Another large Texas law firm is hoping to take advantage of Waco’s budding prospects for becoming a hotbed for patent cases by opening an office in Waco.
Officials with Gray Reed, a 140-lawyer firm with offices in Houston and Dallas, say the firm expects to better serve its Waco-based clients, build on its strong ties to Waco and handle the expected surge of intellectual property (IP) cases expected to be filed in the Western District of Texas.
“Waco was the obvious choice for Gray Reed’s third office,” Dallas managing partner Andy Meyercord said. “Many of our attorneys and clients have deep roots in Waco, and we look forward to serving the community and the Western District of Texas.”
Waco is part of the federal Western District of Texas, which stretches from El Paso to Del Rio and includes other federal courts in Alpine, Austin, Midland-Odessa, Pecos and San Antonio.
Waco attorney and Baylor Law Professor David Henry will work in the new Waco office, which will temporarily be located in the National Lloyds Building in downtown Waco but is expected to move to the Texas Life Insurance Co. building, 900 Washington Ave., later this year.
Henry, group leader of the Gray Reed IP litigation practice, has said he expects Waco’s federal court to become the new hot spot for patent cases because of a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that requires patent cases to be filed in the district in which defendants are established or have a regular place of business.
Also, Henry said, Waco is in the same federal district as Austin, a target-rich environment for patent infringement lawsuits because of its large concentration of high-tech companies. In addition, U.S. District Judge Alan Albright, appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as judge of Waco’s federal court, has more than 20 years specializing in IP law and is welcoming IP cases to be filed in his court.
“Our IP team is already entrenched in Waco, so Judge Albright’s arrival creates a tremendous opportunity for our firm to grow our IP practice, and having a Waco office allows us to better serve our existing clients in the region,” Henry said.
Since Albright took the bench in September, 10 patent cases were filed in Waco’s federal court in a single week. That compares to fewer than 10 patent cases that had been filed in Waco in the decades since the court’s creation, said Henry, who is one of Waco’s few patent attorneys and who has taught patent law and litigation at the Baylor University Law School for 25 years.
Besides Henry, who recently was appointed director for the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office’s IP Clinic program at Baylor Law School, Pat Souter and Alex Uber will be based in Waco or work regularly from the Waco office, according to a Gray Reed statement.
Souter is board certified in health law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and a professor of healthcare studies at Baylor Law School, where he oversees the healthcare law program and teaches healthcare law, healthcare fraud and abuse and regulation of healthcare professionals.
Uber is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and also specializes in all aspects of IP Law, the Gray Reed release says.
Gray Reed would be the second large IP firm to open a Waco office since Albright was appointed. Patterson + Sheridan, with 80 lawyers in eight offices in California, North Carolina and New Jersey, opened an office in Waco earlier this month and hired former McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna to work there.
Henry said with the opening of Gray Reed’s office in Waco, it will bring expertise and a specialized practice that typically was not offered in Waco before, such as major mergers and acquisitions, tax law and IP law.