United States: North Carolina


  • Alston & Bird LLP
  • Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • King & Spalding LLP
  • Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt
  • Withrow + Terranova
  • Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

Alston & Bird LLP

Cutting a dash on the national patent litigation stage, Alston & Bird is also unrivalled in terms of depth in this practice area in North Carolina. The team in Charlotte benefits immeasurably from the leadership of Michael Connor, a past chair of the firmwide IP litigation group and seasoned trial lawyer across a rainbow of technologies and sectors. Recent case examples include defending Ford Motor Company in a patent infringement suit filed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ethanol Boosting Systems implicating patents protecting Ford’s EcoBoost engines; highlighting Alston & Bird’s cross-office integration, he is working alongside New York’s Natalie Clayton on this one. Another veteran on the roster, Bruce Rose is a career patent litigator with a penchant for problem solving. He is on the frontlines of an increasingly dynamic ITC practice and is currently representing Honeywell International in this forum, asserting infringement of seven bar code reader and scanner patents. On this, he has linked up with Benjamin Pleune, an emerging star who marries astute technical understanding with keen business sense. A good listener who understands precisely what clients need, Pleune is effective at tailoring his approaches accordingly. Alston & Bird is one of relatively few firms with both contentious and non-contentious might at a national level. Locally, the prosecution group is a fine one, spearheaded as it is by Guy Gosnell, an electrical and computer science maven with a gift for securing broad-scope protection of cutting-edge technologies and handling matters marked by deep complexities in their points of law. Brian Ellsworth, who co-heads the patent group, is cut from the same cloth; public companies seek him out for wise counsel and efficient international portfolio management. As a result of its all-round patent proficiency, the firm is well suited to post-grant proceedings. Local boy Christopher Douglas is a key player on this front: he co-wrote the USPTO Post-Grant Trials Handbook, the second edition of which was recently published by Wolters Kluwer Publishing.

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg expanded its footprint in December 2019, opening new bureaux in Raleigh, North Carolina, Salt Lake City, Utah and Ann Arbor, Michigan, following its recruitment of a well-formed crew of life sciences professionals from Brinks Gilson & Lione. One of the marquee signings was Research Triangle stalwart and former pharmaceutical chemist Allen Baum, a portfolio strategist par excellence. Also coming aboard in the expansion drive was Amy Fix who, like Baum, knows the pharmaceutical industry intimately; she has extensive in-house patent counsel experience on her résumé.

Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt

IP devotee Jenkins, Wilson, Taylor & Hunt – one of the largest patent outfits in the state – is a must for preparation and prosecution briefs, as well as commercially targeted counselling on portfolio management and development. Life sciences innovators would be wise to call on the specialised biotechnology team, which includes several PhDs and individuals with impressive backgrounds in scientific research. Among the latter is Arles Taylor, who worked for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the area of gene expression before pursuing a career as a lawyer.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Few firms in the country are better placed than Kilpatrick Townsend to guide clients on IP value creation, protection and optimisation. With 200 USPTO-registered attorneys and agents across its offices, not to mention a 55-strong patent litigation unit, it is primed and ready for any technology. The set diligently stays on top of industry developments and recently conducted its first annual study of patent trends, designed to help clients get ahead of the competition and maintain a position at the cutting edge. Between them, Winston-Salem based practitioners Charles Calkins and Steven Gardner and Raleigh resident John Alemanni can cover a lot of ground. Calkins is an experienced prosecutor and IP transactions expert; as well rounded as patent lawyers come, Gardner is gifted at complex problem solving; and Alemanni has post-grant proceedings on lock. They work well together and are providing holistic support to leading diagnostics laboratory LabCorp, encompassing prosecution, IP due diligence, licensing deals and litigation matters.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding has become a national force in patent litigation, having recruited extensively and astutely in key markets including New York and DC. The firm’s patent trial lawyers are backed by patent prosecutors and regulatory experts, which is reflected in their refined strategies. Flying the flag in Charlotte is veteran trial lawyer Timothy Barber. Staying up on his grind, he recently represented BASF in a competitor suit filed by Enthone relating to semiconductor substrates - a highly technical case playing out across multiple forums and requiring dexterous resource coordination and tactical savvy.

Moore & Van Allen PLLC

The patent experts at commercial set-up Moore & Van Allen take the business criticality of IP assets to heart and perform their tasks with a close eye on investment returns and revenue generation. Many of them - including Dickson Lupo, Henry Ward and Todd Taylor - are masters of the art of deal negotiation, and the firm is thus a go-to for IP transactions of all kinds. On every engagement, Lupo makes his 30 years of experience count; he gets to grips with complex licensing scenarios with ease. Knowledgeable about the full suite of IP rights, Ward is versatile in his practice and sees things from many angles. Taylor stands as one of the top privacy and data experts in North Carolina and is a former Bank of America in-house technology licensing-focused attorney. Prosecution pros Kevin Ransom and Chris Knors support deals, too, though their value lies in their ability to analyse competitive landscapes and direct patenting efforts accordingly. Coming in for special praise, “Kevin runs daily prosecution smoothly, giving comprehensive but concise reports that simplify decision making for in-house counsel; he does a great job with more complex patent analysis too, and is valued as an opinion giver”. To top it off, he is “100% service-minded and dedicated and cost-effective”. Ransom concentrates on electrical, software and computer-related inventions; while chemistry, materials and polymers are Knors’ thing. Running the show on the contentious front, meanwhile, is Mark Wilson who does “excellent work at reasonable prices” on both sides of the ‘v’.

Withrow + Terranova

Precision prosecution in cutting-edge fields of innovation is what patent and technology boutique Withrow + Terranova does best. Taking inspiration from founding partners Ben Withrow and Steve Terranova, the professionals here demonstrate an unwavering commitment to quality, defined by the delivery of commercially valuable rights that are robust enough to withstand litigation and other tests. Former in-house senior hardware engineer Withrow’s drafting skills are on point, though giving high-level strategic advice is more his role now. Having previously served Gilbarco as general patent counsel and assistant general counsel, and being the named inventor on 10 issued patents, Terranova is in sync with clients at the business and inventorship levels.

Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

Womble Bond Dickinson has 19 US offices coast to coast and a well-formed IP, technology and data group equipped to handle all challenges faced by technological boundary pushers, wherever they might arise. Holding it down in Raleigh, Christopher Humphrey does a brilliant job helping clients to align what they do in intellectual property with what they need for business growth and development. International portfolio management and strategic counselling are his fortes. In Charlotte, Andrew Spence undertakes meticulous prosecution in the computer and electronics fields; he also provides well-calibrated representation in post-grant settings.

Other recommended experts

Joseph Mahoney recently relocated from Mayer Brown’s Chicago office to Charlotte. The veteran litigator and doctor of pharmacy acquits himself with distinction in consequential pharmaceutical and biotechnology suits. Katten Muchin Rosenman’s Jitty Malik is steeped in patent practice, with expertise in litigation, post-grant proceedings and prosecution. The polymer science and engineering PhD is a font of insight and analysis on US drug approval processes. Long-time IAM Patent 1000 inductee Jason Wood is a seasoned transactional lawyer. He takes the lead on licensing and technology deals at entrepreneurial firm Wyrick Robbins.

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
  • Joseph A Mahoney - Mayer Brown
  • 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 - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • 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 - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Ben Withrow - Withrow + Terranova

Individuals: transactions

  • Allen R Baum - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Charles W Calkins - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Amy Fix - Barnes & Thornburg LLP
  • Dickson M Lupo - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Todd Taylor - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Henry Ward - Moore & Van Allen PLLC
  • Jason S Wood - Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP