KC law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon will open an office in Seattle

Shook, Hardy & Bacon plans to open an office in Seattle and has hired the former chief patent counsel at Microsoft Corp. to run it.

The law firm said Wednesday that Bart Eppenauer has been named a partner and will oversee the Dec. 1 opening of the office.

Eppenauer has been Microsoft’s chief patent attorney since 2003 and helped develop the software firm’s portfolio of more than 35,000 patents worldwide. He also managed more than 100 patent professionals at Microsoft.

Before joining the software giant in 1997, Eppenauer was an associate at Shook Hardy for three years in its intellectual property practice.

“Getting Bart is a real coup,” said John Murphy, chairman of the Kansas City-based law firm.

Eppenauer at first will be the only lawyer in the Seattle office, but Murphy said he expects the practice there to expand gradually.

Shook Hardy already provides legal services for Microsoft, which is based in Redmond, Wash., and assists several other clients in the Pacific Northwest. The firm has 58 attorneys in its intellectual property group.

The Seattle office will be Shook Hardy’s ninth in the United States and 11th worldwide. The firm has 460 lawyers, including 295 in the Kansas City area.