Two practice group leaders at Gray Reed are joining new law firms.
Sears joins O’Melveny’s Dallas office one week after it announced the addition of Sid Mody, the former assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Sears focuses his practice on mergers and acquisitions and asset deals in the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors. He joins an energy-industry bench in Texas that includes Jason Schumacher, Katie Coleman, Phillip Oldham, Monica Hwang and Steven Torello.
“As we continue to expand our roster of A-list energy-focused partners in Texas, Ryan’s impressive talent, sterling reputation and client-centric approach make him a perfect addition to the firm,” O’Melveny Chair Bradley Butwin said in a statement.
Tautfest practiced for six years at Gray Reed. Two of his most recent successes have been for Plano-based wireless-technology company PanOptis Patent Management, where he previously served as chief licensing officer.
In 2020 PanOptis was one of several defendants that won an antitrust lawsuit over cellular connectivity tech. Chief Judge Barbara Lynn of the Northern District of Texas dismissed all claims against PanOptis and the other defendants. Tautfest was part of the Gray Reed/Irell & Manella-led legal team for PanOptis.
Tautfest and other lawyers at Gray Reed also helped prepare PanOptis for trial in an eventual $506 million patent-litigation win against Apple in 2020 in the Eastern District of Texas. McKool Smith argued the case for PanOptis at trial.
Joining Tautfest at Munck Wilson is Waco lawyer Connie Nichols, who was of counsel at Gray Reed. Nichols is the founding director of Baylor’s intellectual property law clinic.
Munck Wilson also added Waco-based Gray Reed IP partner David Henry earlier this month.
“Eric’s impressive background and record of successes in patent litigation will add substantial depth to our IP teams in the North and Central Texas regions,” William A. Munck, Munck Wilson’s managing partner, said in a statement. “He is highly regarded in Dallas and positioned well to assist us as we build our Waco presence with our two new partners in that market, David Henry and Connie Nichols.”