United States: Michigan


Brooks Kushman PC 

Agility is a key trait that keeps Brooks Kushman ahead of its competitors in Michigan by some distance. In litigation, for example, the set doesn’t always represent the same patent holders or defendants, and has thus honed its ability to tailor its approach and tactics to each individual case. With the market ever more attuned to diversity and inclusion, it has also promoted several new section co-chairs, to give a wider group of people a leadership voice. “Exemplary attention to detail, responsiveness and technical acumen” are further hallmarks that have compelled major new clients to seek out this “trusted business partner” – as more than a dozen did in 2019 alone. The listing of six individuals in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2020 – more than any other Michigan outfit – stands testament to the firm’s impressive strength in depth. The prosecution core is formed by Michael Brodbine, Tiffany Fidler and Michael Maccallum, who have made Brooks Kushman not only a prolific patent filer, but also a vital ally in the IP value creation process. For popular C-suite contact Brodbine, business planning is a forte; Fidler is a dexterous portfolio manager and an ace on mechanical and electrical patents and designs; while Maccallum shows perspicacity as an opinion giver and problem solver, and makes in-house counsel look good in their business. When infringement troubles loom, there are plenty of options to call on. If trial seasoning is needed, president Frank Angileri and litigation co-chair Marc Lorelli fit the bill perfectly; for all things software-related, newly promoted litigation co-chair and FRAND licensing maestro John LeRoy is the best person for the job. The firm’s integrated approach has also laid the foundations for a flourishing post-grant operation, a key contributor to which is CEO Sangeeta Shah, whose experience spans the contentious/non-contentious divide.

Fishman Stewart PLLC

A new inclusion in the IAM Patent 1000 this year, Fishman Stewart is a respected Troy-based boutique whose experienced practitioners marry deep technical expertise with commercial smarts. At ease with complex technologies of all kind, the team acquits itself with distinction before the USPTO, obtaining copper-fastened patents and adding value by coalescing them into competitively powerful portfolios. Founding partner Michael Stewart is a top contact for interested parties. The worldly-wise counsellor has seen and done it all, from prosecution to litigation (in myriad forums), across all types of IP right.

Foley & Lardner LLP

High-flying national commercial firm Foley & Lardner takes intellectual property seriously, as reflected by its enduring commitment to excellence not only in patent litigation, but also in prosecution and transactions. Trend aware and internationally minded, its specialists provide holistic solutions to clients’ most pressing problems. Marcus Sprow anchors the practice in Detroit and takes the reins of the national mechanical and electromechanical division. An authority on battery technology, Sprow is heavily relied on by automotive companies and medical device manufacturers. He is also one of the country’s foremost design patent experts and is recommended alongside just seven others on the US national design patents table.

Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC

Home to more than 100 patent attorneys, Harness Dickey is well equipped to handle complex innovations in any technical or scientific discipline. Beyond merely protecting clients’ proprietary technology, the ensemble excels at putting patent rights to effective commercial use in global markets. Paul Keller has been doing this for 35 years and is one of the most experienced high-level strategists on deck. His colleagues in Detroit Mark Elchuk, Bryant Wade and David Utykanski also train their eye on the bigger business picture as they work their magic as prosecutors at the USPTO and as advisers around boardroom tables. Elchuk is distinguished by his wealth of experience in the aerospace and automotive sectors; Wade meets the patenting needs of Japanese companies with perfect exactitude; and Utykanski stands out for his dual prosecution and litigation expertise.


