The group, led by Sherri N. Blount and Edward W. Gray, Jr., was previously with the Washington office of Chicago-based Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery. They join the Firm's Trademark Group in the Litigation Department.
Ms. Blount was formerly vice president and deputy general counsel at the Public Broadcasting Service, where she served as principal trademark and copyright attorney for a decade. Mr. Gray, whose career in patent and trademark law spans 30 years, has been General Counsel for Federal Mogul, the global auto parts supplier, and was vice president for business publisher R.R. Donnelley. He currently serves as General Counsel to the National Knowledge and IP Management Task Force, a national organization of IP executives. Ms. Blount and Mr. Gray join Morrison & Foerster as partners.
Rounding out the group are Christopher E. George ( Of Counsel), and W. Brian Edge and Pia Yu (associates), all of whom have worked extensively in patent and trademark prosecution, enforcement and litigation. Mr. Edge is a former Patent Examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
With a strong core of trademark work, the new Morrison & Foerster lawyers have a broad practice that also includes patent prosecution and litigation, trade secrets, digital copyright management, advertising law, licensing and branding, along with a large entertainment component. A key focus for the group is counseling clients in managing their IP portfolios to enhance economic growth. Ms. Blount and Mr. Gray represent the owners of many famous brands, including high-profile entertainers and athletes.
The group's clients also include national radio and television broadcasters, national cable operators, and telecommunications companies, including Nextel Communications, Inc.
"This is a dynamic addition to our East Coast IP practice," said Morrison & Foerster Chair Keith Wetmore. "Sherri and Ed, together with Chris, Brian and Pia, bring an enormous reservoir of intellectual property knowledge, and valuable experience in several key industries. We are gaining a well-connected and energized group of attorneys whose skills will greatly benefit both new and existing clients in the Washington and Northern Virginia markets, as well as enhance our broad East Coast IP capabilities. We also see significant opportunity for them to work alongside a number of our other practices, from corporate transactions to government contracts."
Mr. Gray said that the decision to leave the environment of an IP boutique was a natural consequence of the group's growth in recent years. "We felt the time was right to transition to a law firm that could provide a national, and even global, platform for our work," he said. "Besides having one of the pre-eminent IP practices in the country, Morrison & Foerster offers many top-tier practices outside of our own trademark and patent work -- including telecom, corporate and litigation -- that should greatly benefit our clients."
Ms. Blount added, "We are excited to be part of Morrison & Foerster's highly respected intellectual property practice. The Firm offers our clients the best known IP scholars and counselors, as well as outstanding litigators who will further strengthen our client service team."
Ms. Blount received her law degree in 1980 from Howard University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Journal, and her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977. She is admitted to practice in Washington, D.C., and before the District of Columbia District Court, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Gray received his law degree from Columbia University in 1970 and his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 1967. He also holds a Certificate in Foreign and Comparative Law from Columbia University, which he received in 1982. Mr. Gray is admitted to practice in Illinois, California, D.C. and before the Supreme Court of the United States, The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and several district courts.
Mr. George received his law degree from Emory University in 1993 and his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1989. He is admitted to practice in Virginia and D.C. and before the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C.), the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.
Mr. Edge earned his law degree from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 1998 and his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from North Carolina Central University in 1993. He is admitted to practice in North Carolina, D.C., and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Ms. Yu received her law degree from Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington in 2002 and her B.A. from Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea in 1998. She is admitted to practice law in Illinois and Maryland. She is also fluent in Korean and Japanese and has a working knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.