Former Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons Jr. consults on various corporate and intellectual property matters. He served on the Delaware Court of Chancery from 2003 to 2015.
With a focus on alternative dispute resolution, his practice draws on his past experience as a judge and as a mediator and arbitrator in various types of business and intellectual property disputes.
Since rejoining Morris Nichols in 2016, Don has mediated and arbitrated dozens of disputes involving IP licenses, mergers and acquisitions, business divorces, fiduciary duty claims, and other commercial disputes, many of which have IP-related aspects. He also advises on matters of corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, alternative entities, and corporate and business litigation.
In his 12-year judicial tenure on the renowned business court, Don issued hundreds of decisions and rulings addressing significant questions concerning corporation law; alternative entities; trademarks, trade secrets and other forms of intellectual property; patent licensing; and other complex commercial matters. He presided over many high-profile cases in a range of areas, including, Third Point v. Ruprecht, a challenge to Sotheby’s adoption of a novel “poison pill” takeover defense during a proxy contest; In re Bear Sterns Companies, Inc., a class action challenge to the then-proposed merger of Bear Stearns and JPMorgan brokered with the assistance of the Federal Reserve and the Department of the Treasury in March 2008 at the inception of the subprime mortgage crisis; In re Cogent, Inc., addressing the validity of rapidly developing transaction structures and “deal protection” provisions in negotiated public company merger agreements; Zucker v. Andreessen, a derivative case challenging the severance benefits paid by Hewlett-Packard to its CEO following his unexpected termination; PharmAthene v. Siga, which resulted in an approximately $195 million damages award for breach of a binding agreement to negotiate a pharmaceutical patent license in good faith; and numerous cases involving the governance of private and publicly traded alternative entities, such as Twin Bridges v. Draper, Zimmerman v. Crothall, In re Encore Energy Partners, and In re K-Sea Transportation Partners.
Former Vice Chancellor Parsons is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb). In 2016, he was awarded a CIArb diploma in international arbitration. He has also been certified in commercial law arbitration by the Delaware State Bar Association (DSBA). From 2013 to 2017, he served as a member of the Governing Council of the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section, and he currently chairs that Section’s Business Law Advisors Committee. Don also serves as a judicial advisor and drafting team member of the Sedona Conference’s Working Group 12 on Trade Secrets. From 2009 to 2010, he served as president of the American College of Business Court Judges. In 2009, he became a fellow of ASTAR (Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center), completing several in-depth science, technology and forensics courses.
Parsons also has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® as a leading Delaware attorney for Arbitration and Mediation, most-recently named 2019 Arbitration “Lawyer of the Year” in Delaware. In 1999, while he was president of the DSBA, Don helped create the award-winning Combined Campaign for Justice to provide legal services for those in need.