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Former Microsoft chief patent counsel joins law firm

Bart Eppenauer will join Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP as a partner in its new Seattle office

According to Microsoft GC Brad Smith, the company’s recent acquisition with Nokia helped them gain direct control of one of the two companies that holds important patent portfolios for wireless devices (along with Qualcomm). However, the job of applying that expanded portfolio will now fall elsewhere, as Microsoft’s chief patent counsel is now leaving the company.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP has announced that former Microsoft Corp. chief patent counsel Bart Eppenauer will join the firm as a managing partner in its new Seattle office, which is set to open on Dec. 1, 2013.

According to a Shook release announcing the move, Eppenauer has served as chief patent counsel with Microsoft since 2003. Over that time, he helped develop Microsoft’s portfolio of over 35,000 patents and managed a team of over 100 professionals.

“We are extremely excited to be opening a Seattle office and to have Bart rejoining the firm,” said Shook Chair John Murphy in the release. “Bart’s legal and business experience is unparalleled and this was a truly unique opportunity for us to open an office in a region in which we already have a substantial footprint from a practice standpoint.”

Eppenauer previously worked for the firm as an associate for three years before leaving for Microsoft’s legal team in 1997. Shook, meanwhile, has worked with Microsoft in the past as one of its “member provider” firms for legal services. In his statement, Eppenauer believes the strong connection he has already established with the firm will help him in his new position.

“I have worked closely with Shook’s Intellectual Property group for more than a decade in my role at Microsoft and I am very pleased to be rejoining them,” said Eppenauer. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to open and lead a Seattle office for Shook and contribute to expanding the firm’s IP capabilities.”


For more of the major movers and shakers of the law world, check out 6 noteworthy in-house career moves to know.

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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