Honigman’s life sciences practice is a mighty one: putting industry innovators on the surest footing, the firm’s lawyers understand product development and commercialisation, and flex deep international legal and regulatory knowledge. The practice also benefits from exceptional leadership, as provided by Jonathan O’Brien, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemistry PhD who comes in for vocal praise from clients. “Jonathan knows the hardcore science, but is superb at communicating with senior executives and board members. He takes the time to understand your corporate objectives and possesses a level of business insight that few attorneys have. He and his team are exceptional, while also being more cost effective than lawyers in more prestigious markets like Boston.” He serves as lead counsel for Takeda genomics player Millennium Pharmaceuticals on the development and implementation of global IP strategy for a top myeloma treatment; in connection with this, he draws on an outstanding international network and regularly links up with leading European and Asian firms. Showcasing the depth of Honigman’s life sciences capabilities, the IAM Patent 1000 2020 grants a rankings debut to biochemistry and immunology PhD Fernando Alberdi. Alberdi has proven himself a master architect of worldwide protection strategies, with a keen instinct for sniffing out deal-making opportunities. Equally dynamic in the high-technology realm, Honigman has been doing lots of cool stuff for Google with respect to emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence. Taking the lead in this regard is patent group co-head Brett Krueger. With software engineering and Silicon Valley start-up experience on his résumé, he can interface effortlessly with innovators at both technical and business levels. Litigation chair Michael Huget knows how to bring financially consequential technology battles to a favourable close – he’s a seasoned lead trial lawyer with abundant appellate experience.

Quinn IP Law

Quality is the central narrative for Quinn IP Law, a “compact but impressive boutique with a plethora of good prosecutors”. Its attorneys’ output is subjected to a three-layered review system (shareholder > proofreader > automated software), which guarantees successful, error-free patenting. Overlaying this is a strategic approach to patent tasks guided by Christopher Quinn, a former Ford in-house counsel whose natural ability to deliver top-notch work on time and on budget makes him a hero to many. He and colleagues such as mechanical engineer Jean McCarthy get fired up by innovation, which clients love to see.

Reising Ethington PC 

Leveraging its refined IP asset procurement and management, litigation and post-grant and transactional skillsets, venerable Michigan boutique Reising Ethington creates strong, coherent portfolios of diverse IP rights that – crucially – are also enforceable. Clients consistently bring it in on the ground floor at the ideation stage, as its forward-thinking attorneys can channel early patent activities so that the results align seamlessly with broader business objectives. Some of the best at this are search and opinion guru James Stevens and well-rounded non-contentious and contentious operators Matthew Schmidt and Colin Cicotte. Stevens and Schmidt play a critical role as educators and co-authors of Cases and Materials on Patent Law, a textbook used by law students across the country; Cicotte also contributes much to the wider IP scene in the United States through speaking engagements, bar activities and AIPLA involvement. On the prosecution and strategy side, another A-list name is former fighter pilot Eric Jones. He has been doing impressive things at the PTAB lately alongside Richard Hoffmann, one of the most experienced litigators in Michigan – and the country.

Other recommended experts

Barnes & Thornburg made a significant play in the life sciences in 2019, bringing across a nine-partner team from Brinks, Gilson & Lione. Among those making the switch was William Boudreaux, a former Pfizer senior corporate counsel who knows the pharmaceutical industry inside and out. He is based in Ann Arbor. Kelly Burris of Burris Law collaborates closely with clients, spending time in their company to enhance her feel for their portfolio and strategic needs. In targeted mechanical, materials and electrical prosecution, the Burris Law founder demonstrates exceptional attention to detail. A noted author on patent topics and an authority on alternative dispute resolution, Eric Dobrusin is a strategic thought leader who is highly sought after by materials science and automotive innovators. He runs The Dobrusin Law Firm. Dustin Shunta of Warner Norcross + Judd is recommended by foreign associates as a “proficient counsellor and prosecutor well versed in the electrical engineering and computer science areas”. He is a go-to for videogame designers and makers.

Individuals: litigation

  • Frank A Angileri - Brooks Kushman PC
  • E Colin Cicotte - Reising Ethington PC
  • Richard W Hoffmann - Reising Ethington PC
  • J Michael Huget - Honigman
  • John S LeRoy - Brooks Kushman PC
  • Marc Lorelli - Brooks Kushman PC
  • 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 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
  • Eric T Jones - Reising Ethington PC
  • Paul A Keller - Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC
  • Brett Krueger - Honigman
  • Michael Maccallum - Brooks Kushman PC
  • 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