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Microsoft yanks preferred status from Daddy Gates' old firm

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Microsoft will no longer seek regular legal counsel from a firm named after Bill Gates' father, after it was chopped from a list of regular suppliers.

K&L Gates has been removed from Microsoft's list of preferred providers following a comprehensive review, the company said, which saw Microsoft seek competitive bids. Microsoft narrowed a list of 16 potential suppliers down to 10 in the process.

No single factor was believed to be behind the decision to chop K&L Gates.

Attorneys for Preston Gates reportedly represented Microsoft during the long-running anti-trust case with the US government before the companies merged.

Though the law firm is losing its preferred-provider status, Microsoft said it would continue to work with it. The preferred provider program has been in place several years and used by Microsoft to consolidate a portion of its legal work and manage legal costs.

K&L Gates was apparently the result of the merger of multinational law firm Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, and Preston Gates & Ellis. The "Gates" part of the name was taken from William H. Gates Sr., father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Gates Sr. retired from the firm in 1998 with the K&L and Preston Gates & Ellis merger taking place in 2007.

K&L Gates' site said its intellectual property practice is one of the strongest in the nation, with more than 200 attorneys worldwide and experience in 47 of the US states. ®

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