In 2001, Wong, Cabello, Lutsch, Rutherford & Brucculeri LLP, a newly opened, intellectual-property law firm, found itself with Inventec as its anchor client. The Texas-based firm was tasked with defending the high-tech manufacturer against a six-patent lawsuit put forth by Samsung. “We had great success against Samsung,” says David Cabello, founding partner of Wong Cabello. “Inventec was sued under six of Samsung’s patents and we managed to invalidate five out of those six patents in the course of all of the pretrial work.” In the end, Samsung offered Inventec a license on very reasonable terms. “Samsung was sure they were going to crush Inventec and when they didn’t, and had lost five of their patents in the process, even before the trial, they decided to settle,” Cabello chuckles. “You could say the firm started on a high note.”
In July of 1983, after graduating with high honors, Cabello started working as an attorney for Arnold, White & Durkee where he would first encounter Russell Wong, Lou Bruccleri, and Keith Rutherford—three of the men he would later partner with. By 1987, Cabello had joined Compaq Computers as a patent attorney and through a series of promotions, ultimately became senior vice president, general counsel, and secretary. “I left Compaq after 11 years and held a couple of general-counsel jobs for start-ups,” Cabello says. “At some point, I decided it was time to start my own firm as many of the boutique intellectual-property law firms had been acquired by larger general law firms and our prospective clients told us that there was a real need for a law firm that focused solely on intellectual-property issues.”Cabello had not originally intended to go into law; he attended Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. “I began work as an electrical engineer at Brown and Root, and was licensed as a professional engineer in the state of Texas,” he explains. “I was later licensed as a professional engineer in California as well, and worked as an electrical engineer for six years before deciding to attend law school.” Cabello chose to pursue his law degree at South Texas College of Law in night classes while continuing to work as an engineer at Jacobs Engineering Group.
Today, Wong Cabello specializes in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. “We have a mix of patent and trademark prosecution and litigation,” adds Cabello. The firm also makes a point of being extremely proactive in client counseling, meaning they work with the client to craft a budget-sensitive solution to the clients’ needs. “Given that we all have in-house backgrounds, all of the partners understand the budget pressures that our in-house colleagues face,” explains Cabello. “Many times we find that clients are building a patent portfolio without any sort of strategic vision. In these cases, we do patent application work for them and start talking to them about pulling together a strategy for protecting their intellectual property.” As patent applications are very expensive, Cabello and his team encourage their clients to only go after patents they can ultimately police and enforce.
Despite spending much of his time in court arguing cases, and often being bogged down by office work, Cabello has found ways to give back since the beginning of his law career. “A few years ago, I funded a scholarship for Hispanic engineering students at Texas A&M University and have been very active with Our Lady of Guadalupe School,” he says. “I’ve also been on five mission trips with Faith in Practice over the past five years providing medical services and medicine to disadvantaged villages in Guatemala.”
But ultimately, it is not Cabello’s successes in the courtroom, large clients, or even his charity work that has made him most proud—it is his daughters, one of whom has recently joined Wong Cabello. “Raising my daughters and seeing them grown into confident and capable lawyers is the greatest highlight of my career so far,” he says. “Being a dad is my most important job.”