Kirkland & Ellis announced Tuesday that it added Kat Li to its intellectual property practice group in the firm’s Austin office.
Li, who joined Kirkland from McKool Smith, is the seventh Texas-based lawyer in Kirkland’s growing IP practice group. Li’s practice focuses on patent and technology litigation and she represents Fortune 500 companies in federal district court, the International Trade Commission, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“With major tech-focused companies entering or expanding into Austin, we need exceptional talent like Kat to help guide clients as they grapple with complex IP-related issues,” Austin-based Kirkland IP partner Jeannie Heffernan said in a statement. “Kate is a wonderful addition to the team and will help grow our practice in Texas.
Li said she joined Kirkland because the firm’s platform is “second to none” and found the opportunity in the Austin office compelling because it “offered high-profile IP matters plus complementary corporate services” to clients.
“I jumped at the chance to be part of the team where I will work on complex IP litigation, licensing and due diligence; help grow the IP practice and continue the focus on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion in the profession,” Li told The Texas Lawbook.
A fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Li added that she is excited to continue her work in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Kirkland, “which has made supporting diverse attorneys an integral part of its mission.”
One of Li’s recent courtroom wins involved successfully defending a major semiconductor manufacturer in patent litigation in the Western District of Texas, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the Federal Circuit in a dispute over packaging technology. In the Western District of Texas, Li secured a stipulation of non-infringement on issuance of a case-dispositive claim construction.
She also helped secure a $15 million verdict in 2013 for Dallas-based Summit 6 LLC in a patent infringement dispute against Samsung over photo-uploading technology. The verdict was affirmed on appeal.
Li said current trends in patent litigation, which “is hotter than ever right now,” include work from companies on both sides of the “v.”
“Major companies [are] not only defending against assertions, but also enforcing their rights and portfolios,” Li said. “In 2022, I anticipate that we will see an increase in competitor IP cases as well as post grant review proceedings. In addition, there will be continued interest in patent litigation in the Texas districts, and litigating virtually from remote depositions to hearings is here to stay.”
The University of Texas-trained lawyer said she knew she wanted to be an attorney for as long as she could remember and decided to pursue a career in IP litigation after discovering how much she enjoyed science and competitive debate in middle school.
“I went to MIT and studied materials science and engineering knowing that it was a stepping stone for law school,” Li said.