Oregon IP boutique firm Klarquist Sparkman is home to the biggest collection of IP lawyers in the Pacific Northwest region. Though Klarquist Sparkman handles matters for individual investors and mid-size companies, the firm also represents some of the globe’s largest industry leaders, such as Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Hewlett-Packard, General Electric, eBay, SAP, and ConAgra. The firm’s clients also include prominent federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as many prestigious universities.
Solo to Go-To
Klarquist Sparkman began as a solo practice when Elmer A. Buckhorn returned to his home state of Oregon in 1941 after a stint in Washington, DC. His first year as a solo practitioner raked in 10 cases, and he continued his solo streak until 1947, when Orme Cheatham joined. Four years later, 1951 marked the addition of the two partners whose names stuck with the firm: Kenneth S. Klarquist, a former employee of the Atomic Energy Commission’s patent department, and Joe Sparkman. The number of attorneys with the firm grew to five by the end of the 1950s and started the firm’s steady expansion which continues today.
Over the years, Klarquist Sparkman has racked up an impressive clientele. Gift basket makers Harry and David have been with the firm since 1956 and the Oregon University System has been a loyal client since 1977. The year 1991 was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Klarquist Sparkman and Microsoft, for whom the firm has prosecuted more than 350 patents. The 1990s continued to bring clients the firm’s way, with Nikon Corp. in 1993, the National Institutes of Health in 1997 and wrapping up with Amazon in 2000. In 2001, Klarquist Sparkman represented the defendant in the U.S. Supreme Court trade-dress case Leatherman Tool Group v. Cooper Industries, Inc. which established the review process for punitive damages.
Chambers ranks Klarquist Sparkman as a top-tier IP firm in Oregon and Corporate Counsel has ranked Klarquist Sparkman a “Go-To Law Firm” for five years in a row based upon the rankings of Fortune 500 company officials. And longtime client National Institutes of Health gives the firm a glowing recommendation, ranking it No. 1 out of the seven firms which provide it outside counsel. Six attorneys from Klarquist Sparkman were named 2017 Best Lawyers in America and three were singled out as 2016 Oregon Super Lawyers, with another making the list of Oregon Rising Stars. Additionally, U.S. News and Best Lawyers ranked Klarquist Sparkman among the Nation’s Top Law Firms for 2017.
NIH and CDC Allies
Klarquist Sparkman is one of only two firms chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its patent representation needs. The firm was first picked in 2000 for a seven-year contract, and it was renewed immediately upon its expiration. Klarquist Sparkman also serves as Patent Counsel to National Institutes of Health. Again, Klarquist Sparkman rose above the competition; it was one of eight firms chosen to prosecute patents for the organization and is the only one licensed to receive the NIH’s ten-year patent prosecution contracts in all of its three technical fields: biotechnology, chemistry and mechanical-electrical-software.
M.D.s, Ph.D.s and Green Thumbs
As if a J.D. weren’t enough anymore, more than a third of Klarquist Sparkman’s attorneys also hold Ph.D.s or M.D.s. Among them is the partner who heads the firm’s work with the National Institute of Health, Dr. William Noonan, who spends his time off from being a patent attorney as a physician.
Klarquist Sparkman’s biological expertise allows it to have one of the largest plant patent practices (say that three times fast) in the nation. In 2000, the firm filed more plant patents in the U.S. than any other firm, a number equal to those filed by the two runners-up combined, and it has patented invented species of hybrid tea rose, lily, oak tree, banana, cranberry and green garlic plants.
Bill Less Hours, Still Have it All
Klarquist Sparkman is known for its reluctance to sacrifice quantity of work for quality of life. The firm’s billable hours requirement is 1600 – less than the average 1800 – and encourages its associates to use that extra time to enrich their professional lives in other ways, by writing articles or attending conferences and to further personal pursuits. Associates can eventually choose their work/life balance based on a billing percentage system of 40 percent and still potentially earn more than their peers at metropolitan BigLaw firms. Sign us up.
IN THE NEWS
Klarquist Hearts SCOTUS
Klarquist filed an amici brief on behalf of four of the country’s most prominent financial services member organizations in TC Heartland LLC d/b/a Heartland Food Products Group v. Kraft Food Groups Brand LLC, a Supreme Court case involving patent venue law. Attempting to combat the multitudes of specious patent suits in the highly permissive Eastern District of Texas, Klarquist attorneys argued that broad venue and forum shopping have undermined the core public policy of the patent system.
Picking up the PTAB
Klarquist became a founding member of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board Bar Association, which is dedicated to the highest professional and ethical standards for those who appear in post-grant proceedings of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The firm has extensive experience challenging and defending patents before the PTAB, has filed numerous inter partes review and covered business method petitions, and maintains a blog on PTAB-related issues.
Klarquist client ETAP prevailed in a false advertising case where the defendant was found to have engaged in a three-year campaign of intentional, slanderous activity against the plaintiff. The award, $8.42M, was recognized as one of the top 50 highest jury verdicts in the state of California in 2016. It was also the highest verdict for a false advertising or Lanham Act claim.
Klarquist celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016. In those years, the firm has enjoyed a steady rise from the humble beginnings of founder Elmer Buckhorn and his first client’s patent application for a change making device. Today, Klarquist is a powerhouse IP firm protecting some of the most complex technologies ever pioneered by the most innovative organizations the world has ever known. Here’s to the next 75.
One World Trade Center
121 S.W. Salmon Street, Suite 1600
Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 1 (503) (503) 595-5300
Managing Partner: Joseph Jakubek
Hiring Attorney: Ramon Klitzke II
1st year: $105,000
Summer associate: $1,950/week (2L), $1,700/week (1L)
Agriculture & Food Science
Electrical & Semiconductors
Green Technology & Renewable Energy
Intellectual Property Counseling
Licensing & Technology Transfer
Life Sciences & Biotechnology
Medical Devices & Diagnostics
Mobile Devices & Applications
Outsourced “In-House” IP Counsel
Physics & Optics
Post-Grant USPTO Proceedings
Software & Internet Technology