Baker McKenzie LLP
Chicago-headquartered Baker McKenzie has unmatched commercial expertise and its trademark practitioners tap into this to great effect. This is certainly true of Chicago stalwarts David Davis
and Lisa Parker Gates
; they have spearheaded the development of cross-practice teams that are attuned to the industry-specific needs of clients, both domestically and abroad. Respected in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, Davis is “well versed in all aspects of trademark protection” and “always provides a variety of solutions to issues”. Moreover, he is “a pleasure to work with”. Parker Gates, who has assisted Fortune 100 companies in their rebranding efforts, is “a master of international trademark law” and “always resolves issues promptly”. “Her expertise is unquestionable – she handles problems efficiently and professionally every single time, without exception.”
Banner & Witcoff, Ltd
Bustling boutique Banner & Witcoff is “incredible in the trademark space”. It can deal with anything and everything, from protecting sweeping portfolios to securing wins in bet-the-company litigation. The former is the specialty of team chair Helen Hill Minsker
; she was entrusted with the worldwide portfolio of The Marmon Group at the start of 2016, handling the massive umbrella corporation’s 1,600 active marks and proving her worth as a versatile branding doyenne. The firm is also a contentious powerhouse and represented Converse in parallel cases at the International Trade Commission and the federal courts against several competitors. Christopher Renk
led the charge, winning laurels for his performances in this case and others: “He is an amazing trial attorney and a force of nature. He can make something very complicated sound clear and has this ability to get juries to resonate towards him.” He is also “friendly, highly professional and enjoyable to work with”.
Barnes & Thornburg LLP
Fielding practitioners with intimate knowledge of the intricacies of brand protection, and supported by the abundant resources of a multi-office commercial outfit, the trademark group at Barnes & Thornburg can tackle the thorniest instructions with ease. The practice has continued to expand through carefully vetted lateral hires, including Christopher Dolan
and John Gabrielides
from Brinks Gilson & Lione. Dolan possesses “incredibly deep experience in the enforcement of brands” and has seen virtually every type of trademark case under the sun. “He just gets the practical impact of legal problems and knows how to address them.” He co-authored an influential treatise on international trademark matters, while Gabrielides co-wrote an authoritative book on trademark litigation. Disputes are Gabrielides’s forte, but he also assists clients in developing effective worldwide protection strategies. “He is a top-notch lawyer with a bright and sharp business mind.” The same can be said of Michael Carrillo
, whose understanding of the commercial issues at the heart of any IP matter always keeps him on the same page as brand owners. He is backed up by Jonathan Froemel
, a deft enforcer of rights. A particularly active year before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) has only served to reinforce his contentious nous. Completing the set is the “tremendously knowledgeable and responsive” Melissa Vallone
, an adaptable all-rounder who serves as an adjunct professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law.
“Brinks Gilson & Lione is a wonderful IP boutique and a known leader in Chicago.” “Although most renowned for its patent work, it also possesses a tremendous trademark practice. Its depth of experience and level of clientele mean that it is certainly deserving of high accolades and its gold ranking.” It owes much to Jerome Gilson
– author of definitive treatise Gilson on Trademarks
– who laid the groundwork for the group’s successes over his 50-plus years of service. One peer commends him as “simply legendary”, while another states: “He is a personal hero of mine.” Jeffrey Handelman
is another revered authority in the branding world. Having written the two-volume Guide to TTAB Practice
, he has “a really robust practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)” and can also navigate the federal courts with his eyes closed. Esteemed veteran David Fleming
has “profound knowledge and takes a pragmatic approach to enforcement”. “Highly experienced as both a litigator and a counsellor, he gives excellent advice and is everything you would look for in a lawyer.” Howard Michael
is likewise well rounded in both disciplines and is particularly gifted at stamping out counterfeiting.
DLA Piper LLP (US)
“DLA Piper is a fantastic law firm and for trademark work it is one of the best out there.” Its extensive global reach gives the branding team access to unparalleled resources, with solutions to any international quandary only a phone call away. The Chicago squad boasts insightful expertise across a raft of industries and cares for a variety of dynamic marquee brands. Pharmaceuticals and restaurants are focal points for the “well-respected” Mark Feldman
, who is well read in all aspects of trademark law. “Responsible, intelligent and fun to work with”, he is “an outstanding lawyer who can assess practicalities and resolve matters to everybody’s satisfaction”. “His work product is always extremely strong and he is an active member of the community.” One peer professes: “His depth of knowledge makes me fear coming across him in a dispute.” Until recently, he oversaw the Chicago office, but has now passed the baton to the “highly skilled and articulate” Christina Martini
. “She is a trademark expert in all areas” whose “quality of work is of an exceedingly high level”. In addition, the erudite practitioner is “great on a personal level – she is both trustworthy and easy-going”. “A supreme trademark attorney” with a nuanced understanding of the hospitality and real estate industries, Keith Medansky
is another magnet for praise. The “wonderful litigator and magnificent strategist” is “exceptional at helping clients avoid bumps in the road in very challenging situations”.
