Intellectual property knowledge expert James Pooley joins Orrick

By JoAnn Seltzer | Aug 4, 2016

SILICON VALLEY – More than 30 years of intellectual property knowledge (IP) is being added to Orrick. James Pooley, Orrick's new senior counsel, is bringing his passion for protecting trade secrets, his decades of cybersecurity knowledge and his international experience with him to Silicon Valley.

Orrick was an ideal choice for Pooley because of the firm's international footprint and its work with intellectual property litigation.

“Specifically, I was attracted by the fact that among the top tier firms, the firm has a special commitment to trade secrets practice,” Pooley told the Northern California Record. “Given my own background and what I wanted to be doing in helping to develop global IP practice and litigation practice, that really was very attractive."

Pooley, a member of the IP Hall of Fame, recently returned to the United States from Switzerland. Pooley was serving a five-year term as the deputy director general at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) managing the international patent system. He said it was a great experience that most attorneys don't have the opportunity to do and he really enjoyed the work.

The transition back to the United States and to the private sector was much easier than the adjustment to living in Switzerland, he said.

“The pace of diplomatic work is slower. I had to adjust to that,” Pooley said.

After completing his term in Geneva, Pooley spent six months finishing his book, "Secrets: Managing Information Assets in the Age of Cyberspionage." Two weeks after the book was published, the Defense of Trade Secrets Act was introduced to Congress and Pooley became heavily involved with that.

“As the dust was settling on that and with the new emphasis on trade secret protection in the U.S. at the federal level, there was important work to be done and it was not really possible for me to do that from a platform of one, so I decided to return to law firm practice and Orrick was the obvious choice for me,” Pooley said.

During the last 30 years, the nature of assets for businesses has shifted, Pooley said. As the world moves deeper into the information age more and more trade secrets are being kept digitally. There is only so much that can be protected by patents and copyrights, he said. In the past, someone trying to steal trade secrets would have had to go through dozens of boxes and stand at a copy machine copying pages for hours, today thousands of pages can be downloaded in minutes to a thumb drive. New technology is making it essential for companies to have new ways to protect their intellectual property.

Pooley has several goals he plans to accomplish at Orrick. The number one goal is to help develop and continue to improve trade secrets practices to help clients. He also plans to use his experience in IP to help with international arbitration and assist the firm in building its relationship with other areas of the world including Asia and Europe.

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