Microsoft’s lead intellectual property lawyer headed to law firm Perkins Coie

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As a company that deals extensively in intellectual property, Microsoft understandably employs an army of lawyers. Between defending their own IP and defending against claims of infringement, Microsoft’s lawyers are also likely a busy group. Recently, one of the company’s lead IP lawyers, Andy Culbert, has headed out for new opportunities, specifically to join law firm Perkins Coie and continue working as a professor at the University of Washington’s School of Law.

As the Puget Sound Business Journal reports:

The attorney who crafted Microsoft’s patent litigation strategy resigned from the Redmond company to split his time between Seattle-based law firm Perkins Coie and the University of Washington’s School of Law.

Andy Culbert became Microsoft’s (Nasdaq: MSFT) first intellectual property attorney 18 years ago. Throughout his tenure, Culbert worked on several landmark patent cases – including one before the U.S. Supreme Court that established the framework for U.S. companies to seek infringement damages internationally.

Microsoft has over 35,000 patents in its portfolio, a fact that’s not been lost on Android manufacturers who paid the company billions of dollars over the years in licensing agreements. Culbert was instrumental in overseeing that portfolio, as well as generally applying his expertise and experience to ensuring that Microsoft’s investments in R&D were fully protected.

Microsoft will miss him, according to their statement:

“Andy made extraordinary contributions to Microsoft during his 18-year tenure as head of our patent litigation practice,” David Howard, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement, “and we wish him the best as he begins the next chapter of his career.”

Culbert joins a firm in Perkins Coie that employs over 1,000 attorneys in almost 20 cities around the world, and his heavily involved in the technology industry. He will also continue work at UW, where he was acting as a professor throughout most of his tenure at Microsoft.