Press Releases

Panitch Schwarze Lands Powerhouse IP Litigation and Life Sciences Group

April 10, 2020

PHILADELPHIA (April 2020) – Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel has expanded its IP life sciences and litigation practices by adding a formidable group of patent litigators and prosecutors. Erin Dunston and Phil Hirschhorn joined Panitch Schwarze and their former colleagues from Buchanan Ingersoll, Dr. Travis Bliss and Dr. Stephany Small, who joined the firm several weeks earlier. Rounding out the group is Aaron Pereira who joins his former colleagues after a sojourn at Weil Gotshal handling pharmaceutical and biological litigations.

“Moving to an excellent IP firm like Panitch allows us to bring the skill sets of big firm IP practice to the business-oriented mindset of a well-run boutique,” said Dunston. “We have ‘gotten the band back together’ because we admire each other and truly enjoy working together, whether in prosecution or in adversarial IP in the PTAB and district courts.”

As an example, Dunston noted the David-versus-Goliath inventorship dispute on behalf of Ethox Chemicals against The Coca-Cola Company, which the group litigated to success at trial and on appeal. “We get such results frequently, many occurring behind-the-scenes,” said Hirschhorn, “because of the significant involvement of each member of the team.”

Hirschhorn added, “Panitch Schwarze provides an ideal platform to expand our group’s district court and PTAB practices without causing sticker-shock to our clients. We also saw right away that the lawyers, agents, and staff at Panitch Schwarze value training, mentoring, and respecting their colleagues, the same attributes that we have brought to our practices over the years.”

Over the course of her career, Dunston has pursued a purposeful mix of prosecution and adversarial practice, including interferences, IPRs, and district court litigation. She has positioned key portfolios for clients to maximize revenue through licensing or to create barriers to entry for potential competitors. When not counseling her international clients, she is a frequent author and speaker on IP matters, and has been active in the IP community including serving as chair of the IP Section of the Bar Association of DC, president of the Bar Association of DC, and president of her law school’s Alumni Board Association.

“I’m elated to join Panitch Schwarze,” said Dunston, who is the daughter of a notable patent attorney. “While every platform has its advantages, being back at an IP boutique with this special collection of talented practitioners is best for my clients and me. I’m excited for the next chapter of my career and so very thankful for this opportunity and the support my clients have shown.”

Hirschhorn brings more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer and IP litigator to Panitch Schwarze. Having honed his litigation skills in both IP and non-IP cases and having been an integral part of a nine-month arbitration trial regarding a biological EPO earlier in his career, he has the first chair trial skills to manage cases efficiently and get the most out his team. Hirschhorn handles patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret cases. Known as an artful orator and litigator who does not get tripped up in the minutia that plagues so many patent litigators, he is expert at making technical information understandable and interesting to juries and judges. He also brings business sense, having been the leader of an IP section at his prior firm. Hirschhorn is the past chair of the NYC Bar Association’s Patent Committee and a vice chair of the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s PTAB Committee.

Pereira joins Panitch Schwarze from the New York office of Weil Gotshal & Manges, where he was a key member of the life sciences patent litigation practice. With a background in chemical and biomolecular engineering, Pereira is known for his ability to distill dense technical records into winning legal arguments, and has done so in federal courts around the country, at the ITC, and before the PTAB. He has counseled some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated companies on matters of global patent strategy, market entry, and product competition, and managed sprawling IP diligence matters for multi-billion dollar mergers and private equity financing. Prior to practicing at Weil, Pereira was at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, where he worked closely with Dunston, Hirschhorn, and Bliss and Small. Pereira also is active in bar associations and affinity groups and chairs the Patents Committee at the NYC Bar Association.

“Sophisticated patent practice is a team sport, and I couldn’t be more excited to reunite with a truly elite team of IP practitioners,” Pereira said. “This group works together seamlessly to deliver fantastic client service, and I am grateful to our new colleagues at Panitch Schwarze for adding us to their tradition of excellence.”

Dunston, Hirschhorn and Pereira join their colleagues Bliss and Small, who joined Panitch Schwarze weeks ago. Bliss earned a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware in an agricultural biotechnology program, with a research focus on genetics and immunology. His practice spans traditional life sciences fields, and his agricultural background allows him to focus on IP protection for the horticulture and agriculture industries, including plant patent and plant variety protections and trademarks for traditional high-value plant varieties. He also practices in the burgeoning Cannabis field and is recognized by Chambers USA as a Tier-1 practitioner in the area of Cannabis law.

With a Ph.D. in cellular and microbial biology and extensive laboratory research focused on genetics and molecular biology, Small has deep technical knowledge and her practice reaches all aspects of life science, such as novel plant varieties, transgenic plants, pharmaceuticals, biologics, and treatment methods. Her work has highlighted the importance of the relationships between intellectual property and business development, marketing, and regulation. Through her diverse background and experiences, she understands that a client’s IP depends upon many factors: business objectives, budget constraints, and offensive and defensive strategies.

“We are thrilled that Erin, Phil and Aaron have joined Travis and Stephany in bringing their life sciences practice group to Panitch Schwarze,” said firm partner Martin Belisario. “We are excited to welcome them to our team and look forward to working together to advocate on behalf of our clients and their valuable intellectual property.”

About Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP – Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel LLP is a boutique intellectual property law firm with offices in Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. The firm’s IP law practitioners provide strategic litigation, licensing and counseling service relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, domain names and internet issues domestically and internationally. The firm’s long-standing relationships with a network of associates worldwide enable its attorneys and advisors to provide clients with global intellectual property advice and protection.

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