United States: North Carolina


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

Alston & Bird LLP

Once again topping the North Carolina rankings, Alston & Bird’s “extremely strong full-service IP practice” continues to amaze clients and competitors alike. “One of the most dominant players in the market”, the firm “goes outside the conservative big law mindset and truly partners with clients by being flexible and offering alternative fees arrangements”. This collaborative approach has enhanced the quality of the set’s patent work. Able to “win the unwinnable”, Michael Connor, Benjamin Pleune and Bruce Rose form a redoubtable litigation line-up. Deserving special mention this year as an IAM Patent 1000 newcomer, Pleune is a “young partner with an excellent strategic mind and great litigation instincts. He’s so good that he displaces your need for the classic big-name first-chair litigator”. He and Rose have recently seen action in the International Trade Commission representing Honeywell as complainant in a matter relating to barcode readers. On the non-contentious front, Guy Gosnell, Brian Ellsworth and Christopher Douglas are the names to know. “Guy is a go-to lawyer for the most difficult and challenging matters. Extremely smart, he is wonderful at working with inventors – he understands the tech but is confident to ask the right questions if there is something he doesn’t fully grasp. He produces flawless applications.” He co-chairs the prosecution practice with international portfolio manager and strategic counsellor par excellcence Ellsworth. “Chris is a very strategic thinker and the brains behind some of the firm’s inter partes review successes. He is extremely flexible and unafraid to do things differently.”

Brinks Gilson & Lione

A top national IP boutique, Brinks Gilson & Lione can put many excellent litigators, prosecutors and licensing experts at the disposal of its clients. For life sciences and chemical companies in need of a patent strategist, Allen Baum fits the bill perfectly with his combination of industry experience – he was a pharmaceutical chemist at two market leaders – litigation savvy and transactional nous. He is the relationship partner for BASF and overseas a substantial amount of prosecution in connection with the company’s agritech and crop science products. A new face in the guide this year is Amy Fix, who has extensive in-house experience on her CV. She supports Baum on BASF matters while also taking the lead on acquisitions for Gilead Sciences. She is a creative and commercial lawyer who is also fluent in technology.

Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt

One of the largest patent boutiques in North Carolina, Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt runs a stable prosecution practice from its Morrisville bureau. Eminently qualified from a technical perspective, the firm delivers crisp results to a diverse mix of leading corporations and research institutions. Biotechnology and chemical clients with pressing matters call on Arles Taylor, who has decades of experience in the life sciences sector as a researcher and lawyer. A first-rate prosecutor, he is also sought after as an opinion giver.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

One of the leading full-service IP firms in the United States, Kilpatrick Townsend has some 300 IP lawyers across the country. In the Tar Heel State alone it can dispense an end-to-end patent service thanks to the combination of talents that Steve Gardner, John Alemanni and Charles Calkins bring to the table. Gardner is a veteran litigator with an excellent counselling demeanour and has been representing Wells Fargo & Company for well over a decade on patent litigations and various strategic matters. Alemanni is a post-grant pro who has handled more than 50 inter partes and other review proceedings at the PTAB, putting in strong performances there and at the Federal Circuit on behalf of Google and Motorola Mobility. He also undertakes strategic prosecution work. A seasoned transactional lawyer, Calkins understands how to realise the business potential of his clients’ intellectual property; as a counsellor and portfolio manager, he bakes that value in so that deal-making opportunities come easily to his clients. He acts for the Laboratory Corporation of America.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding has made some incredible moves recently and augmented its national patent practice thanks to astute recruitment in New York, Washington DC and California. This creates opportunity and gives additional resources to all the lawyers in the practice, including Timothy Barber, one of the best IP and general litigators in North Carolina – and veteran of more than 40 trials. He recently represented BASF in an infringement dispute with competitor Enthone in the Northern District of New York; the matter is illustrative of King & Spalding’s confident handling of technically complex cases for industry leaders in both the district courts and the PTAB.

Moore & Van Allen PLLC

Moore & Van Allen’s patent practice is multidisciplinary – it handles prosecution, litigation and transactional matters with alacrity and advises on adjacent areas, such as data privacy and security; its IP team is also closely integrated with other business units in the firm, which further enhances its ability to solve clients’ most multifaceted problems. With conscientious Kevin Ransom on their side, technology companies can get all the help they need; Ransom is a trained electrical engineer with strong prep and pros, freedom to operate, clearance and landscape analysis, transactional and litigation practices. He represents several leading names in the financial and manufacturing sectors. His counterpart on the life sciences and chemistry side is PhD Chris Knors, a broad-minded strategist and named inventor on 21 US patents and 40 international patents. The firm’s technology transactions practice is one of the biggest and best in the state, and manned by Todd Taylor, Henry Ward and Dickson Lupo. Data expert Taylor previously worked in-house at the Bank of America where he negotiated a wide variety of licensing and other commercial agreements. Ward is an excellent IP generalist who is particularly recommended for patent licensing. An erudite law professor and richly experienced IP expert, Lupo leads the IP team and anchors major transactions. When infringement headaches loom, Mark Wilson is the person to call. He maintains a national litigation practice in the areas of IP, unfair competition and commercial law.

