WASHINGTON, DC—Finnegan is pleased to announce that Erika Harmon Arner will serve as managing partner of the firm’s 11 offices, effective July 1, 2022. Erika will succeed former managing partner Anand Sharma, who will assume the role of firm chair, held most recently by Mark Sweet. The transition reflects Finnegan’s tradition of rotating firm leadership positions periodically to ensure continuity and to allow those in management positions to balance their management duties and client responsibilities most effectively. It also illustrates the continued commitment to diversity in leadership at the firm.
Erika joined Finnegan as a summer associate more than 20 years ago and has held several leadership positions at the firm. Prior to her role as managing partner, Erika led the firm’s electrical and computer technology practice group, previously served as leader of the firm’s patent office practice, and served on the firm’s management committee. As managing partner, Erika will handle the day-to-day management of the firm, working closely with Anand as chair. They previously served in management roles together as members of Finnegan’s management and coordinating committees.
Erika said, “I am excited to step into the managing partner role at Finnegan. I am fortunate to work at a firm where partners have many opportunities to participate in firm management and one that has a history of promoting diverse talent to leadership positions. I look forward to working with Anand to make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Finnegan doesn’t just say we’re diverse; diversity is woven into the firm’s culture, and I want to ensure that continues.” Erika noted primary areas of focus will be to maintain the firm’s strong culture as we move into the new hybrid work environment, to continue providing the highest quality legal work to our clients, and to champion a diverse pipeline of high-quality talent for Finnegan. She recognizes that fostering an inclusive environment at the firm is key to the firm’s culture and has been integral to the success in retaining talent across the attorneys and business professionals at the firm.
Erika is a nationally recognized leader in trial practice before the PTAB and related appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Having represented patent owners and petitioners in more than 200 PTAB trials, she is consistently ranked as one of the top three female attorneys at the PTAB and was named “PTAB Litigator of the Year” by Managing Intellectual Property. She has argued and won a number of landmark cases at the PTAB and the Federal Circuit for both patent challengers and patent owners, including filing and winning the first petition for post-grant review of a covered business method (CBM) patent under the America Invents Act (AIA) in SAP America Inc. v. Versata Development Group. In addition to her extensive patent office and appellate practice, Erika is a well-known authority patent-eligibility jurisprudence. Since representing the petitioners before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bilski v. Kappos, she has handled dozens of cases involving issues related to patentable subject matter before the Federal Circuit, U.S. district courts, and the PTAB. Erika will continue to maintain her thriving practice while serving as managing partner.
Erika is a longstanding champion for women in IP. She was a co-founder of the PTAB Bar Association and served as the organization’s first female president. Erika helped co-found, with others, Finnegan’s women’s business initiative, Finnegan FORWARD, to create and support initiatives to address issues impacting women attorneys in intellectual property. She also co-founded the Washington, DC chapter of The Women in IP Network (WIN). Erika serves in leadership roles on the women’s committees of the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association (IPO) and the PTAB Bar Association and has held leadership positions in the American Bar Association (ABA) and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).
As chair, Anand will lead the overall strategic direction of the firm, taking a focused approach to continue to build upon Finnegan’s growth and success. Anand noted, “While the last three years were not what any of us could have predicted, it has been extremely rewarding to serve as managing partner working closely with our firm leadership, partners, and others to ensure Finnegan’s continued success as a top-tier IP firm. I look forward to continuing this work as I move into the role of chair. It is an exciting time for the firm, with the most recent office opening in Munich being just one example of our efforts to position the firm to expand support for companies’ global IP needs and remain the go-to IP firm.”
Finnegan is consistently ranked as an elite intellectual property firm by The Legal 500, Managing Intellectual Property, Intellectual Asset Management, and World Trademark Review. In addition to being highly ranked for its IP practices, Finnegan remains a top firm for talent. Vault’s 2022 Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms and The American Lawyer’s 2022 Diversity Scorecard ranked Finnegan as a top firm for diversity. In its 2021 Diversity Snapshot, Law360 named Finnegan a top 10 firm for having the highest representation of minorities in its equity partnership. The firm also scored a perfect 100 in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality designation). Most recently, Finnegan was named a Top Law Firm for Women by Seramount (formerly Working Mother) for the 12th year in a row.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP is one of the largest IP law firms in the world. From offices in Atlanta, Boston, London, Munich, Palo Alto, Reston, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Washington, DC, the firm practices all aspects of patent, trademark, and copyright law, including counseling, prosecution, licensing, and litigation. Finnegan also represents clients on IP issues related to advertising, trade secret law, European patents and trade marks, international trade, portfolio management, the Internet, e-commerce, government contracts, antitrust, and unfair competition. For additional information on the firm, please visit www.finnegan.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.