For more than four decades, Fenwick & West 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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Mountain View Office
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
San Francisco Office
555 California Street
San Francisco, CA 94104
1191 Second Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
Fenwick & West is deeply entwined with the history and growth of the software industry and remains one of the most active and sought after law firms in the nation by both emerging and leading software companies.
As an industry pioneer, we negotiated one of the first software license agreements with then 19-year old Bill Gates. We also created the first “shrinkwrap” license agreement in 1976 and created the first software “clean room” protocols which later became the industry standard. We have also created additional financing, tax, copyright, patent, trademark and trade secret protocols that have helped our software clients grow into some of the largest companies in the world.
Today, we continue to represent software companies at all stages of development, from entrepreneurs to public corporations, as well as the industry’s leading investors and underwriters. Our full range of legal services, include:
With more than four decades of experience, it’s no surprise that software leaders and emerging innovators continue to choose Fenwick to help them build value and retain ownership over their products.
Fenwick has deep and long-standing relationships with the most active venture capitalists focused on the software industry. We know better than almost any other law firm how the venture community works – everything from which investors are specifically interested in your technology and stage of growth, to when it makes sense to remain independent or pursue and IPO or merger. We can also provide you with guidance on business model issues, fundraising strategy and development of quality investor materials suitable for meaningful evaluation.
For more than forty years our attorneys have diligently worked to enforce and defend the intellectual property rights of software companies. Software companies of all sizes rely on us for advice and representation in all areas of intellectual property, including patent, licensing, copyright, trademark, and trade secret.
We have handled some of the earliest watershed software intellectual infringement battles, including Lotus v. Borland; Apple Computer v. Microsoft; A&M v. Napster; Adobe v. Macromedia and Brown Bag Software v. Symantec. We were named a “Go-To” law firm for litigation by The American Lawyer and are one of the top-dozen firms that Fortune 400 companies rely on for IP litigation and counseling, according to IP Worldwide.
We have one of the most active and highly ranked M&A practices in the nation and have represented software companies in over 200 buy-side or sell-side acquisitions. We have acted as counsel in many of the most important software mergers, including Macromedia’s $3.4 billion merger with Adobe Systems; VERITAS’ $3.4 billion acquisition of Seagate Software; Opsware’s $1.6 billion acquisition by Hewlett-Packard; MySQL’s $1billion acquisition by Sun Microsystems; and Intuit’s $1.35 billion acquisition of Digital Insight.
As a Silicon Valley-based firm with a significant market share of software companies, we were one of the first law firms in the world to confront Open Source issues. Nearly four decades later, our attorneys have acquired vast experience in guiding clients of all sizes—from Open Source start-ups to Fortune 500 companies—on navigating the complex issues of Open Source and IP ownership.
Many of our attorneys have backgrounds in programming, computer science, electrical engineering or business that enables us to provide software companies with practical and sound representation. This combined legal and technical expertise means we will provide you with advice that is efficient, relevant and in consideration of your unique business environment.
Our culture promotes cross-practice collaboration, so whether your needs involve mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, litigation, tax, licensing, antitrust or benefits, our attorneys are committed to working together to make available to you all the necessary resources to address any legal issue.
We offer a systemized approach to connecting our software clients with the appropriate investors based on stage of development, technology and amount/stage of investment. We represent privately-funded software companies at all stages of development, from those seeking seed or angel financing to more established companies seeking late-stage funding.
Fenwick has been working with rapidly growing companies at the forefront of innovation for more than four decades and we will work diligently to enforce and defend all of your intellectual property rights.
At Fenwick, we pride ourselves on delivering best-in-class legal services in a highly efficient and effective manner to companies of all sizes. Continually ranked as one of the top U.S. law firms for client service, we have numerous mechanisms for receiving and acting on client feedback to improve client service. Whether you are an industry leader or an emerging company, you deserve—and will receive—the same attention to detail, efficiency, cost-containment and personal attention for which we have become known.