United States - North Carolina

Firms

1
Alston & Bird LLP
Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Myers Bigel PA
2
Brinks Gilson & Lione
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
3
Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Withrow + Terranova
Wyrick Robbins
Alston & Bird LLP
As well as a robust national and international platform, Alston & Bird has a long-established group in North Carolina, which is known for delivering quality work and effectively servicing large corporations. Its local operations have seen no seismic changes in the past year; the group has remained firmly on top of software developments by playing a key role in industry organisations and representing those at the cutting edge, and has continued to offer blended high-level prosecution and litigation skills. Electrical and computer science guru Guy Gosnell is a complex problem solver, hailed as “extremely intelligent, thoughtful and thorough”. His professional peers seek to emulate his approach, while patrons note that: “Guy understands what companies are looking for and how to provide answers. He is very client oriented and, in spite of his senior position, he provides an outstanding day-to-day service.” The preparation and prosecution marvel represents McKesson Corporation and has recently been helping the healthcare leader resolve knotty Section 101 issues. Another astute portfolio manager with a flair for identifying and crafting commercially advantageous patents, Brian Ellsworth makes his debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. When litigation looms, Michael Connor is the man to call. “He puts together an excellent case and, by focusing on what matters at trial, he knows how to get to a good resolution as quickly as possible.”
Brinks Gilson & Lione
In late 2015, Chicago-based Brinks Gilson & Lione doubled the size of its Research Triangle Park office with the addition of attorneys from Womble Carlyle; since then, it has made the extra manpower count, expanding its chemical and life sciences practice significantly. Having also opened a Tampa office in 2016, the firm is not standing still and has become a force to be reckoned with in the Southeast United States. Leading light Allen Baum acts on behalf of chemical industry frontrunner BASF, as well as a diverse mix of smaller life sciences companies. Having worked as a pharmaceutical chemist, Baum has a sophisticated understanding of what happens in the lab and how to transform this into commercially relevant intellectual property. With his post-grant and transactional prowess, he makes for a perspicacious all-round counsellor.
Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt
Research Triangle Park boutique Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt makes its first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. The firm does a fantastic job supporting the ingenuity of research institutions and small businesses (as well as large enterprises) and arming them with valuable patent assets. Its sizeable team of 40-plus professionals operates deftly – and cost efficiently – across all technology areas. Life sciences entities should consult Arles Taylor and Christopher Perkins; Gregory Hunt and Kirby Turner are names to note on the high-technology side; while Jeffrey Wilson is the main mechanical man.
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is hard to beat for legal and technical expertise and the creativity with which it applies both. The Atlanta-headquartered national powerhouse has a quality-first team in Winston-Salem, which includes former patent litigation group co-chair Steven Gardner. An accomplished litigator, Gardner also knows how to cut deals and is a sharp negotiator. Charles Calkins is another transactional ace; he comes with a counselling and portfolio management background and consistently succeeds in maximising IP value. Further bench strength in Charlotte and Raleigh makes the firm a real contender in this market. For high-stakes national patent litigation, there are relatively few options in North Carolina, but King & Spalding is one of them. Timothy Barber is one of the state’s finest commercial and IP trial lawyers and a proven veteran who knows exactly how to play it in front of a jury. He is currently representing BASF in a patent infringement suit filed in the Northern District of New York – a technically complex case with parallel inter partes review proceedings in the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Moore & Van Allen PLLC
A “business-savvy firm which partners with the client to find and deliver value”, Moore & Van Allen is recommended without reservation for skill and dexterity. It has “stayed true to its roots” and is “creative in approaching problem solving while working within rational budgetary constraints based on the size and significance of the matter”. Prosecution and transactions are bastions of strength and the squad has star performers in both. An electrical engineer who instantly grasps the intricacies of any high technology, Kevin Ransom has a flair for obtaining national and international patent protection – and making something of it afterwards. Sources call him “smart, incredibly diligent and trustworthy” and someone who “puts his clients first”. Transactional mastermind and IP team lead Dickson Lupo “combines superior legal competence with outstanding commercial understanding, and recognises the contribution that a solid IP programme can make to a company’s overall strategy. He knows how to actualise intangible assets and renders practical advice that is not often available from other patent practitioners”. Putting in artful performances on both sides of the docket in venues throughout the country, Mark Wilson is the firm’s go-to litigator. Seeing regular action in disputes outside the IP field, he has an acute sense of courtroom dynamics and knows how to draw a case to a successful close. Henry Ward and IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Chris Knors are additional names for the address book. Ward III is distinguished in the licensing world, but is a versatile professional with IP protection and enforcement experience. Chemistry PhD Knors has all the nuts-and-bolts prosecution know-how you could want, although his broader strategic nous sets him apart.
