Attorneys in the Technology Law practice area represent clients in transactions involving technology and intellectual property, including joint development projects, collaboration arrangements, IP licensing, and manufacturing, distribution, and strategic sourcing agreements. These transactions frequently relate to information technology, semiconductors, computers, software, communications, the Internet, and e-commerce. Most technology lawyers also have active counseling practices with respect to IP protection strategies, open source licensing, compatible development, participation in standards bodies, and related areas. The practice also involves conducting diligence investigations and negotiating terms regarding IP ownership and technology dependencies in connection with internal IP audits, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, and other strategic transactions. Sourcing is an area calling for particular expertise in, for example, establishing the appropriate scope of services, corresponding service levels, and variable pricing terms. Technology lawyers also often act as “outsourced general counsel” for technology companies.
Practitioners ranked in this area have demonstrated expertise in both intellectual property and commercial law, as well as knowledge of industry best practices. Business acumen is also needed as technology attorneys frequently assist clients in establishing the core business terms of the deal in addition to advising on intellectual property rights allocation, licensing terms, warranties, indemnities, and the like. Technology attorneys often actively assist clients in creating new business models.
Key factors to consider in engaging an attorney for a technology transaction or consultation are background in the relevant industry segment, expertise with the type of intellectual property rights involved, familiarity with the implicated technologies and their evolution, and experience with party on the other side of the deal. A technology attorney can be expected to quickly develop an understanding what assets are most valuable to a client, what synergies the client expects to achieve through the deal, and a negotiation strategy that takes these into account.
Paul E. Jahn