Palo Alto, California -- (November 16, 2004) -- Morrison & Foerster announced today the formation of a new group offering specialized expertise in the assessment of intellectual property underlying life sciences venture investment. The new group, the Venture Intellectual Property (VIP) group was formed by Tom Ciotti, a nationally recognized life sciences partner, and Mika Mayer, an associate who has worked extensively with Mr. Ciotti in expanding Morrison & Foerster's venture capital practice.
The VIP group is dedicated to investor-side life sciences intellectual property due diligence with the goal of providing the highest quality assessments for the firm's clients. The VIP group's focus is three-fold: 1) to provide accurate and thorough freedom to operate assessments; 2) to assess and enhance the strength of the proprietary position of the investment's technology; and 3) to provide thorough targeted advice to address key business risks in the investment's licensing and partnering portfolio.
Morrison & Foerster has one of the largest intellectual property practices of any general practice firm, with approximately 300 lawyers providing a full range of services, including representation in patent and trademark prosecution, litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and business and licensing transactions. The firm's practice is ranked by independent observers as one of the top intellectual property practices in the country. As noted by Keith Wetmore, Chair of Morrison & Foerster, "Morrison & Foerster has a leadership position in the intellectual property arena so this is an exciting evolution of our current venture and life sciences practices."
Tom Ciotti said, "We decided to form this group because working with the venture community had become a major focus of Mika's and my practices, and we felt there was an unmet need to treat investor-side due diligence as a specialty unto itself. " Mika Mayer agreed stating, "We are very excited to have formed the VIP group and believe it will enable us to better serve the venture community and play a larger role in the future of the life sciences industry." Gladys Monroy who co-chairs the Intellectual Property group, said, "I look forward to working with the group to increase our service to the venture community. The creativity, experience, and depth of the VIP group will further strengthen our IP practice and be of great benefit to our investor clients."
In addition to Mr. Ciotti and Ms. Mayer, other members of the group include: Gladys Monroy, Laura Spiegelman, Phil Reilly, Alicia Hager and Lisa Amii. Partners in Morrison & Foerster's intellectual property group, including Dr. Kate Murashige, Dr. Catherine Polizzi, and Dr. Michael Ward are also involved in due diligence as a regular part of their broader patent practices. These additional resources, combined with Morrison & Foerster's interactive culture, allow the VIP group to leverage the scientific expertise and talent within the firm on every due diligence they perform.