Two Former Microsoft Assistant General Counsels Join Seattle Office of Shook, Hardy & Bacon

December 4, 2014 - Law360 profiles new Shook partners Bill Harmon and John Mulgrew

KANSAS CITY, Mo.; SEATTLE – Shook, Hardy & Bacon continues to expand its intellectual property and high technology practice with the addition of partners Bill Harmon and John Mulgrew to its Seattle office. Harmon and Mulgrew held multiple wide-ranging leadership roles at Microsoft, in the U.S. and overseas, inside and outside of Microsoft’s IP group. Their combined experience greatly increases the depth and breadth of expertise that Shook’s IP group offers its clients, while enhancing the firm’s appreciation of the current challenges facing in-house legal teams.

“Companies encounter increasingly complex IP challenges every day and ask their legal departments to do more with less,” said Bart Eppenauer, Managing Partner of Shook’s Seattle office and Microsoft’s former Chief Patent Counsel. “Digital information is vulnerable to theft and exploitation, costs are increasing for high-quality IP defense and offense, and many companies do not have a fully formulated strategy for how to develop, use and manage their IP portfolios. We have a team that has successfully faced these challenges under the same dynamic that in-house teams confront today.”

Eppenauer added, “Bill and John bring the experience clients need to protect and advance their brands and R&D investments, and the contacts and profile we desire to expand our reach in Seattle, Silicon Valley, and across the U.S.” Shook serves the intellectual property needs of clients in high technology and many other industries, and opened a Seattle office in November 2013 to expand the firm’s presence in the Pacific Northwest and its depth in intellectual property.

John Murphy, Chair of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, says that increasing the firm’s intellectual property capabilities is a priority for the firm. “Our new partners’ experience in high technology legal issues includes success in mitigating patent troll threats, combating cloud cybercrime, and developing and implementing IP strategies for maximizing portfolio value,” Murphy said. “Companies in every industry would be wise to proactively address these same issues, and we are uniquely equipped to guide them.”

Joining Shook on December 1, Harmon served as an assistant general counsel at Microsoft within the patent litigation group. He led high-stakes patent litigation to defend Microsoft against claims of infringement. During his 11-year tenure at Microsoft, Harmon also served as a leader in their Digital Crimes Unit, Global Standards Group, and Intellectual Property Group.

Harmon earned his J.D., cum laude, from Santa Clara University School of Law (1995). He earned his M.B.A. from Santa Clara University (1995), and his B.S. in Electrical Engineering, cum laude (1988), from the same institution.

Arriving at the firm on October 1, Mulgrew most recently served as an assistant general counsel and team lead for patent conflicts at Microsoft, where he developed cost-effective approaches to resolving IP threats. Beginning in 2004, he held several roles of progressive responsibility at Microsoft. He served as IP and general counsel for all Microsoft Research organizations across Europe and the Middle East and handled all patent matters for subsidiaries in the region. Upon his return to the U.S., Mulgrew led a patent analysis team with broad responsibilities for developing IP strategies, including leading outbound and inbound licensing and litigation projects.

Mulgrew earned his J.D. with honors from the George Washington University School of Law (1996) and his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rice University (1989).

While at Microsoft, both Harmon and Mulgrew served as adjunct professors at Seattle University School of Law, where they taught on intellectual property licensing.

Shook’s Intellectual Property group includes more than 70 attorneys – 49 of whom are registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. The group is supported by 12 patent agents and analysts, six of whom hold doctorates in their areas of specialty.