March 1, 2016 - 12:35pm

As reported by the American Lawyer, Michael Abernathy, who was one of five leaders of K&L Gates’ IP section and until last week a member of the firm’s management committee, has joined Morgan Lewis in Chicago with three other partners.   Abernathy’s K&L Gates colleagues making the move to Morgan Lewis include litigation partner Sanjay Murthy, who, like Abernathy, has experience before the U.S Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the U.S. International Trade Commission, federal district courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Murthy has spent nearly his entire career at K&L Gates, having joined the firm in 2009 after it absorbed Chicago-based Bell, Boyd & Lloyd, where Abernathy also once worked.Christopher Betti, a patent attorney with a Ph.D. in molecular biology who spearheaded K&L Gates’ “biosimilars” practice, will now advise companies at Morgan Lewis on the regulatory approval and protection of pharmaceutical products known as follow-on biologics. Betti began his career as a Morgan Lewis associate in 2005, joining K&L Gates predecessor Bell Boyd a year later. Amanda Williamson, a former Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan associate who joined K&L Gates as a partner two years ago this month, has also joined Morgan Lewis. She focuses her practice on handling IP trials before various U.S. district and appellate courts.The four new hires are the second significant lateral acquisition by Morgan Lewis in Chicago in two months, bringing the firm’s office to 54 lawyers. In late January, the firm welcomed two commercial litigation partners from McDermott Will & Emery in Elizabeth “Beth” Herrington and Mark Altschul. Herrington had served on McDermott’s compensation committee. Morgan Lewis’ national IP practice now has about 170 lawyers and other professionals, the firm said.

It has been a back and forth year for K&L, which has brought on partners while closing offices overseas and in Washington State.