Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP announced the opening of an Atlanta office with the addition of Needle & Rosenberg, one of the premier intellectual property law firms in the Southeast. The new office and its distinguished patent practice propel Ballard to the forefront on IP matters and elevate the firm's national profile with a 12th location and expansion into the South.

Needle & Rosenberg's 23 lawyers, along with patent agents and other professionals, serve a national client base in the areas of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and licensing and related litigation. Key areas of Ballard's new, nationally active patent practice include biotechnology, chemical, pharmaceutical, medical device, electronics, software, communications technology, licensing, manufacturing and mechanical. The professionals in the Atlanta office are not only lawyers, but also engineers and scientists and lay claim to one of the highest percentages of advanced degrees per professional of any such practice in the U.S.

The addition of Needle & Rosenberg maintains Ballard's trajectory of growth in recent years. The firm opened five offices, including Atlanta, in two years, with the goal of providing clients with truly national coverage. Last August, it opened a Los Angeles office with three prominent real estate lawyers. Today, that location has 13 lawyers. Ballard opened offices in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Bethesda in the summer of 2006.

The newest office gives Ballard a foothold in the hub of the Southeast and further strengthens a formidable East Coast presence, including locations in Baltimore; Bethesda; Philadelphia; Voorhees, N.J.; Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Del. The firm's Western presence, in its third decade, was well-established before the additions of the last two years, which served to reinforce practices in Denver and Salt Lake City.

The Atlanta office is unique in that it is the largest addition of a practice area in Ballard history. Its roots date back a quarter-century to Bill Needle’s establishment of a practice in Atlanta devoted exclusively to patent, trademark, and copyright matters. Needle would quickly become counsel to the creator of Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, defending the wildly popular franchise against trademark and copyright infringement. Eventually, the office was performing patent services for the National Institutes of Health's numerous agencies and became one of two firms nationwide to perform the bulk of Eastman Chemical Company's outsourced prosecution, opposition, and licensing services.

The office continued its growth in the late 1990s with dramatic expansion in the IP industry. With the growth in Internet and technology companies came a tremendous increase in patents applied for, issued ,and litigated in these fields, as well.

"Needle & Rosenberg is proof that patience is its own reward," observed the chair of Ballard,  Arthur Makadon.  "We have been very careful about not proceeding with a patent practice unless it would be a clear leader in the field. Those practices that approached us were not, and we doubted our ability to build one from scratch.  Thus, while we have tremendous trademark, copyright, and trade secret practices, the absence of a patent practice was a real minus.  Now our patience has paid off, and we have attracted one of the premier firms in the country. This will be a tremendous benefit for Ballard, particularly our Litigation and Business & Finance Departments.  We look forward to a long history working together with our partners and are honored by the decision of Needle & Rosenberg to choose Ballard."

"Needle & Rosenberg is thrilled to join Ballard," said Mr. Needle. "It will be a significant benefit to our clients to have access to the national practices and additional areas of focus that Ballard offers. We are pleased to expand our own practice and help Ballard establish a major presence in the patent arena."

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