United States: Minnesota


  • Merchant & Gould
  • Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
  • Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Lathrop GPM
  • Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Robins Kaplan LLP
  • Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Stinson LLP

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Like many firms, Barnes & Thornburg covers every base when it comes to the protection and enforcement of trademark rights; however, its uncommon depth of specialisation in brands and understanding of how to maximise their commercial potential sets it apart from the competition. An IP powerhouse in the Midwest, and a national and international force, it fields an exceptionally versatile and high-quality team, which benefits from strong leadership. For guaranteed worldwide portfolio management services, look to Kenneth Suzan. His experience encompasses the full trademark lifecycle, making him the go-to counsellor locally. Moreover, his expertise in internet law and social media ensures that his advice is well-rounded.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP

Dorsey & Whitney is ahead of the game in terms of figuring out effective automation and ways to integrate AI so as to enhance efficiency; it has innovative minds in IP services and knowledge management director roles who have made significant contributions to its trademark practice. Dorsey also takes diversity seriously and its attorneys are given time to dedicate to diversity and inclusion initiatives. Not just for the quality of its trademark offering, then, it is highly rated by dynamic in-house departments looking for a contemporary service. Its cross-office trademark team is well-integrated and collaborative, but depth is apparent just by looking at the team in Minneapolis. Its senior figure is Elizabeth Buckingham, who sits on the management committee. “Highly experienced, super sharp and a top-notch lawyer able to handle any type of trademark matter,” Buckingham is a discerning choice for companies with complex priorities in competitive global markets. She is excellent at liaising with, and getting the best out of, foreign associates. Next-generation stars on the roster include Jamie Nafziger and Jeffrey Cadwell. Nafziger is an internet law and social media maestro with a passion for technology and a nuanced understanding of how its development affects brand protection. IP protector, enforcer and monetiser Cadwell is “efficient and organised and able to analyse problems and provide solutions quickly and concisely”. “Jeff writes extremely well and his search reports are well-drafted and easy to digest. He’s someone you can count on 100%.”

Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

Proficient in all aspects of trademark practice as well as marketing, advertising, media and copyright law, Faegre Baker Daniels brings comfort to, and inspires confidence in, busy in-house professionals who are under pressure from management and have too much on their plates. James Steffen’s presence gives the firm instant credibility in Minnesota. Steffen has long served as Target Corporation’s primary outside trademark counsel and was a key player in the formation of Target Brands, the company’s brand management subsidiary; he is also a rock for other market-leading companies headquartered in Minnesota. An experienced portfolio manager, superb strategist, astute litigator and advertising authority, Steffen is one of the best trademark lawyers in the country.

Fredrikson & Byron PA

Onboarding new portfolios, attracting new litigation instructions and becoming more nationally prominent as a destination for trademark services, Fredrikson & Byron is firing on all cylinders. The team appreciates how brands function in the business world and can step into clients’ shoes to give a pragmatic and commercial steer on matters, as opposed to simply giving the law. Especially good at this is Ann Dunn Wessberg, who has years of in-house experience on her CV, having served as chief trademark counsel to one of the largest US retailers. She has thrived throughout her nearly four years with the firm, giving on-point risk analyses and clearance advice to Target Brands and many others, alongside superb-quality filing, prosecution and portfolio management services. Such impressive experience outside private practice is shared by John Pickerill, a former advertising executive; steeped in the marketing and advertising world and an expert in trademark planning, prosecution and enforcement, he gives well-rounded advice to patrons. In terms of leadership, Fredrikson & Byron is well served by Cynthia Moyer and Lora Friedemann. Moyer previously chaired the associate development committee and continues to be looked to as a mentor; she is also a guiding light for clients, particularly in enforcement scenarios requiring TTAB expertise. Friedemann, who chairs the IP division, is a seasoned litigator with the most intricate knowledge of civil procedure rules; she puts the right provisions to use expeditiously and efficiently and knows how to play her cards right, whether in a settlement negotiation or jury trial.

Greenberg Traurig LLP

In February 2019, Greenberg Traurig opened it’s 30th US office, establishing itself in Minneapolis. Shortly after, Stephen Baird and colleagues switched to the firm from Winthrop & Weinstine, immediately creating a robust local trademark offering for it. Baird stands out as a counsellor unafraid to push boundaries and stick his neck out for those he represents. The thoughtful and creative strategist is an absolute must for those seeking distilled and to-the-point advice that addresses their brand-related problems head on. He fits his new surroundings well, given the entrepreneurial culture that pervades Greenberg Traurig.

Lathrop GPM

Lathrop GPM is enthusiastically endorsed for its global rights management prowess; the firm protects clients cost effectively and with a focus on the right strategy for a given task. This combination of efficiency and quality underpins the closeness of its relationships with marquee names such as Campbell Soup Company, whose portfolio of 4,000-plus marks across 160 countries it oversees, and Radisson Hospitality, to which it provides extensive daily counselling with respect to its hotel brands across 170-plus territories. Linking up to represent both are Jennifer Debrow and Ashley Bennett Ewald. Practice Chair Debrow “runs the team so effectively and provides a wonderful service”. Having represented many of her clients for decades – International Dairy Queen being a good example – she is a trove of knowledge, such that her advice is always invaluable. She understands her clients’ risk tolerance and what positions are reasonable to take, and avoids giving ‘on the one hand, on the other’-type advice. Ewald serves as quasi in-house counsel for Radisson, which provides her with a first-hand understanding of its commercial needs. On the transactional side of the practice, Lori Wiese-Parks is another key contact. Like Debrow, she started out as a corporate lawyer and brings a strong business background to trademark practice. She is a sought-after font of trademark expertise in the food industry. To meet the full needs of rights holders, Lathrop GPM has enhanced its litigation offering significantly in recent years, with Dean Eyler leading the charge. Eyler has a national reputation as an excellent litigation strategist with great recent results for International Dairy Queen (among others) to back that up.