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
The sophisticated trademark team at Drinker Biddle & Reath provides end-to-end branding solutions to a loyal following of prestigious patrons. Stellar client service is at the top of the group’s priorities and its practitioners are tireless in pursuing optimal results for rights holders. The “extremely bright and very competent” Darren Cahr
is one such professional. He is a jack of all trades, master of many – adept at both counselling and litigation, he also takes charge of the firm’s thriving advertising and promotions practice, which grants him a mile-high view of brand protection and development.
Greenberg Traurig LLP
A “top-tier” ensemble with a nationally recognised presence, Greenberg Traurig provides an impeccable service thanks to its immense size and resources. The breadth of its trademark know-how has grown significantly with each passing year; it has lately made a name for itself in the anti-counterfeiting and domain name spaces. The Chicago group packed a mean punch on behalf of Underwriters Laboratories in its fight against fakes. “Approachable and no-nonsense” Mark Galis
played a substantial role in this campaign, as well as in managing the worldwide portfolio of Blount International, a leading global manufacturer of outdoor products and industrial equipment. “The sheer number of clients that he cares for is valiant, yet he is great at managing their expectations because he has a high-level understanding of business concerns.” Jeffrey Dunning
is “excellent at juggling huge international portfolios” and has assisted in the development of a significant anti-counterfeiting programme for a multinational corporation. Rounding out the set is “very sharp lawyer” Marc Trachtenberg
, “one of the nation’s leading experts on domain names and internet-based trademark matters”.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
“Katten Muchin Rosenman is an elite law firm that provides tremendous value in its trademark services. The Chicago team in particular is very practical, down to earth and geared towards commercial realities – it really takes the time to understand your business and is interested in the issues that you face.” Co-head of the national IP group and trademark team, “thoughtful and incredibly wise” Floyd Mandell
is one of the country’s pre-eminent litigators. “He resolves complex contentious matters quickly and with fantastic results by taking a hard stance; however, he manages to become friends and connect with opposing counsel at the same time by getting them to see the client’s side of the dispute.” As testament to his skills, Mandell assisted Microsoft in the clearance of several hot new brands, including Lumia, Surface, Continuum and HoloLens. “His understanding of the law, circuit splits and emerging issues is unparalleled. He is the best out there.” Another contentious ace, Kristin Achterhof
, is “brilliant and fun to work with”; she wins acclaim for her “graceful and inspirational courtroom performances” and “congenial yet tough approach”. She is the trusted adviser of several tech titans, although she also serves clients across a swathe of other industries.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Although the New York trademark contingent of Kirkland & Ellis may make the most noise, its Chicago office is nevertheless a heavy-duty branding unit, too. Robin McCue
is its key player in the Windy City. She is a preferred choice for those seeking serious firepower in high-stakes trademark and false advertising litigation. Frequent collaborations with top-brass branding experts and abundant experience of advertising surveys accentuate the speed and effectiveness of her robust enforcement.
Leydig Voit & Mayer Ltd
“Leydig Voit & Mayer is a highly regarded firm for trademarks and has an illustrious list of clients.” Its full-service branding capabilities have earned the respect of competitors and patrons alike – not least thanks to the efforts of Mark Liss
, who offers “insightful advice on all aspects of soft IP matters, from prosecution to litigation to licensing, both domestically and internationally”. “Skilled at balancing the costs and benefits of taking a particular course of action”, he “responds with answers quickly and in a comprehensive manner that is grounded in the business model of his clients”. Tamara Miller
and Claudia Stangle
also maintain diverse practices and win plaudits for their day-to-day counselling and formidable enforcement nous. Miller is a dab hand at complex trade dress issues and has also played a critical role in vanquishing cybersquatters abroad. Likewise, Stangle reins in online transgressors with a sure hand, having emerged victorious in over 50 domain name disputes. Although principally focused on litigation, Kevin Parks
is another “all-around great”. “His organisational skills and ability to relate to clients are extraordinary and he is also so smart, yet humble.” Rounding off the accomplished set is Lynn Sullivan
, a feted guru in the international prosecution and maintenance of marks.
