United States: Michigan


Brooks Kushman PC 

A Michigan-based IP outfit with an outstanding national reputation, Brooks Kushman nets excellent reviews from those who know it best: “It is from a smaller market, meaning its rates are more affordable, but the quality of its work is on par if not better than any major market law firm. It functions like an extension of in-house teams, is extremely easy to partner with and gives practical and timely advice whatever your IP needs. Its lawyers have abundant experience in non-US IP law and guide clients on international issues expertly, collaborating with a wide network of foreign associates as needed.” Its prosecutors are “real hands-on engineers at heart and quickly understand the most technical of inventions” before writing “clean and succinct applications for a very reasonable price”. “They are good at getting to the heart of the novelty and engage in compact prosecution, which brings cases to grant faster, saving further on costs.” Tiffany Fidler and Michael Brodbine, both staunch protectors for innovators of all stripes, co-chair the practice. Fidler has a background in mechanical engineering and a special affinity for automotive and aviation technologies. Brodbine is blessed with wonderful mentoring skills, which he displays internally as the associate-trainer in chief and externally for the benefit of his many global patrons. CEO Sangeeta Shah also provides leadership; she has cultivated post-grant expertise and oversees much of the group’s inter partes review activities. Brooks Kushman capitalises on its litigation pedigree to fine-tune claim drafting strategy, shielding patent rights from litigation challenges. Some of the firm’s top advocates are litigation co-chairs John LeRoy and Marc Lorelli, and president of Brooks Kushman Frank Angileri. “John is someone you can trust with your most important technology and highest exposure patent and trade secret litigations. He is a winner who sees strategic opportunities other even big-name lawyers miss.” Lorelli and Angileri spearheaded a team of trial attorneys that recently triumphed for Ford Motor Company in a 13 design patent claim where the jury returned a verdict of wilful infringement and the judge awarded $2.1 million in attorneys’ fees – a result affirmed on appeal.

Dickinson Wright

Debuting in the IAM Patent 1000 Michigan rankings this year, Dickinson Wright provides abundant support to rights holders from soup to nuts. Its specialists are adept at prosecuting applications through to grant at the USPTO and internationally, strategic in litigation and experienced at negotiating licensing and other deals. The set mines a rich seam of knowledge in the automotive and medical device sectors but has the technical wherewithal for just about anything. Anchoring the IP litigation practice, John Artz has fought battles in district courts across the country and the ITC. He has also advocated at the Federal Circuit in numerous appeals and recently won a first-of-its-kind fees and costs award for client Hikansut, which filed a patent infringement suit against the US government in the Court of Federal Claims, upheld, creating new jurisprudence to assist patent holders in lawsuits against the government.

Fishman Stewart PLLC

The attorneys at Fishman Stewart possess exemplary technical credentials enhanced, in many cases, with real-world engineering experience – they communicate with inventors one-to-one and prepare stronger, broader patent claims as a result. They also understand the business of intellectual property, walking in step with commercial executives and offering advice to fulfil company objectives. A brilliant corporate adviser, Michael Stewart is one of the top all-rounders in Michigan; he can handle anything you can throw at him, including court litigation, and is an expert at IP value creation.

Foley & Lardner LLP

Intellectual property is a central pillar of Foley & Lardner’s 360-degree commercial service. Highly skilled in all facets of patent protection, enforcement and monetisation, and broad in its technical and industry coverage, the firm is an excellent one-stop shop. In Detroit, local IP practice leader and chair of the mechanical and electromechanical technologies practice Marcus Sprow is more than just a useful contact – he’s an essential choice for portfolio management and IP transactions with niche expertise in venture capital investment in technology and government and university contracting.

Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC

Venerable IP firm Harness Dickey is a long-established leader in the field of automotive technologies but well-versed in computer-related patent assignments, too. It has robust drafting and prosecution skills – it files nearly 5000 patents in the United States annually – but adds tremendous value with its cutting-edge expertise in overcoming Section 101 challenges. It has a new entrant in the IAM Patent 1000 this year in Glenn Forbis, underscoring the group’s litigation bench strength. Forbis is an accomplished lead trial attorney who recently secured a jury verdict of wilful infringement – and a lost profits damages award – in favour of Western Plastics in an Eastern District of North Carolina lawsuit against Dubose Strapping. David Utykanski is also recommended for litigation – a major part of his wide-ranging patent procurement, enforcement and commercial exploitation practice. Harness Dickey’s recent highlights include forming a new agricultural and food and beverages industries team, captained by Bryant Wade, whose combination of US and global IP expertise is a claim to fame. Other top contacts for prosecution include Mark Elchuk – a go-to for computer and electromechanical matters ­– and Paul Keller, a vastly experienced lawyer in the automotive, aerospace, chemistry and energy fields.