Merchant & Gould

“An excellent IP firm that puts the emphasis on quality” is the verdict on Merchant & Gould, a venerable name with “a number of top trademark prosecution lawyers”. First to mind is Andrew Ehard, “an exceptional trademark strategist who gives business-focused advice” and is “a class apart” from his competitors. Also highly rated is trademark group chair Christopher Schulte, who deploys deep international knowledge and a carefully cultivated network of top-tier foreign associates to safeguard clients globally. Merchant & Gould meaningfully supports brand owners in many ways and manifests an impressive faculty for resolving IP disputes. Regular opponents, including one highly ranked New York lawyer, confide that Brent Routman “will always give you a run for your money”. There is much on his CV worth noting: he is an inventor and patent owner; has a background in commercial litigation; is experienced at directing IP traffic between the United States and Asia; and makes a significant contribution to the civic community. Scott Johnston is highlighted for his online enforcement litigation prowess; he is in demand as a counsellor, too, thanks to his ability to simplify complex IP matters for those with limited trademark law knowledge.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Norton Rose Fulbright’s US brands team, unlike groups at many other full-service commercial players, generates much of its own work rather than relying on the corporate group; it is, in fact, one of the leading exporters of work to other departments. The firm, then, takes brands seriously and it shows in the quality of the service and the long-term strategic thinking in which the team engages. Regularly called into the C-suite to counsel business executives, Timothy Kenny guides clients on portfolio, licensing, policing, enforcement and litigation matters with a deft commercial touch. Kenny, who heads the US brands group, is “a miracle worker for large trademark portfolio holders”. “Tim is unwaveringly client-focused and incredibly adept at coordinating international matters.” He has been instrumental in getting the firm’s international group operating as one cohesive unit, which is increasingly putting it in the frame for massive global mandates from leading multinationals. The firm recently unveiled Felicia Boyd as it’s new signing. The former Barnes & Thornburg litigation ace is a compelling advocate with an exemplary track record of summary judgement and trial wins.

Robins Kaplan LLP

Consistently excellent performance in high-stakes litigation is the hallmark of Robins Kaplan’s IP service. Leveraging a highly trained corps of trial lawyers and financial and other professionals, and utilising sophisticated project management tools, the firm shines in challenging lawsuits where trademarks intersect with other IP rights and complex commercial issues; clients come here with business problems, not simply with Lanham Act problems. Critical to the group’s success is trial experience and skill, which is demonstrated at every turn by chair of the national IP and technology litigation group Christopher Larus. The top advocate “provides practical, business-focused and strategic guidance for protecting brands that is instrumental in his clients’ commercial success. He coordinates everything precisely and does an excellent job.”

Stinson LLP

Well-thought of Midwest full-service ensemble Stinson is a popular choice among regional, national and multinational companies seeking an assured service across all phases of the trademark lifecycle. With Joel Leviton and Ruth Rivard on deck, the team acquits itself with distinction on both the non-contentious and contentious sides of the practice. The archetypal trusted adviser, Leviton works hand in glove with in-house trademark counsel not just to protect existing brands, but also to conceive and launch new ones. As a trial lawyer, Rivard is “the ultimate professional and a highly effective advocate for her client who is nonetheless fair and reasonable to deal with on the other side”.

Other recommended experts

Molly Eichten of Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren is “knowledgeable, proactive and responsive” and endorsed as “a quality lawyer who represents excellent value for money”. She has deep domain expertise in both technology law and trademarks and is an authority on matters arising at their intersection. “A leading trademark registration and enforcement attorney in the Twin Cities,” Patrick Gallagher flies the flag of Cozen O’Connor. In his busy practice, he carries the IP defence for a National Football League team; handles clearance and enforcement matters for a leading retailer; and solves domain name disputes for a multinational publishing and education company. Barbara Grahn serves as chair of Fox Rothschild’s esteemed trademark group. Having been in the practice for as long as she has, Grahn never loses sight of the business objective when undertaking trademark tasks for her many consumer goods and medical device clients. She is a whiz at cleaning up portfolios that are out of shape and highly effective in a deal context, too.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

  • Dean Eyler - Lathrop GPM
  • Scott W Johnston - Merchant & Gould
  • Timothy M Kenny - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Christopher K Larus - Robins Kaplan LLP
  • James R Steffen - Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
  • Felicia J Boyd - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Elizabeth C Buckingham - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Ashley Bennett Ewald - Lathrop GPM
  • Lora Friedemann - Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Cynthia A Moyer - Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Ruth Rivard - Stinson LLP
  • Brent Routman - Merchant & Gould
  • Ann Dunn Wessberg - Fredrikson & Byron PA

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

  • Stephen R Baird - Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • Elizabeth C Buckingham - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Jeffrey Cadwell - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • Jennifer C Debrow - Lathrop GPM
  • Andrew S Ehard - Merchant & Gould
  • Timothy M Kenny - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Christopher J Schulte - Merchant & Gould
  • James R Steffen - Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
  • Ann Dunn Wessberg - Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Felicia J Boyd - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Molly T Eichten - Larkin Hoffman Daly & Lindgren Ltd
  • Ashley Bennett Ewald - Lathrop GPM
  • Patrick J Gallagher - Cozen O’Connor
  • Barbara Grahn - Fox Rothschild LLP
  • Scott W Johnston - Merchant & Gould
  • Joel D Leviton - Stinson LLP
  • Cynthia A Moyer - Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Jamie Nafziger - Dorsey & Whitney LLP
  • John Pickerill - Fredrikson & Byron PA
  • Kenneth D Suzan - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Lori L Wiese-Parks - Lathrop GPM