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Practice areas:

Patent Strategy & Management

David J. Kappos is a partner at Cravath. He is a leader in the field of intellectual property, including IP management and strategy, the development of global IP norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation-based assets. From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Kappos served as Under Secretary of Commerce and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In that role, he advised the President, the Secretary of Commerce and the Administration on IP policy matters. Mr. Kappos led the Agency in dramatically reengineering its entire management and operational systems and its engagement with the global innovation community. He was instrumental in achieving the greatest legislative reform of the U.S. patent system in generations through passage and implementation of the Leahy Smith America Invents Act, signed into law by President Obama in September 2011.

Prior to leading the USPTO, Mr. Kappos held several executive posts in the legal department of IBM, the world’s largest patent holder. From 2003 to 2009, he served as the company’s chief intellectual property lawyer. In that capacity, he managed global intellectual property activities for IBM, including all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret protection and exploitation. During his more than 25 years at IBM, he also served in a variety of other roles including litigation counsel and Asia Pacific IP counsel, where he led all aspects of IP protection, including licensing, transactions support and M&A activity for the Asia/Pacific region.

Mr. Kappos has extensive experience in the life sciences sector, regularly working closely with Cravath’s M&A partners on complex transactions involving issues with patents, trademarks, copyrights, data, trade secrets, privacy and information security. His notable recent transactions in the life sciences field include representing Mylan in its $50 billion combination with Upjohn, a division of Pfizer, to form Viatris; Illumina in its $8 billion acquisition of GRAIL; GW Pharmaceuticals in its $7.2 billion acquisition by Jazz Pharmaceuticals; Johnson & Johnson in its $6.5 billion acquisition of Momenta Pharmaceuticals and in the planned separation of its Consumer Health business; the special committee of the board of Eidos Therapeutics in its $2.83 billion merger with BridgeBio Pharma; and DiaSorin in its $1.8 billion acquisition of Luminex.

Mr. Kappos received a B.S. summa cum laude in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Davis in 1983 and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1990.