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Apple-Google Duel for Mobile Supremacy Boon for Lawyers: Tech

Publication Date: 
August 14, 2011
Ian King, Jeff Green and Susan Decker

Dean Larry Kramer is quoted in the below article on how the law school has “shifted curriculum to reflect demand for lawyers with technical knowledge.”

Apple Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG) and rival handset and software makers, seeking to defend their turf in the surging mobile-phone market, are competing for top patent lawyers as litigation floods courtrooms worldwide.

Google is looking for a vice president of patents, a new position, said a person familiar with the plans, who declined to be named because the position isn’t advertised. The company is also hiring a manager of patent acquisitions. Apple created a new position last year to head intellectual-property litigation, and about half of the 18 legal positions Intel Corp. (INTC) aims to fill focus on intellectual property.

At stake is leadership in the mobile-phone market, predicted by IHS Inc. (IHS) to rise 34 percent to $206.6 billion this year. Companies led by Apple, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google have spent more than $5 billion this year on patents that may help them collect fees or land partnerships. They need patent lawyers who can hammer out licensing deals, weigh intellectual property purchases and pursue or defend against lawsuits.

That trend is reflected in what students want to offer to potential employers, Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer said. As many as 10 percent of new law students have doctoral or master’s degrees in engineering or biological science, with an even greater percentage bringing undergraduate degrees in those fields, he said.