Aaron Cooper, a senior aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee's Democrats, has left Capitol Hill for Covington & Burling, bolstering a burgeoning intellectual property niche in the firm's lobbying group.
Cooper, the Senate panel's chief counsel for IP and antitrust law, will join Covington on Dec. 9 as of counsel to the firm's global public policy and government affairs practice, the firm said today. Cooper started at the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2006, rising to chief counsel for IP and antitrust law in 2011.
Covington partner Dan Bryant, chairman of the firm's public policy and government affairs practice, called Cooper a "remarkable addition." Since March, Covington has hired former Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), former Representative Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and former House Judiciary Committee staff director and chief counsel Richard Hertling, all of whom have significant IP policy experience.
Cooper leaves Capitol Hill as action on patent lawsuit reform legislation is heating up in Congress. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, last month introduced the Innovation Act in the effort to fight abusive patent litigation. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also is working on a patent lawsuit reform bill.
As a top adviser to Leahy, Cooper was a point man for discussions with representatives from the telecommunications and tech industries, among others, as he worked on patent and copyright protection bills. He was praised by both parties for his work on the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act of 2011, the first major overhaul of the patent system in decades. He also worked on satellite television reauthorization and other communications law issues.
Cooper, who worked on communications issues as a Covington associate, said he was attracted to the firm based on his old ties there.
Cooper said he’s hopeful to convince clients to not only carefully watch what’s happening in Congress now but also what could unfold over the next several years. Covington this year has lobbied on patent matters for Microsoft Corp. and Qualcomm Inc., according to congressional records.
"I hope to work with companies to develop comprehensive strategy to shape strategy, not just respond to it," Cooper said.
National Law Journal staff reporter Todd Ruger contributed to this report. NLJ photo by Diego M. Radzinschi.