Myers Bigel, PA

An excellent patent prosecution and counselling boutique, Myers Bigel is home to an experienced crew of attorneys with advanced scientific and engineering degrees plus extensive industry and lab experience; they love to work closely with inventors and, understanding existing technology, they know how to put their clients into competitively advantageous positions. Key contacts include James Cannon, whose primary focus is mechanical engineering, and Alice Bonnen, a specialist in the life sciences. These hands-on partners demonstrate amazing technical acuity but also understand the business value of innovations.

Ward and Smith, PA

“Ward and Smith is a highly reputable and dependable firm. Its lawyers in all areas are courteous, knowledgeable, helpful and true experts in their fields.” In patent prosecution, the team “interacts well with inventors, provides valuable feedback and delivers applications of the highest quality on time and on budget. Its services are extraordinary value for money”. Ryan Simmons is a key contact in the electronics, software and hardware areas. “He likes to get hands-on with invention prototypes and interact with all relevant staff to capture all the nuances of an invention; this approach leads to better patents and is time efficient, too, as it cuts down the need for back-and-forth communication and edits. He’s excellent at seeing clients’ IP issues in their broader business context.”

Withrow + Terranova

Described by a competitor as a “market-leading patent and technology boutique”, Withrow + Terranova is a “well-managed firm that is experiencing significant growth”. Putting quality before quantity and settling for nothing less than ironclad patent protection, “fantastic” prosecutors Ben Withrow and Steve Terranova set the boutique’s tone. Withrow has written more than 500 original patent applications and manoeuvres deftly in post-grant and licensing scenarios. Terranova leverages extensive engineering and in-house counsel experience to fully protect his clients.

Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson is a major presence in North Carolina with offices in Charlotte, Research Triangle Park and Raleigh, each well-served with switched-on IP lawyers capable of solving complex patent riddles. In Charlotte, Andrew Spence is the go-to guy for anything high-tech. He knows his way around the USPTO, including the PTAB. Based in Research Triangle Park, Christopher Bolen advises life sciences companies on the protection and commercialisation of their key intangible assets. In Raleigh, Christopher Humphrey is a master of the chemical and mechanical arts who excels as a strategic and commercial portfolio management and development guide.

Other recommended experts

An accomplished scientist and inventor, David Bradin at Hunton Andrews Kurth runs vibrant practices in the energy and life sciences domains, garnering loud applause from the clients he so diligently serves: “David has both an in-depth knowledge of patent law and our technology, which made communicating our findings to him easy and the resulting patent application more robust. David is able to optimise our filings keeping in mind budget constraints and he has an excellent sense of the broader commercial ramifications of the technological advances we are making – he sees the forest and the trees.” For those looking for a “top-notch litigator” with extensive experience in inter partes review proceedings, Katten’s Jitty Malik is an excellent choice. Lately, the polymer science and engineering PhD has handled a slew of PTAB proceedings for Mylan. Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton lawyer Jason Wood is a patent and technology transactions maven. A biology graduate with prior experience in the pharmaceutical industry, Wood is at his best cutting deals in the life sciences sector.

Individuals: litigation

  • John C Alemanni - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Timothy G Barber - King & Spalding LLP
  • Michael S Connor - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Steven Gardner - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Jitty Malik - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Benjamin Pleune - Alston & Bird 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
  • Christopher Douglas - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Brian C Ellsworth - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Guy R Gosnell - Alston & Bird LLP
  • Christopher M Humphrey - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Chris Knors - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Kevin Ransom - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Andrew T Spence - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Arles Taylor - Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt
  • Steve Terranova - Withrow + Terranova
  • Henry Ward III - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Henry Ward III - Ward and Smith, PA
  • Ben Withrow - Withrow + Terranova

Individuals: transactions

  • Allen R Baum - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • M Christopher Bolen - Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
  • Charles W Calkins - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Amy Fix - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Dickson M Lupo - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Todd Taylor - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Henry Ward III - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Jason S Wood - Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP