An influential player in the development of
American intellectual property law, Fish & Richardson has
evolved with the inventions of its clients: from the days of the
Industrial Revolution through the dot-com boom (and subsequent
subprime-propelled economic bust), the firm has remained a leader
in patent law while adding a slew of other practice areas as the
years have rolled by.
Founded in Boston in 1878, Fish &
Richardson's early days were marked by its representation of giants
of American innovation. The firm spent some of its first years
advising the likes of Alexander Graham Bell and, later, Thomas
Edison and the Wright Brothers. Fish & Richardson played
integral roles in the acquisition and defense of patents for such
seminal concepts as the telephone, the radio, the automobile and
the steam turbine.
Name partner and firm founder Frederick P.
Fish went into business with former U.S. Senator Bainbridge
Wadleigh of New Hampshire, forming a firm called Wadleigh &
Fish. Laying the firm's IP foundation, Fish-who also served as
president of AT&T in the early 1900s-not only represented
Alexander Graham Bell in over 600 patent cases but also argued his
fair share of patent cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. William
K. Richardson, who went on to have his name added to the
stationery, joined Fish in 1889. A few years later the firm opened
a branch office in New York.
Frederick Fish died in 1930-at the time of his
death, it was reported that he had appeared in more Supreme Court
patent cases than did any other lawyer to date. Richardson passed
away two decades later in 1951. In 1969, the firm's New York office
spun off, and the Boston headquarters took the moniker Fish &
Through the 1970s and 1980s, Fish continued to
lead the way in patent law, helping clients like Bose to patent
acoustic equipment and delving into medical sciences work. But the
address remained Boston: by the late 1980s, the firm still had just
That didn't last for long, however. Fish
opened its DC office in 1989, followed by an office in Silicon
Valley in 1993, the better to handle patent matters for major tech
companies like Adobe Systems.
The rest of the 1990s into the 21st century
brought continued growth for the firm, with offices in Delaware,
Georgia, Minnesota, New York, Southern California and Texas
sprouting up. Its first international location in Munich, Germany
opened in 2007.
Fish's focus remains tight to this day. It
sticks to what it knows best-intellectual property strategy and
counseling, intellectual property litigation and business
litigation-but its breadth is reflected in the list of industries
it serves. The firm handles IP matters for clients in over a dozen
industries, including academic research, transportation, energy,
clean tech, consumer products, financial services, aerospace and
defense, new media, manufacturing, telecommunications and more. As
a result, its client list covers companies as diverse as Calvin
Klein, Microsoft, Boston Scientific, Bank of America and Carnegie
Expanding its expertise, Fish has continued to
grow its commercial litigation practice-and it's no wonder, the
firm's commercial litigation group goes hand in hand with the
firm's intellectual property litigation practice. The two are
related, in that the knowledge and experience that come from a long
history of IP work gives Fish an advantage in trying intricate,
complex, high-profile and high-stakes commercial cases. The firm
has been significantly involved in the three largest litigations-in
terms of amount in controversy-in U.S. history: Enron, WorldCom and
the 9/11 litigation. The firm has also represented clients such as
Mark Cuban, businessman and owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks,
and video game legend and space tourist Richard Garriott.
Fish was involved in the most Patent Trial and
Appeal Board petitions filed in 2014 on behalf of petitioners, with
94. In addition, Managing IP also ranked the leading
PTAB law firms for the first time in the annual "IP Stars" survey,
and Fish received a "Tier 1" ranking for PTAB litigation.
Fish was named the No. 1 firm at the
International Trade Commission (ITC), with the most cases filed in
2014 according to The National Law Journal. Fish handles
more ITC patent litigation-about 15 percent of all active patent
cases at the ITC each year-than any other law firm.
Fish was named a top trademark law firm for
the fifth consecutive year by World Trademark Review
1000, a guide to "the world's leading trademark legal
services providers." WTR noted that, "Fish &
Richardson is a formidable force nationally" and is "in a league of
its own" for its "keen awareness of the commercial issues at play
in trademark disputes."
For four straight years, Fish has swept the
national top "Tier 1" rankings across the entire spectrum of IP
law, and the firm won the coveted "Law Firm of the Year"
designation in U.S. News & Best Lawyers® 2015 "Best Law Firms"
Fish was named the No. 1 patent litigation
firm in the country for the eleventh year in a row by Corporate
Counsel magazine. The annual Corporate
found that Fish handled a total of 200 patent cases in
2013-nearly twice as many cases as its nearest competitor.
Fish was ranked in the top 15 percent of law
firms for diversity, according to the "2014 American Lawyer (Am
Law) Diversity Scorecard." Fish was ranked 33 out of 223
firms, based on the number of minorities in its offices.