Updated 1:40 p.m.
Katten Muchin Rosenman is starting an Internet practice in Washington with a lateral partner from Steptoe & Johnson LLP.
Brian Winterfeldt, formerly a Steptoe intellectual property partner, joins Katten as a partner. He brings with him four other former Steptoe attorneys, including associate Scott Harlan and staff attorneys Christopher Casavale, Philip Karnofsky and Phillip Marano. Harlan joins as an associate. Debra Hughes, a former IP counsel with the American Red Cross, will also join Katten’s new practice.
Winterfeldt's intellectual property practice focuses on trademark counseling, enforcement and litigation. He also has experience handling Internet governance and domain name matters.
In an email to Legal Times, Winterfeldt said that in the past few years, his trademark practice has increasingly become centered on Internet issues and that Katten “provides an ideal environment in order to continue to grow this side of the practice.”
“As Katten has been looking to expand its trademark presence in D.C.—as well as complement its robust IP litigation practice—the firm was an excellent match for my goals of continued innovation and growth,” Winterfeldt wrote.
Winterfeldt confirmed that most of his trademark and Internet clients have followed the team to Katten. The goal of the Internet practice, he said, is to compliment Katten’s trademark practice, while providing additional services to clients.
“While traditional trademark prosecution and enforcement remain cornerstones of building a brand, in today’s business environment, a tailored, distinctive Internet presence is also key,” Winterfeldt wrote. “This means not only registering and maintaining domain names, and enforcing against domain name infringers, but frequently offering current and potential customers the opportunity to interact via social media. The new generic top-level domain program also introduces a new realm of opportunities and challenges, so we will also be focusing on partnering with clients to ensure they understand and are prepared for the upcoming changes to the Internet landscape.”
Katten’s Washington office managing partner Roger Furey said via email that the firm is open to the possibility of adding more attorneys to the practice.
“With all of our practice areas, we routinely evaluate staffing needs and then make necessary hiring decisions,” Furey said. “This area is one that is rapidly growing so we hope to continue to grow with it.”
Winterfeldt joined Steptoe in 2009 from Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll’s Washington office, where he was a partner for three years. At Ballard, he managed a practice that focused on trademarks and Internet law. Winterfeldt is a 1999 graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.