Earning victories for patent applicant Bernard Bilski and software company i4i LP in two of last year's most prominent intellectual property battles, among other achievements, has made Finnegan one of Law360's IP Groups of 2010. Finnegan has defended lucrative drugs from generic competition on behalf of clients like Eli Lilly and Company, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, IPR Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Shionogi & Co., and advocated for others including Rambus Inc. and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., garnering wins in federal appeals and district courts as well as in the U.S. International Trade Commission. Finnegan was front and center in one of the most highly anticipated rulings in a patent case in 2010 when the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on Bernard Bilski and fellow patent applicant Rand Warsaw's challenge to the rejection of a business method patent. Though the U.S. Supreme Court held that Bilski and Warsaw's bid for a patent for a method for hedging risks in commodities trading was too abstract, the majority held that business methods were not excluded from patent protection. Even though the high court didn't revive the Bilski patent application, the decision amounted to a win for patent owners in general, said Finnegan partner J. Michael Jakes
, who argued to the Supreme Court on Bilski and Warsaw's behalf. The Supreme Court's decision essentially returned to the status quo before the Federal Circuit’s decision, Jakes said, adding that a broader decision excluding business methods from eligibility from patent protection would have stifled some would-be inventors. Another patent infringement case that made headlines in 2010 and a win for Finnegan was i4i's suit against software giant Microsoft Corp. In the i4i case — as in the Bilski case — Finnegan got involved after the trial court proceedings had run their course. i4i sought Finnegan's help after Microsoft appealed a $290 million judgment and permanent injunction levied against it in district court. Even at the district court level, Finnegan's lawyers think ahead to what might happen if and when an appeal materializes, noted Finnegan partner Charles Lipsey
. “We try our cases with an eye toward appeal," Lipsey said. "It doesn't do any good to get a nonsustainable judgment."