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John Schnurer

Perkins Coie partner takes innovative approach

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Perkins Coie's San Diego office generates a lot of repeat customers, and a big reason for that is John Schnurer.

The patent litigation partner earns his clients' trust and respect by taking an active role in each case on which he's working.

Of course, Schnurer's steady stream of success doesn't hurt either.

"John is a critical part of the firm's offerings in high tech patent litigation, both for our Asian practice and our International Trade Commission practice," said Thane Bauz, managing partner of Perkins Coie's San Diego office.

"John's strength is his innovative approach to very challenging high technology legal issues that our clients face in the U.S. marketplace."

Schnurer is co-chair of the firm's Section 337 investigations practice before the International Trade Commission.

His litigation skills were evident in a recent victory he achieved for client HTC, which was facing a patent infringement lawsuit from Flashpoint.

While other defendants settled by paying a hefty sum, Schnurer and his Perkins Coie team stuck it out through trial and were rewarded with a favorable ruling. The patent being asserted by Flashpoint was eventually found to be invalid. The case is currently on appeal.

Schnurer credits his intimate involvement in each case, from start to finish.

“You see too many cases where partners are overextended, and by the time they see a case, they don’t know it too well,” he said. “That causes mistakes to be made.”

But it's not like Schnurer isn't busy.

Schnurer currently has four cases that are set to go to trial between now and the spring.

“It shows that we've been able to deliver great results at a fair price compared to our competitors," he said. “We do more with less people.”

The Financial Times awarded Perkins Coie, based on Schnurer's work, recognition as one of its U.S. Innovative Lawyers 2012.

“He's done a terrific job this year in helping to build the office and build the practice," Bauz said. “Our San Diego office is now up to 22 attorneys, almost entirely dedicated to high tech intellectual property, including patent prosecution and litigation and patent reexamination.”

Schnurer said his group is able to keep its billing rate down by having a lean team and getting partners involved early.

“Not only that, I believe in my associates," he said. “So much so that I will fight to give my associates opportunities that other firms' partners take for themselves. That's why I'm able to attract talent.”

Schnurer's also a firm believer in communicating with the client. If they want to keep costs down, they have to be involved in the decision-making process, he said.

“I'm able to be more progressive,” he said. “When the recession hit, my practice skyrocketed. I was able to operate in the new economy. I'm not doing things the traditional way.”

Schnurer is recognized as a premier intellectual property strategist, particularly with respect to the development and execution of global patent litigation strategies.

He said success isn't just about winning, but getting a cost-effective result for the client.

“I like handling cases that have importance to the client,” he said. “I'm not interested in low-end cases.

“I like high-tech stuff. We're one of the firms that's litigating in a space (high tech) that's hot right now. Helping clients achieve their business goals, that's exciting.”

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