Myers Bigel PA
“Cut from fine cloth”, Myers Bigel is “very selective in who it hires and affords an exceptional level of training to its staff”, allowing it to “provide top quality, all while operating a lower-cost model”. The firm is renowned for its prosecution capabilities and has specialists at the ready for any occasion. Alice Bonnen anchors a life sciences practice that caters superbly to the idiosyncratic needs of universities. Passionate about science – and plants in particular – she “possesses a practical mind and is always in search of effective solutions”. She earns further appreciation for her “fast responses”. Operating a mechanical practice that frequently branches out into chemistry and biotechnology, James Cannon also earns IAM Patent 1000 laurels. With well over two decades of practical knowledge, he is prepared for anything. Electronics and high-technology authority Mitchell Bigel remains an eminent figure in North Carolinian IP circles. In his of counsel role, he is well positioned to provide strategic overviews to clients while acting as a sounding board for colleagues.
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Full-service set-up Nelson Mullins is reportedly increasing its sphere of influence in intellectual property; it has “good, young partners who are bringing a lot of energy and quality into the practice”. “Excellent technical specialists” Chad Thorson and John Johnson are two of them. Thorson concentrates on patent procurement and client counselling in his high-technology and mechanical practice. Johnson’s broad IP, patent and technology law capabilities are founded on an impeccable understanding of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. Both are based in Charlotte.
Withrow + Terranova
Withrow + Terranova is a patent boutique with a reputation for flawlessly handling cutting-edge innovations in the high-technology space. Its business is built on quality, not quantity, and it knows how to obtain patents that can be leveraged as core commercial assets. Founding members Ben Withrow and Steve Terranova both have engineering backgrounds, which allows them to communicate with inventors with consummate ease. Withrow has drafted hundreds of patent applications and brings invaluable post-grant expertise to the table. Terranova – who also has general counsel experience on his résumé, in addition to 10 issued patents in his name – practises in the areas of prosecution, litigation and transactions; his expansive advice is always tailored to facilitate business development.
Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Womble Carlyle is a venerable name in North Carolina, having established itself in Winston-Salem over 140 years ago. The commercial ensemble has a rich tradition in intellectual property, and its Charlotte, Raleigh and Research Triangle Park offices are beacons of excellence. Earning special commendations this year, Christopher Humphrey and Andrew Spence are building sterling prosecution reputations. Chemical maven Humphrey “cares only about his clients” and produces “really top-notch work”. An “excellent electrical engineer with a great technical mind”, Spencer is “extremely thorough and well trained”. Multinationals negotiating technology and brand deals are well served by commercialisation master Christopher Bolen, the managing partner of the Research Triangle Park crew.
Wyrick Robbins
“From a transactional standpoint, Wyrick Robbins is great – it is just brilliant at licensing. The people there are really down to earth and super smart about strategy, and they have a level of experience that you wouldn’t expect to find in North Carolina. The firm is pulling work away from some of the big New York players.” Jason Wood leads the specialised licensing and technology transactions division. He understands the commercial drivers of the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries like few others.

Individuals: transactions

M Christopher Bolen - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Charles W Calkins - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Dickson M Lupo - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Henry Ward III - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Jason S Wood - Wyrick Robbins

Individuals: prosecution

Allen R Baum - Brinks Gilson & Lione
Mitchell S Bigel - Myers Bigel PA
Alice M Bonnen - Myers Bigel PA
David S Bradin - Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP
James R Cannon - Myers Bigel PA
Brian C Ellsworth - Alston & Bird LLP
Guy R Gosnell - Alston & Bird LLP
Christopher M Humphrey - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
John Johnson - Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Chris Knors - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Kevin Ransom - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Andrew T Spence - Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP
Steve Terranova - Withrow + Terranova
Chad Thorson - Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Henry Ward III - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
Ben Withrow - Withrow + Terranova

Individuals: litigation

Timothy G Barber - King & Spalding
Michael S Connor - Alston & Bird LLP
Steven Gardner - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
Mark Wilson - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
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Issue 85