Loeb & Loeb LLP
Loeb & Loeb’s strategic nationwide network of offices is one of its greatest assets, giving the firm a wide breadth of expertise across multiple areas: the music industry is covered in Nashville, Washington DC is its hub for regulatory concerns, the Los Angeles contingent deals with all things entertainment and the Chicago and New York offices jointly tackle advertising issues. Exploiting synergies between these different disciplines is hugely advantageous for the trademark practice, allowing it to focus on clients’ holistic needs. “Stand-out branding attorney” Douglas Masters
“knows all the substantive areas of trademark law” and runs “a terrific practice, with great clients who love him”. “Intelligent and honourable”, he is “top-notch on service”. “Approachability for lawyers is underrated, but he is a brilliant lawyer and very friendly person – it’s enjoyable talking with him, mainly because he understands both business and the law.”
Boutique Marshall Gerstein continues to up the ante with its trademark practice; year on year it gathers increasing numbers of mega-brands under its wing. It is particularly attuned to cutting-edge technology and pharmaceutical-related matters. The latter are something of a specialty for chair Gregory Chinlund, an analytical all-rounder whose lateral thinking makes him a go-to for international brand protection. Another creative strategist, Marsha Hoover is a first port of call for financial services and video game companies. “She offers sensible solutions to complex matters, free of legal jargon. Always a joy to work with, you can have 110% confidence putting your portfolio in her expert hands.” The outfit’s thriving online disputes practice is deftly managed by “invaluable partner” Maureen Beacom Gorman. “She is thorough and tactical in her protection of valuable assets and possesses expertise in all areas of trademark law.” On top of her digital know-how, the contentious maven is adept at subduing counterfeiters. Richard LaBarge also boasts across-the-board knowledge and recently succeeded in the notoriously difficult task of registering a single overall product colour as a mark. In early 2016 he also took the lead on policing and enforcing Duracell’s worldwide brands.
The “very proactive” brand management team at Mayer Brown serves a host of multimillion-dollar enterprises and some of the world’s biggest household names. Notwithstanding this, it also delivers its “high-calibre services to smaller clients, which are treated with the same level of attention and detail that it provides to big clients”. Global team co-leader Michael Adams
is celebrated for the close relations that he fosters with patrons. His refined soup-to-nuts trademark practice includes online, e-commerce and advertising issues. “Much respected in the community – and an ever-growing leader within the International Trademark Association (INTA) – he is one of the most knowledgeable and responsive attorneys out there.” Richard Assmus
also wins ringing endorsements: he “listens to priorities well and understands business needs, which means that he executes his services in a way that is always appreciated by clients”. He is a sage counsellor and litigator; Nestlé recently relied on him to defend its Purina brand in a high-stakes false advertising case.
McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is famed for its perfect marriage of big-firm resources and expertise with small-firm service and attention to detail. Its close-knit practitioners work as if possessed of a single mind, while its key partners have worked arm in arm to secure victory in countless trademark battles the world over for more than 15 years. Many enthralled brand owners have remained with the firm for the same amount of time as a result of the trademark unit’s astute, personable approach; however, new customers are always queuing up outside its doors. “Incredibly practical negotiator” Jennifer Mikulina
brings the same level of service to new client Shape Magazine
, for which she acts as international IP counsel; her background in programming also attracts online and software companies. Margaret Duncan
is the Chicago office’s trailblazing litigator for heated spats. A straight-shooter who will never leave clients in the dark, she is representing long-time patrons RTP Company and Sunny Delight Beverages in trademark oppositions across a range of jurisdictions.
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP
With an ever-growing national presence and strong connections in every corner of the world, Neal Gerber & Eisenberg runs a highly sophisticated prosecution and clearance practice – especially for operators in the hospitality and consumer electronics sectors. Its enforcement capabilities also impress; it has acted for DRL Enterprises in one of the longest-running TTAB cases concerning several leading marks on the cigarette market. Trademark co-chair Antony McShane
takes the lead on this matter, but also puts in exemplary performances before the federal courts, where he has defended PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand. DRL Enterprises is also assisted by fellow practice leader Michael Kelber
, a “very pragmatic attorney” who is a natural at both trademark and trade dress protection. “He is really knowledgeable and has this great judgement from both legal and business viewpoints that anticipates problems before they arise.” “He fully understands clients’ business desires and risk tolerance, and is a true partner to them.” The well-networked Lee Eulgen
completes the trio as “a stand-out for domain name disputes”. His famed courtroom acumen has seen him defend Duracell in mission-critical litigation over its iconic pink rabbit mascot.
