Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Irell & Manella Elects Litigator Alan J. Heinrich as Partner
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Alan J. Heinrich, a general business and intellectual property litigator in Irell & Manella’s Los Angeles office, is the firm’s newest partner.
Heinrich, 39, is a former professor of the classics who switched to law because he wanted to focus on issues that were of “contemporary relevance,” he said yesterday.
“I really needed to do something related to the issues that I see when I read the newspaper,” he said, adding that he viewed intellectual property law as an “opportunity to work on fascinating contemporary technologies.”
Heinrich did say, however, that ancient Greek and Latin have contributed significantly to his legal practice.
“Ancient languages require close and careful reading, which is something I strive to apply in my approach to patent litigation,” he said. “It takes that extra degree of detail to help judges and juries understand what a case involving complex technology is really about.”
Heinrich joined the firm as an associate in 2001. He has participated in several of the firm’s recent patent battles, including its representation of San Jose-based Immersion Corp. against Sony Computer Entertainment and Microsoft Corp. in a dispute over haptic technology products used to enhance user interactivity and tactile sensation in video games, medical simulations and other applications.
He graduated summa cum laude from Loyola Law School in 2000, and was valedictorian and chief articles editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. After graduating, he served for one year as law clerk to Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain in Portland, Ore., and was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2001.
Heinrich taught Latin and ancient Greek at USC. He earned his Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo, writing his thesis on Roman epic literature of the First Century A.D., and attended college at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where he graduated magna cum laude in 1990.
In 2007, Heinrich helped Immersion achieve a final judgment against Sony in the amount of $120 million, including court-ordered compulsory licensing fees, after the case against Microsoft settled in 2003.
He currently continues to represent Immersion, and is part of a team representing Skype, the Internet telephony technology (or Voice over Internet Protocol) unit owned by eBay, in defense of patent infringement claims. He also represents Singapore-based Avago Technologies, formerly the semiconductor division of Agilent Technologies, in several patent suits related to optical mouse sensor technology.
Heinrich was part of a team that worked pro bono on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council to deter the U.S. Navy from using high intensity sonar in waters in or near protected marine sanctuaries in violation of U.S. environmental laws. In 2006, the Navy agreed to a number of remedial measures for certain of its sonar training exercises after the team received a temporary restraining order.
In addition to his duties at Irell & Manella, Heinrich is also currently in his third year of teaching a course on the federal courts as an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School.
Citing Heinrich’s continued academic instruction and his pro bono work, on top of his full time schedule at the firm, Irell & Manella managing partner David Siegel said that Heinrich’s “commitment to the profession and community” had earned him the firm’s respect.
“Alan is a well-rounded litigator, who has contributed his highly strategic mind and creativity to some of our most important patent cases,” Siegel said. “We are proud to introduce him as our newest partner.”
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company