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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Nearly 15 percent of Fenwick partners named America's Leading Lawyers for Business by Chambers USA and Chambers Global
  • Selected as a "Go-To" law firm by in-house legal departments at Fortune 500 companies in Corporate Counsel magazine
  • Named to The National Law Journal's inaugural "Intellectual Property Hot List" for outstanding patent, copyright, trademark and IP litigation services

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We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

Mountain View Office
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
650.988.8500

San Francisco Office
555 California Street
12th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
415.875.2300

Seattle Office
1191 Second Avenue
10th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101
206.389.4510

History

Our Firm's History

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.

From that moment, Fenwick has been inextricably entwined with the history and growth of technology. We incorporated Apple, took Oracle and eBay public and over the years have represented many leading technology companies and their underwriters in numerous high profile IPOs and M&A transactions, including the largest Internet merger in history and the largest software merger in history. Our intellectual property practice has continuously been on the cutting edge of legal issues arising from emerging technologies, from the pioneering of shrinkwrap license agreements in the 1970s, to the creation of software development clean rooms in the 1980s, to being one of the first firms to advise and litigate numerous Internet-related IP issues that arose in the 1990s, including privacy, digital copyright, software patent and domain name issues.

Fenwick’s uninterrupted history of handling landmark transactions, disputes and legal innovations includes the following:

  • Incorporated Apple Computer in 1976
  • Pioneered the first shrink-wrap license agreement in 1976
  • Negotiated one of the first software license agreements with then 19-year entrepreneur Bill Gates
  • Created the first software "clean room" protocols—for Wang Laboratories—which later became the industry standard for developing software to withstand IP infringement claims
  • Secured the first copyright registration for a graphic interface
  • Registered one of the first business method patents for software
  • Took Oracle public in 1986, took eBay public in 1998 and completed more than 140 IPOs since then, including Electronic Arts, Symantec, Intuit and VeriSign
  • Handled some of the earliest, watershed software IP infringement battles, including Lotus v. Borland,Adobe v. Macromedia, Brown Bag Software v. Symantec, Amazon.com v. Barnesandnoble.com, Righthaven v. Democratic Underground 
  • Successfully defended Amazon.com's 1-Click® patent just in time for the 1999 holiday shopping season
  • Successfully defended Elan Pharmaceuticals' patents on transgenic mice
  • Handled the largest Internet merger in history (VeriSign's $21 billion acquisition of Network Solutions) and the largest software merger in history (Symantec's $13 billion acquisition of VERITAS)
  • Handled one of the largest collection of data and records in a civil case, which ultimately led to one of the largest IP litigation settlements in history, a $400 million recovery for our client Compuware
  • Developed innovative due diligence technologies, post-closing integration processes and alternative billing arrangements for serial acquirers upon our selection as Cisco Systems’ primary outside corporate counsel

Fenwick Today

With more than 300 attorneys and 500 employees firm-wide, we have nationally ranked practices in complex financial and commercial transactions, intellectual property protection and licensing, mergers and acquisitions, “bet-the-company” litigation, domestic and international tax planning and tax controversies. And because technology companies were some of the first to tackle globalization, Fenwick has handled international outsourcing, IP prosecution and enforcement, foreign investment, acquisitions and international tax issues for our clients continuously since the 1980s.

Perhaps our greatest legacy and the reason for our continued success is the quality of our people and the culture on which Fenwick & West was built. Our lawyers possess a deep understanding of the technology and science behind our clients’ businesses and, as a firm, we have always been committed to delivering the highest level of service in the most efficient, effective way possible, while maintaining a collegial and collaborative environment based on mutual respect.

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