Norvell IP LLC
Norvell IP has made a splash on the soft IP scene with its bustling trademark and copyright practice. From the moment that a new brand is launched, the group will immediately swoop in to maximise its strength on the market. It accomplishes this principally through its hawkish monitoring of potential infringers; it regularly ranks among the top filers for opposition and cancellation proceedings. The “extraordinary” Joseph Kucala
cuts a dash on cross-border trademark and advertising issues, and is the trusted adviser of many prestigious multinationals. “He is a practical and strategic attorney who offers solid advice and is fantastic in litigation.” He is supported by fellow contentious high-flyer Tom Monagan
, who doubles as a skilled counsellor.
Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP
The staunch protection of vital brand assets is the raison d'être
of Pattishall McAuliffe. “A recognised leader in the trademark community that has been around forever, it sits among the strongest firms out there in terms of the level of clients that it attracts.” “Fully deserving of accolades and its gold ranking, it is especially well known for its top-notch litigation practice – it has historically been the firm that companies go to for their most demanding disputes and continues to be their first choice today.” Its talented practitioners are renowned authors, speakers, teachers and leaders in the field. Jonathan Jennings
holds all of these titles and more: “A practical strategist and communicator, he has a stunning breadth of knowledge – not just in traditional trademarks, but also in rights of publicity, for which he has helped to draft legislation.” The “collaborative and creative” Jennings also turns heads as an authority on online matters, unfair competition and grey-market issues. He is a go-to for major pharmaceuticals, as is Bradley Cohn
. “A remarkably skilled litigator with profound familiarity with all substantive issues”, Cohn recently secured a significant win for Bayer in a case that clarified US unfair competition law. The “first-rate” Phillip Barengolts
played an equally decisive role in the case, demonstrating his worth as a fierce and discerning litigator. Heavily involved in online governance from a policy perspective, he has been chosen to chair the North American Sub-committee of INTA’s Parallel Imports Committee for the 2016-2017 term. Recently appointed to INTA’s Trademark Reporter
Committee, Joseph Welch II
is “an excellent attorney whose incredibly deep understanding of trademark law covers all areas”. “Really intelligent, but not at all arrogant, he is a polished litigator and counsellor.” Janet Marvel
can handle any trademark matter under the sun; she has “a stellar reputation and is terrific with clients”. Seasoned trial attorney David Hilliard
is a font of branding expertise. From quashing trademark infringements to safeguarding designs and handling anti-counterfeiting suits, he has done it all in the courtroom. Robert Sacoff
is another ace at resolving disputes and has been a blessing for brand owners seeking peace of mind both domestically and internationally. The defence of rights in cyberspace is a forte and he has handled a plethora of Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) cases. Thad Chaloemtiarana
is also adept at dealing with issues in the digital realm, specifically in the pursuit of domain name squatters. The versatile attorney recently secured a permanent injunction for Robert Bosch in a multi-faceted case involving claims of trademark infringement, counterfeiting, false advertising and unfair competition. Rounding off the set is the “extremely intelligent and exceptionally eloquent” Brett August
, a trusted first port of call for high-tech clients; his “substantial branding knowledge” serves as the foundation of his outstanding client service.
Reed Smith LLP
An extensive geographical reach is one of Reed Smith’s key strengths, creating a deep pool of diverse collective knowledge and giving its trademark team access to a stock of strong commercial litigators for back-up when fraught disputes arise. The fort in Illinois is admirably held down by John Cullis
and Robert Browne
. “Excellent trial attorney” and “expert in trademarks” Cullis is principally known for “working on a lot of big TTAB disputes, with an excellent track record”. Browne also has a keen understanding of courtroom procedures, due to his years of experience operating across numerous venues. “He is a brilliant lawyer who has mentored many in the field.”
Winston & Strawn’s trademark group dispenses insightful 360-degree guidance and its cross-fertilised contentious and prosecution expertise gives clients a crucial advantage: it means that a mark will often be defended by the same individual who has overseen it since its inception. On top of this, the firm has carved out a niche in domain name, advertising and privacy matters. Global trademark chair Paul McGrady
is “on the shortlist of leaders when it comes to generic top-level domain names”. He is nationally renowned for his astute handling of issues involving the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN); as an active member of ICANN, he has played a vital role in policy development, too. Ronald Rothstein
keeps McGrady company in the Chicago office. He specialises in heavy-duty trademark and false advertising disputes, and recently secured a favourable settlement for Worldwide Diamond Trademarks against opponent Blue Nile in a multi-layered trademark, trade dress, design and patent suit.