Former GE Oil & Gas IP Head and Disney IP Executive Join Chadbourne & Parke's Expanding IP Group

Additions of Stephen Manetta and Rajappan "BG" Balagopal Continue IP Expansion with High Profile, Former In-House Hires

May 18, 2010, 14:01 ET from Chadbourne & Parke LLP

NEW YORK, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The international law firm of Chadbourne & Parke LLP announced today that Stephen Manetta has joined the Firm's intellectual property group as counsel in the New York office. He comes to Chadbourne from General Electric Company.

At GE, Mr. Manetta was Head of the IP Department at the company's Oil & Gas Division.

Chadbourne also announced that it has hired former Walt Disney Company IP Executive Rajappan ("BG") Balagopal in the Firm's Los Angeles office as a Senior IP Strategist for the group. At Disney, he was Vice President, Technology Intellectual Property Management and was in charge of patent strategy across all of Disney's product lines.  

Mr. Manetta, 47, spent nearly four years with GE in Florence, Italy. In that role, he defined and executed worldwide IP strategy for oil and gas operations, implementing and advancing IP development and protection.  Mr. Manetta has experience managing all aspects of intellectual property, from portfolio building to licensing, to litigation, both in the U.S. and internationally.  He also brings considerable IP experience in computer and software technologies, electronics and medical devices. With a background in energy-related work, he will also boost Chadbourne's renewables practice.  

"With Stephen, the Firm continues its acquisition of top-notch talent to expand our IP group," said Chadbourne Managing Partner Charles K. O'Neill. "His experience in high-technology issues complements our strengths in information technology, digital media and financial services. He also allows the IP practice to further respond to the needs of clients in the renewable energy industry."

Mr. Manetta's hiring follows on the heels of IP laterals Duane Valz, former VP & Associate General Counsel, Global Patents at Yahoo! Inc.; Ken Johnson, former Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLP's Chief Patent Counsel; Chuck Fish, former Time Warner Inc. Chief Patent Counsel; and John A. Squires, former Goldman Sachs' Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. Additionally, the group recently added well known IP litigator John Hintz, who joined from Wilmer Hale, bringing a specialty in IP 'troll' litigation defense.

"Stephen's in-house experience and technology background continues Chadbourne's growth and technology diversification to provide leading edge experience to the diverse needs of our clients," said Walter Hanchuk, co-chair of Chadbourne's IP group. "Specifically, the experience he brings from the energy sector further enhances our practice in such areas as renewable energy and next generation vehicles."

"Clients continue to want advice and counsel from their outside firms partnering with and as an extension of their in house attorneys," added practice co-chair John A. Squires. "Stephen brings us and our diverse client base additional experience in energy -- another key industry -- to benefit from."

During his more than 15 years of doing IP work, he has also been a partner at Morgan & Finnegan, LLP.

Mr. Manetta is a qualified electrical engineer with seven years experience as senior systems and lead software engineer. He is comfortable discussing, and advising on, complex technology issues.

Mr. Manetta received a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from Manhattan College in 1984 and a J.D. from Villanova University School of Law in 1993. He is registered to practice in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and is admitted in New York.  

With the hiring of Mr. Balagopal, Chadbourne continues its bi-coastal expansion of the Firm's IP practice. At Disney, he developed and implemented an enterprise-wide strategy to significantly expand the entertainment conglomerate's IP footprint beyond traditional copyright and trademark protection to patents. Prior to Disney, Mr. Balagopal was Director of Patent & Technology Transactions for Intel.  

"Our IP group's expansion in California has generated great excitement for us and for our clients," noted Mr. Squires. "With Duane Valz joining us in the fall from Yahoo! and now adding BG's technology and strategy experience, we have world-class talent in Chadbourne's ranks from two of the premier IP-focused companies on the West Coast."

Mr. Balagopal, 47, is a registered patent agent and has over 15 years of multi-industry commercial IP management experience, including IP assessment, operations and strategy; technology transfer and licensing and IP acquisitions and divestures.

He received B. Tech. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, and the University of South Florida, in 1984 and 1986, respectively. Mr. Balagopal is registered to practice in the USPTO.

About Chadbourne & Parke LLP

Chadbourne & Parke LLP, an international law firm headquartered in New York City, provides a full range of legal services, including mergers and acquisitions, securities, project finance, private funds, corporate finance, energy/renewable energy, communications and technology, commercial and products liability litigation, arbitration/IDR, securities litigation and regulatory enforcement, special investigations and litigation, intellectual property, antitrust, domestic and international tax, insurance and reinsurance, environmental, real estate, bankruptcy and financial restructuring, employment law and ERISA, trusts and estates and government contract matters. Major geographical areas of concentration include Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. The Firm has offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Mexico City, London (an affiliated partnership), Moscow, St. Petersburg, Warsaw, Kyiv, Almaty, Dubai and Beijing. For additional information, visit

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