United States: North Carolina


  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • King & Spalding LLP
  • Myers Bigel, PA
  • Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt
  • Withrow + Terranova
  • Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP

Alston & Bird LLP

Few US commercial outfits cross the contentious/non-contentious divide as artfully as the redoubtable Alston & Bird. As a home to leading prosecutors and litigators, the Charlotte office is a microcosm of the firm’s wider IP group; beyond that, it also plays a critical leadership role, thanks to the presence of national IP litigation co-chair Bruce Rose, electrical and computer science patent practice head Guy Gosnell and prosecution co-chief Brian Ellsworth. A hard-hitting trial lawyer who nevertheless knows when to dial things down, Rose has been on a tear lately, enforcing and protecting MiMedx’s flagship EpiFix and AmnioFix amniotic tissue graft products as part of a cross-office team. Highly esteemed as a prosecutor, Gosnell is always on top of his game. One peer confides: “He’s by far the best prosecutor I’ve ever met. He has trained virtually everyone in the Carolinas.” Another comments: “He’s technically proficient and hugely experienced, but also just a super guy who is relatable and easy to deal with. Alston & Bird has always attracted top talent, and people like Gosnell do a brilliant job developing it.” Routine and unusual problems both get solved when Ellsworth is on the case. His streamlined approach to international portfolio management saves clients time and money, while his experience guarantees them a quality service. Another name for the address book is Michael Connor, a dyed-in-the-wool trial lawyer with a vibrant district court, International Trade Commission and Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) practice. He has recently been prevailing before the PTAB for waterworks company McWane – one of the largest private enterprises in the United States – in a complex dispute with Seamless Pole, a competitor in the ductile iron products space.

Brinks Gilson & Lione

The Research Triangle Park office of this Chicago-headquartered boutique is celebrated for its resolutely commercial approach to the protection of innovation in the chemical and life sciences spheres. Helpful in this regard is the in-house experience of several key group members, under the leadership of Allen Baum. The former president of the Licensing Executives Society for the United States and Canada, Baum has a business head on his shoulders, as well as a lively imagination. “Decisive and creative, Allen comes up with ideas that make you say ‘wow’, and which start fruitful conversations.” A strategic counselling and prosecution lodestar for BASF and a vital ally for many others, Baum leverages his litigation background and transactional expertise in dispensing advice that is good for both short and long-term protection and market competitiveness. Flexing more than two decades of pharmaceutical and biotechnology experience, former GlaxoSmithKline patent attorney and Novozymes North America in-house counsel Jennifer Fox is a worthy addition to the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Like Baum, with whom she works on the BASF portfolio, she has diverse expertise that encompasses patent procurement, licensing and post-grant challenges.

Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt

Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt scores highly with foreign associates for being “approachable and responsive”, possessing “deep technical knowledge” and giving “clear advice on prosecution”. While the procurement and safeguarding of patent rights is its focus, the North Carolina patent boutique is well positioned to commercialise intellectual property and litigate, if necessary. Jeffrey Wilson has strong experience across the contentious/non-contentious divide and is a good first port of call.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

With more than 200 attorneys registered to practise before the US Patent and Trademark Office and boasting 50 PhDs, Kilpatrick Townsend is, from a technical perspective, one of the most advanced IP destinations in the country. Alongside its scientific sophistication, the firm blends strategic and commercial insights in a way that elevates in-house IP discussions and improves decision making. Leading representatives of the brand in North Carolina are Winston-Salem-based Charles Calkins and Steven Gardner, who frequently combine forces to render 360-degree services to clients. Patent and technology transactions are a central plank of Calkins’s broader IP counselling and portfolio management practice. Disputes are a notable thread within Gardner’s similarly mature practice; he spent over a decade as co-chair of the organisation’s national patent litigation group and continues to show leadership through his outstanding work.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding maintains one of the most polished litigation practices among firms in North Carolina and in Timothy Barber it has a seasoned advocate for heavy-duty patent and commercial cases. In fact, it is hard to find Barber’s level of trial experience nationally, let alone locally. The past 18 months has seen a string of continuing successes for him and his crew in complex district court and PTAB litigations for global companies. Alongside a commercially significant Hatch-Waxman Act case, he has been representing BASF in a competitor suit in the area of microelectronics. In both cases, he teamed up with IAM Patent 1000-ranked lawyers in other states, which speaks to the depth of talent that King & Spalding can pool across its offices.

