Frank J. Azzopardi
  1. Partner

Mr. Azzopardi is head of Davis Polk’s IP & Tech Transactions Group. He has extensive experience counseling clients on intellectual property, technology and media-related issues arising from corporate transactions. Mr. Azzopardi advises on transactions across industries and markets involving the commercialization of intellectual property and technology such as complex licensing and supply arrangements, asset sales, joint ventures, collaborations and rights agreements, reorganizations and spinoffs. He also consults in connection with intellectual property disputes, especially in the area of copyrights, trademarks, passing off and licensing disputes. Mr. Azzopardi is regarded as a leading intellectual property lawyer by publications such as the National Law Journal, Legal 500 U.S. and IAM Patent 1000.

Among others, he has recently advised Comcast, NBCUniversal, Baker Hughes, Related, BDT Capital, Bertelsmann, Maersk, Spirit Airlines, The Ferrero Group, VF Corporation, Emerson, McKesson, Roche and University of Michigan.

See “The Name Game: Fund Firms Scramble for Monikers They Can Call Their Own,” The Wall Street Journal, October 2, 2012, and “Facebook’s Flotation,” The Economist, April 24, 2012.

Work Highlights

TMT Representations
  • Comcast on its:
    • settlement of various long-standing and high-profile patent infringement lawsuits and related proceedings with Xperi and its affiliates
    • agreement with The Walt Disney Company regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership interest in Hulu
    • agreement to acquire 51% ownership of Universal Studios Japan
    • creation of its NBCUniversal joint venture
  • NBCUniversal on its:
    • approximately $3.8 billion acquisition of DreamWorks Animation
    • acquisition of Microsoft Corporation’s 50% share of the MSNBC Digital Network joint venture, including negotiation of a complex set of post-closing commercial arrangements
  • Bertelsmann on its:
    • creation of the world’s largest trade book publishing company, Penguin Random House
    • proposed $2.2 billion acquisition of Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS 
    • acquisition and sale of its 50% interest in SonyBMG
  • Symphony Technology Group-led consortium on its $2.075 billion acquisition of RSA from Dell
  • Clarivate Analytics plc on its $950 million acquisition of Decision Resources Group
  • SS&C on its acquisition of Algorithmics Assets from IBM
  • PwC in connection with its global collaboration with Google in the enterprise solutions area
  • Getty Investments on the $3.3 billion acquisition of Getty Images, Inc.
  • Symantec on its acquisition of the authentication and identity security business of VeriSign 
  • Baidu in connection with its majority investment in Qunar
  • Harvard University in its agreement with Google, allowing Google to digitally index certain book collections of Harvard’s library and make them full-text searchable via free online access
Airline and Transportation Representations
  • Delta Air Lines and certain of its subsidiaries, including SkyMiles IP Ltd., on $9.0 billion of financings secured by Delta’s SkyMiles Program which involved drafting and negotiating contribution agreements, complex license agreements and other intercompany arrangements for managing the intellectual property assets
  • Spirit Airlines, Inc. on a $850 million Rule senior notes offering involving drafting and negotiating contribution agreements, complex license agreements and other intercompany arrangements for managing the intellectual property assets. 
  • Citibank in its pre-purchase of AAdvantage frequent flyer miles from American Airlines as part of an amendment and extension of the existing Citi/AAdvantage credit card agreement
  • Aeroméxico on its $1 billion debtor-in-possession financing
  • Lenders in LATAM Airlines’ $2.45 billion debtor-in-possession financing
  • Kitty Hawk Corporation on its formation of a strategic partnership with Boeing
  • A.P. Møller – Maersk on forming a broad strategic relationship with IBM to provide more efficient and secure methods for conducting global trade using blockchain technology

Industrial Representations
  • Baker Hughes on its:
    • combination with GE Oil & Gas
    • series of agreements that amend its commercial relationships with General Electric Company in connection with GE’s separation from BHGE
    • purchase of a minority stake in and strategic partnership with C3.ai
  • Emerson on its acquisition of Intelligent Platforms, a division of General Electric
  • ABB on its $2.6 billion acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions
Consumer Products / Retail Representations
  • VF Corporation on its:
    • $2.1 billion acquisition of Supreme Holdings, Inc.
    • $820 million acquisition of Williamson-Dickies
    • $2 billion acquisition of The Timberland Company
  • Natura Cosméticos on its all-share acquisition of Avon Products
  • The Ferrero Group on its $1.3 billion acquisition of Kellogg Company’s cookie, fruit and fruit-flavored snack, ice cream cone and pie crust businesses from Kellogg
  • Snark Park Hudson Yards LLC, a joint venture between The Related Companies/Oxford Properties Group and Snarkitecture, Inc., on its official Sponsorship Arrangement with American Express Travel Related Services Company
  • Related Companies in connection with various sponsorship agreements for Hudson Yards precinct
  • Dean Foods on the sale of substantially all of its assets to six acquirers, including Dairy Farmers of America
  • The lender on a $100 million incremental term loan facility provided to Transform SR Holdings LLC, which involved advising on structuring the collateral package with respect to the “SEARS” trademarks and negotiating a complex, exclusive trademark license agreement for use of the “SEARS” trademarks by certain non-retail businesses of Sears
  • University of Michigan in connection with an athletic apparel sponsorship arrangement with Nike. Nike will be designated as the exclusive supplier and sponsor of athletic footwear, apparel, accessory and equipment products for the majority of the University’s varsity athletic programs
  • Citigroup in connection with the intellectual property and technology aspects of its joint venture with Morgan Stanley that combined Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management Group and Citigroup’s Smith Barney retail brokerage units in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia into a new entity, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Healthcare Representations
  • McKesson Corporation in connection with its creation of a new healthcare information technology company, which will combine substantially all of Change Healthcare Holdings, Inc.’s business and the majority of McKesson Technology Solutions into a new company
  • Shire plc on the $2.4 billion sale of its Oncology business to Servier S.A.S.
  • Roche on its acquisition of BioImagene and Tensha Therapeutics

Recognition

  • National Law Journal – “Intellectual Property Trailblazer,” 2018
  • The Legal 500 U.S. lists Mr. Azzopardi as a recommended lawyer and recognizes Davis Polk as a leading firm in Intellectual Property: Patent Licensing and Transactional Law.
  • IAM Patent 1000 recognizes Mr. Azzopardi for his work in media, finance, healthcare and information technology. He is noted as having a “strong foundation in intellectual property broadly and is a good fit for negotiations encompassing the transfer of brands and patents.”

Of Note

  • Speaks regularly on a variety of topics, including most recently Davis Polk's webcast, "An Evolving Market: Key IP Issues for M&A Transactions."
  • Mr. Azzopardi was a panelist at the Harvard Asia Business Conference at Harvard Business School on February 28, 2016, where he presented on IP and technology issues in cross-border matters involving Asian territories.
  • On December 13, 2013, Melbourne Law School conducted a Q&A with Mr. Azzopardi. Read the Q&A >
Memberships
  • Member, Board of Directors, probono.net
  • Member, Board of Directors, The Campaign for the University of Melbourne
  • Vice President, Board of Directors, University of Melbourne USA Foundation

Professional History

  • Partner, 2008-present
  • Associate, Davis Polk, 2001-2008
  • Associate, Allens Arthur Robinson, 1998-2001

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York

Education

  • B.Com., University of Melbourne, 1996
  • LL.B., University of Melbourne Law School, 1997
    • with honors