Law360 Names Fish & Richardson Principal Craig Countryman an Appellate MVP

Fish & Richardson appellate litigator Craig Countryman has earned a spot among Law360's 2016 Appellate MVPs for his skillful legal writing and artistic ability to prepare arguments that helped persuade a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court to reject a rigorous two-part test courts use when awarding enhanced damages in patent cases.

Countryman, a principal in Fish's appellate practice and based in the firm's Southern California office, served as lead counsel in Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. a case addressing an important issue in patent law that saw the high court undisputedly hold the Federal Circuit's test (Seagate) for proving enhanced damages in infringement cases as "unduly rigid" and ultimately limiting to a judge's discretion. The decision will have an impact on many cases.

The win for Halo, Law360 noted, weighed heavily on the strength of Countryman's briefing.

"I've always loved legal writing; it's my favorite part of the job," Countryman told the publication. "It involves thinking of how to explain a case to the court in words, explaining the technology, how things fit together, trying to make really complicated facts simple and setting out a simple narrative."

In light of the high court's decision, Countryman will now work to convince the district court which has already awarded Halo $1.8 million that triple damages are warranted in the case.

The publication also highlighted the complexity and range of legal matters Countryman handles.

The 35-year-old attorney was recognized in 2016 as a Law360 Rising Star, becoming one of six attorneys nationally selected for the prominent list of lawyers under the age of 40.

Prior to law school, Countryman was a chemist and developed a new stereoselective synthesis of a pain-killing drug using an organocatalytic cycloaddition. He received his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law in 2006, and his B.S. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 2003. His background, Countryman says, influences his practice.