Moore & Van Allen PLLC

In the legal market of the Southeast, Moore & Van Allen is a leading name. The diviners of innovative legal solutions, its patent lawyers enjoy a tremendous reputation among a national client base. When technical complexity reaches levels that would baffle your average lawyer, Kevin Ransom and Chris Knors show the way. Ransom is a precision instrument when it comes to the protection of high-tech inventions, the analysis of competitive landscapes and the licensing of intangible rights. An inventor named on 21 US patents and over 40 international applications, Knors has an incredible résumé, which includes a wealth of corporate engineering experience. He is a distinguished chemist, for whom meticulous due diligence investigations, the preparation and prosecution of patents and the implementation of clever portfolio development strategies are all in a day’s work. One notable feature of Moore & Van Allen is its concentration of IP transactional expertise. Ransom and Knors both cut deals within their broad counselling practices, but getting signatures on the dotted line is the true speciality of Dickson Lupo and licensing maven Henry Ward III. Bringing comfort when trouble brews by resolving disputes – not just fighting them – the roster’s top litigator Mark Wilson recently had a number of summary judgment wins for plaintiffs.

Myers Bigel, PA

Myers Bigel may be in a transition period – co-founder Mitchell Bigel retired in 2017 – but it remains an “extremely proficient patent firm”. Keeping the crew at the forefront in biotech is Alice Bonnen, a “profoundly knowledgeable and responsive attorney with a practical mind and eye for effective solutions”. James Cannon is a standout option in the mechanical arts, particularly for papermakers and manufacturers of plastics, batteries and power connectors.

Withrow + Terranova

The original drafting of specifications is the order of the day at Withrow + Terranova, a dynamic and growing boutique for which patent quality is everything. In its element when dealing with cutting-edge innovations in all areas of high tech, the team manifests a rare faculty for securing protection that aligns with the commercial objectives of clients. Having served as general patent counsel, Steve Terranova is certainly in tune with business and has no qualms offering guidance to the C-suite; he is simultaneously at ease with engineers, being the inventor on more than 10 issued patents. Fellow founder Ben Withrow stands out for his prosecution expertise, but also brings notable litigation experience to the table.

Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson’s leading IP experts are multifaceted strategists and problem solvers who can deal with any patent conundrum. Rigorously business minded, Christopher Humphrey understands what makes clients tick and does a fine job synchronising his advice accordingly; he also shows impressive range, acting for a mix of emerging enterprises as well as established industry leaders. Gleaning a competitive edge for technology companies is the specialty of Christopher Bolen, who has accumulated great wisdom over a career of more than 30 years. He provides gold-standard guidance on IP-rich transactions. The best client feedback is reserved for electronics and computer technology mastermind Andrew Spence. A “technically eminent lawyer with tonnes of experience who has seen just about everything”, he “is brilliant on knotty procedural things that don’t come up very often”. He coordinates much of the firm’s prosecution activities while being regularly called on for freedom to operate and clearance opinions.

Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP

Wyrick Robbins earns its place in the IAM Patent 1000 thanks to its dexterous handling of IP and technology-driven transactions. Jason Wood holds the reins and gives the licensing team strong leadership. He has honed his negotiation skills to a keen edge over a long career cutting deals with and for major pharmaceutical, medical device and biotech companies.

Other recommended experts

Hunton Andrews Kurth counsel David Bradin is an experienced international prosecutor and portfolio developer who shines in the pharmaceutical, biotech and petrochemical fields. John Johnson and Chad Thorson are building IP momentum for McNair Attorneys; with an instinctual and cultivated feel for the IP identities of their clients, they deliver bespoke solutions. Johnson is a former process engineer who concentrates on patenting and issuing opinions in the chemical and life sciences industries, while Thorson is extensively trained in the electrical and mechanical arts.

Individuals: litigation

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

Individuals: prosecution

  • Allen R Baum - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Alice M Bonnen - Myers Bigel, PA
  • David S Bradin - Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
  • James R Cannon - Myers Bigel, PA
  • Brian C Ellsworth - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Jennifer Fox - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Guy R Gosnell - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Christopher M Humphrey - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • John Johnson - McNair Attorneys
  • Chris Knors - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Kevin Ransom - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Andrew T Spence - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Steve Terranova - Withrow + Terranova
  • Chad Thorson - McNair Attorneys
  • Henry Ward III - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Ben Withrow - Withrow + Terranova

Individuals: transactions

  • M Christopher Bolen - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) 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 Yates & Ponton LLP