“Honigman really understands companies’ strategic patenting goals and takes a portfolio-wide view when giving advice, which is quite rare – many law firms are unable to look beyond individual matters and often get lost in the details.” “It is as thorough, thoughtful and high quality as any of the BigLaw players, but charges far more reasonable rates.” Reviews for leading individuals are similarly enthusiastic: IP chair Jonathan O’Brien is “easy to discuss matters with because he understands the bigger picture in terms of what you are looking to accomplish. He’s a mastermind when it comes to efficient prosecution approaches.” A chemistry PhD, he has abundant life sciences industry experience and is a top-drawer global portfolio manager and counsellor for prestigious pharmaceutical companies. Fernando Alberdi and Gregory Morris also have life sciences doctorates (biochemistry/immunology and organic chemistry respectively) but play different roles. Alberdi is a patent strategy sage, particularly in the biotechnology domain, while Morris is a top brand-side Hatch-Waxman litigator. For high-technology and mechanical engineering matters, the person to seek out is patent group co-leader Brett Krueger, who, alongside Grant Griffith, undertakes rigorous work for Google in emerging areas such as speech translation, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Michael Huget, Morris’s litigation counterpart in the technology theatre and a seasoned trial lawyer, garners rave reviews: “Mike is a great lawyer who partners closely with the C-Suite in bringing light to the protective and assertive practices of patent law. He educates and advises his clients in ways that are profoundly useful.”

Howard & Howard

A full-service outfit with an entrepreneurial and business-oriented culture, Howard & Howard earns its first inclusion in the IAM Patent 1000 this year following recommendations from overseas and closer to home. A Canadian source highlights the firm’s medical device work and notes the high degree of trust clients place in it, while a domestic peer cites Jake Grove and Gerald McGlynn as forming a “strong and seasoned litigation team”.

Quinn IP Law

A high-calibre prosecution set-up that values patent quality above all else, Quinn IP Law is the discerning choice for innovative companies seeking to procure cornerstone IP assets to build their business. Flexible with its billing arrangements, this cost-conscious set appreciates budget needs and works with impressive efficiency and economy. Founding partner Christopher Quinn has a passion for supporting individuals and companies throughout all phases of the innovation process; feeding off it, those he represents carry enhanced energy into their creative efforts. Jean McCarthy is similarly dynamic and puts 110% into designing and implementing US and global patent strategies.

Reising Ethington PC 

Established in Detroit over 150 years ago, Reising Ethington has the richest tradition in Michigan intellectual property. It sees the whole picture for its clients and gives perspicacious advice laced with unique insights harvested through constant engagement in high-level global IP asset management, patent litigation, post-grant proceedings and competitive landscape analysis. Several of the firm’s leading lights including Colin Cicotte, Matthew Schmidt and Eric Jones contribute on many fronts. Cicotte has a dual ranking in the guide, appearing on both the prosecution and litigation tables, highlighting his versatility and maturity on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. His technical compass points north to electrical, mechanical and computer technologies. Equally strong in these areas, Schmidt procures patents deftly and helps rightsholders make the most of them in the real world. Jones’ well-founded knowledge of patents, brands and trade secrets gives him an edge. James Stevens and Richard Hoffmann choose to specialise; Stevens focuses on global portfolio management and opinion work and Hoffman litigates. A tally of IP disputes numbering into the triple digits has given him ample opportunities to hone and showcase his oral advocacy.

Other recommended experts

William Boudreaux gives strategic patent advice that goes straight to the heart of the business matters facing his pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients. Enthusiastically recommended, “Bill’s knowledge and commitment to service are unsurpassed. He supervises a terrific team that produces work of the highest quality and in a timely fashion. His combination of in-house and private practice experience renders him particularly well suited to giving practical, commercially-oriented advice.” Find him in his Ann Arbor office at Barnes & Thornburg. Kelly Burris is a smart selection for mechanical, materials science and electrical patent matters and for comprehensive and strategic portfolio management. Passionate about supporting her clients, she tailors her work and service to their needs with precision. She is the founder of Burris Law. Having written several published works on intellectual property, Eric Dobrusin stands out for his erudition. He puts his sharp mind to great practical use, too, and dispenses wise counsel to companies innovating in the materials, biomedical and automotive fields. He founded the Dobrusin Law Firm. An expert in videogame intellectual property and electrical engineering and computer science more broadly, Dustin Shunta maintains a vibrant practice at Warner Norcross + Judd.

Individuals: litigation

  • Frank A Angileri - Brooks Kushman PC
  • John Artz - Dickinson Wright
  • E Colin Cicotte - Reising Ethington PC
  • Glenn E Forbis - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
  • Richard W Hoffmann - Reising Ethington PC
  • J Michael Huget - Honigman
  • John S LeRoy - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Marc Lorelli - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Gregory Morris - Honigman
  • Matthew Schmidt - Reising Ethington PC
  • Sangeeta G Shah - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Michael B Stewart - Fishman Stewart PLLC
  • David Utykanski - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC

Individuals: prosecution

  • Fernando Alberdi - Honigman
  • William Boudreaux - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Michael S Brodbine - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Kelly K Burris - Burris Law, PLLC
  • E Colin Cicotte - Reising Ethington PC
  • Eric Dobrusin - The Dobrusin Law Firm
  • Mark D Elchuk - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
  • Tiffany Fidler - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Grant Griffith - Honigman
  • Eric T Jones - Reising Ethington PC
  • Paul A Keller - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
  • Brett Krueger - Honigman
  • Jean McCarthy - Quinn IP Law
  • Jonathan P O'Brien - Honigman
  • Christopher W Quinn - Quinn IP Law
  • Sangeeta G Shah - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Dustin H Shunta - Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
  • Marcus Sprow - Foley & Lardner LLP
  • James D Stevens - Reising Ethington PC
  • Michael B Stewart - Fishman Stewart PLLC
  • David Utykanski - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
  • Bryant Wade - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC