Kelly IP

WTR Research

The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise.

Gold - Firms: prosecution and strategy

Gold - Firms: enforcement and litigation

A tailormade strike force for prestigious clients, Kelly IP is a brands boutique that, in under a decade, has cemented its name as a top player. It has a uniquely collaborative culture in which lead relationship partners loop in colleagues to take on the tasks they are best suited to without concern for compensation-related issues. It’s an approach that places clients’ needs front and centre at all times and leads to optimal results, and that is made possible by an absence of the usual bureaucracies associated with BigLaw. Half of its 12 lawyers make the WTR 1000 cut this year, which attests to the quality of the team. Founding partner and redoubtable litigator David Kelly has an impeccable reputation and is unanimously hailed as one of the foremost trademark minds in the United States. Rob Litowitz “gives you a wonderful sense of confidence when he’s in your corner”: “Rob is a master strategist who goes above and beyond to get great results. He is reasonably aggressive, an excellent out-of-the-box thinker and an articulate and persuasive strategist.” Fellow litigator Jason Joyal is likewise “incredible to partner with. He communicates complex legal matters clearly, understands the business side of things and is always available and responsive”. One of the stars of prosecution and TTAB practice, Lynn Jordan is “more like a colleague than an external adviser. She is practical, user friendly, incredibly knowledgeable and a delight to deal with. There is no more suitable candidate for inclusion in the WTR 1000 – the same would be true if it were a top 10”. She links up to great effect with Stephanie Bald, a master of all trades when it comes to branding; together they offer wide-ranging support to Fortune 500 company Capital One, frequently liaising with top-level executives due to the high-profile nature of their assignments. Linda McLeod is another essential member of the team, given her insider insight as a former trademark examiner and TTAB judge – she knows how the USPTO works as well as anyone. Highlights for the firm during the review period include extensively assisting Disney and related companies (ABC, Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm) with clearance matters, oppositions and cancellations, enforcement and complex prosecution; and representing American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) in a trademark infringement suit against Walmart concerning AEO’s pocket stitching trademark for women’s jeans. The Disney work is supervised by Kelly, Jordan and McLeod; while on the AOE case are Bald, Litowitz and Joyal. In another recent highlight, the team won a permanent injunction and statutory damages for trademark counterfeiting to the tune of $10 million for BMW against Rheingold USA; BMW has instructed Kelly IP on a host of contentious matters in recent years.

Gold - Firms

Ms Linda K McLeod Mr David M Kelly Ms Stephanie Bald IP (Washington DC) Mr David M Kelly

Firm Profile

Kelly IP is an innovative boutique law firm focused on all aspects of trademark, trade dress, copyright, design, domain name and unfair competition law. The founding partners of Kelly IP – Dave Kelly, Rob Litowitz, Linda McLeod, Lynn Jordan and Stephanie Bald – all recognised leaders in the trademark field and known for their creative, practical responsive and cost-effective advice. In launching Kelly IP in 2013, they leveraged their 110 combined years of ‘Big Law’ IP experience – including leading hundreds of civil litigations; thousands of oppositions and cancellations; sending thousands of demand letters; filing hundreds of UDRP complaints; clearing thousands of marks; filing, prosecuting and maintaining tens of thousands of trademark applications and registrations – and created a firm with a collaborative, team-orientated approach.

Kelly IP immediately established an international reputation by scoring significant litigation victories in trademark cases before courts and TTAB, counselling on cutting-edge issues for many of the world’s most famous brands and being recognised as a leading firm in various areas, including civil and TTAB litigation, online enforcement, portfolio management, trademark clearance, counselling in the entertainment industry. Kelly IP has been consistently recognised as a top firm for contentious and non-contentious trademark work, including the following awards and accolades:

  • WTR 1000 – Gold Tier recognition as one of the top US trademark firms in the country (2018-2021), and one of the top firms in the Washington DC area for both trademark litigation and prosecution (2015-2021);
  • IP Stars – nationally ranked as one of only several Tier 1 US firms for both trademark litigation (2017-2021) and trademark prosecution (2018-2021);
  • The Legal 500 – named to Tier 1 of US firms for both “trademark litigation” and “trademarks non-contentious” (2020-2021), and ranked among the top 10-15 US firms for both trademark categories for 2015-2019;
  • Managing Intellectual Property – national award for the top US firm for non-contentious trademark work for both 2017 and 2018;
  • Law 360 – recognised as one of the top 10 boutique law firms in the country, and commenting that “the founders’ reputations as big players at a big firm allowed the new boutique to become an instant power”.

Indeed, Kelly IP is one of only three law firms in the country for both 2020 and 2021 to be named in the elite top tier of trademark law firms by IP StarsThe Legal 500 and WTR 1000. The client feedback from these publications says it best:

  • “rights holders line up to sing the praises of Kelly IP, an elite boutique that makes it its mission to provide a flexible, agile and cost-effective service without comprising on quality”;
  • “despite coming into existence just a few years ago, Kelly IP has already cemented its position as one of the pre-eminent names in the trademark world”;
  • “established brand on par with the biggest firms”;
  • “a very bright, result-orientated ensemble [that] is hailed as knowledgeable, practical and commercial”;
  • “an amazing firm that does impeccable work at a fraction of the cost that you would expect given its quality”;
  • “the place to go for big-ticket disputes”;
  • “a top-shelf trademark counselling and litigation practice”;
  • “[Kelly IP’s] high-quality work inspires confidence time after time”;
  • “what makes its group of all-stars super-competitive is that you receive a world-class service at a significantly reduced rate – you get so much for your money”;
  • “it is fantastic at clearing marks and is especially adept in the entertainment sphere”;
  • “excels in prosecution, clearance and opposition proceedings for high-profile clients”;
  • [Kelly IP’s] “truly outstanding” attorneys are “the finest in the world”;
  • [The Kelly IP] “team [has]… a combined track record so extensive that they have seen almost every conceivable type of issue and can advise their clients accordingly”; and
  • “Kelly IP provides in house counsel with a wealth of practical IP experience. They approach IP issues strategically and offer creative solutions”.

All of Kelly IP’s partners have similarly received numerous individual recognitions and honours from these organisations. Now in its eighth year, Kelly IP continues evolving to meet demands of the changing IP landscape disrupted by new technologies. Most of all, Kelly IP remains true to its founding principle of partnering with clients to provide exceptional work and value.

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