new colleagues have the same dedication to exceptional client service, teamwork, and collaboration that are the hallmarks of our practice.”

Infographic - Datasource Item: IP Lateral Collage

Top, from left to right: Brent Hawkins, Krista Vink Venegas, Jeffrey Gargano, Natalie Bennett; Bottom, from left to right: Hersh Mehta, Wan-Shon Lo, Kevin Shortsle

More about the new Morgan Lewis IP partners:

Jeff Gargano focuses on litigating IP disputes in US federal courts and before the ITC. He counsels clients on overall IP strategy and litigation avoidance. He has litigated cases involving myriad IP law issues, including domestic and foreign patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, false advertising, and unfair competition. Additionally, he helps clients navigate the regulatory, patent, and antitrust issues unique to pharmaceutical litigation arising under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Mr. Gargano has a special interest in counseling Chinese companies looking to enter US markets on all aspects of US intellectual property and competition laws, and has lectured in China on all aspects of US intellectual property law. He is a registered patent lawyer with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering.

Krista Vink Venegas represents life sciences companies in jury and bench trials for complex patent litigation involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals, food science, dental products, and other technologies. She also has performed numerous IP due diligence analyses in the context of life sciences portfolio acquisitions and corporate mergers, as well as counseled clients on life sciences IP assets. Ms. Venegas, who holds a Ph.D. in cell biology and neurobiology, earlier conducted gene therapy research at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, Department of Neurobiology. With her arrival, the firm now counts 40 Ph.D. recipients in its IP practice.

Shon Lo focuses on patent and trademark litigation, with a concentration on Hatch-Waxman matters. Her trial background includes patent, trademark, and copyright infringement actions. In addition, Ms. Lo conducts patent and trademark opinion work, counseling, and prosecution for clients in industries such as biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, high-tech, entertainment, food products, consumer products, and household fixtures. She has a master’s degree in neurobiology and has co-authored several scientific articles.

Hersh Mehta litigates IP cases throughout the United States, representing clients before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the ITC, and federal district courts in California, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, and Wisconsin. He assists emerging businesses by helping them navigate a wide range of business and legal issues, including licensing, developing, and leveraging intellectual property; forming strategic alliances; and assisting with corporate matters. He defends and counsels clients in matters involving declared standard-essential patents and fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) issues. Mr. Mehta is a registered patent attorney with an electrical engineering background.

Kevin Shortsle concentrates his litigation practice on difficult pharmaceutical, chemical, and medical device technologies, with additional focus on broader IP litigation, patent prosecution, and counseling. He helps clients navigate all aspects of patent litigation, from pre-filing investigations through trial and appeal. Mr. Shortsle also advises clients and prepares opinions concerning patentability of inventions, validity of patents, and freedom-to-operate of pharmaceutical, chemical, surgical device, medical device, and food and beverage products and technologies. He also conducts due diligence assessments to support mergers and acquisitions and prepares licensing agreements for life sciences clients.

Natalie Bennett concentrates on patent infringement and trade secrets litigation in a wide range of technologies, including computer networking products, semiconductor chips, mobile handsets, and pharmaceuticals. Ms. Bennett once clerked for judges serving on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, two patent litigation hot spots. With an extensive background in preparing briefs and pleadings, she has successfully argued before the Federal Circuit and in district courts around the country, including major defense wins for clients accused of patent infringement in the Eastern District of Texas.

Brent Hawkins focuses on IP litigation, counseling, and procurement. His practice encompasses a wide range of technologies, including computer networking, consumer electronics, software, mechanical devices, and pharmaceutical products. In addition, he utilizes his engineering background to prosecute patent applications in the mechanical, electro-mechanical, and software arts. Mr. Hawkins has served as lead counsel in numerous patent, trademark, trade dress, unfair competition, and copyright matters, representing clients in jurisdictions throughout the United States.