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‘Firing on all cylinders’: Freshfields appoints Paul Weiss lawyer to head US IP team

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringerhas appointed Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrisonlawyer Menachem Kaplan (pictured) as its first partner to head up the firm’s intellectual property (IP) capabilities in the US.

Kaplan joins Freshfields today (24 July) as the firm’s first IP partner to be based in New York. He joins Freshfield’s international IP offering led by three existing IP partners elsewhere – Avril Martindale and Giles Pratt in London and Frank-Erich Hufnagel in Dusseldorf.

His practice focuses on IP, with an emphasis on licensing, joint ventures, emerging technologies and settlements.

An experienced patent lawyer, Kaplan has worked for the last 11 years at Paul Weiss, his latest role as a counsel in the firm’s corporate department. Previously he was a foreign associate in Argentinian firm Marval, O’Farrell & Mairal in Buenos Aires for a year.

Kaplan’s key mandates include the Nortel bankruptcy and the sale of the Nortel patent to Rockstar Consortium in 2011, where he represented the buyers, including Ericsson and Microsoft. He also represented General Atlantic in March this year on in their strategic investment in General Information Services.

Peter Lyons, Freshfields’ US managing partner said that the ability to navigate the tech space ‘with sophistication’ is critical to the firm’s clients. Co-head of the firm’s global M&A practice Matthew Herman also said that Kaplan’s ability to ‘handle the most complex of IP-driven transactions for clients will be immediately accretive to our strong team of NY-based transactional lawyers’.

Kaplan told Legal Business that Freshfields has been very busy in the US ‘across the board’ and that ‘IP is becoming more and more of a global strategy, so he welcomed the opportunity to join a global platform already firing on all cylinders.’

He said he will continue to execute the firm’s existing corporate strategy.

‘Getting additional corporate mandates, with IP as key, will help support the growth of the corporate department and the global platform,’ he added.

In the last two years, Freshfields boosted its US platform with a string of star hires including Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson corporate trio Valerie Ford Jacob, Michael Lewitt and Paul Tropp, Shearman & Sterling’s M&A veteran Peter Lyons, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s experienced corporate disputes specialist Linda Martin and, most recently late last year, corporate partner Aly El Hamamsy from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.