Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi
Aaron Fahrenkrog is a wannabe chemical engineer-turned-trial attorney who is gaining notice for his patent trial work at the Minneapolis firm of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi.
“An engineer working on patent cases is not unique,” said Christopher Larus, Fahrenkrog’s supervisor at Robins Kaplan. “But Aaron’s application of engineering principles to litigation extends beyond simply understanding specific technologies. Aaron applies process engineering principles to develop a front-to-back paradigm and design for complex litigation.”
Larus said Fahrenkrog’s approach has had a measurable impact in intellectual property law since he graduated from the University of Iowa Law School in 2006 and joined the firm as an associate. Now a principal at the firm, Fahrenkrog is keeping his law firm at the forefront of rapidly changing damages case law, Larus said.
The result: “Aaron has participated in preparing damage models exceeding a billion dollars and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in patent litigation,” Larus said.
One example is Fahrenkrog’s role in Advanced Micro Devices Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co. Limited in California. In their dispute over nanotechnology, the parties sued one another for alleged infringement of 13 patents with more than $1 billion of potential damages at stake.
During the nearly three years of litigation, Fahrenkrog represented AMD on three of its six asserted patents. He helped push the case past summary judgment and on to trial. After two rounds of mediation, the parties reached a confidential settlement in January 2011.
More recently, Fahrenkrog was lead counsel for AMD in a patent infringement case involving computer chips and power management integrated circuits. Less than a year after the suit was filed, he won a judgment of non-infringement that was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in January 2014.
Despite his legal successes, Fahrenkrog’s entry into patent law was serendipitous. Nearing the end of his undergraduate schooling in chemical engineering, Fahrenkrog began considering a career shift when the job market for chemical engineers dried up around 2000. He decided to pursue patent law after heard a patent attorney talk at a speaker’s program about how his job drew upon both math and science.
“I like applying the analytical principles in chemical engineering to the law,” Fahrenkrog said.