Chris has dedicated his 25-year legal career to helping his clients navigate legal and business issues arising from intellectual property. Passionate about innovators and businesses built on innovation, Chris has represented his clients as their lead trial and appellate counsel in the enforcement of their intellectual property rights and in the defense of their business against allegations of infringement. His broad client base has included Fortune 500 multi-national corporations, emerging technology companies, individual innovators and their companies and private equity firms.
From very early in his career, Chris has been deeply involved in hands-on trial work, starting with his participation as one of the trial attorneys for a major supplier to the automotive industry during a month-long jury trial in his first year as an attorney and three jury trials for a well-known consumer product company in the “Rocket Docket” district of the Eastern District of Virginia over the next three years. Since that time, he has served as trial counsel in a large number of jury and bench trials in high-stakes patent, trademark, trade secret, breach of non-disclosure agreements, unfair competition and related business torts litigation before federal and state trial and appellate courts. Some of those trials led to verdicts in eight and nine-figure sums for his clients and decisions that are often cited by courts and other attorneys.
Chris has also obtained and successfully defeated motions for temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in trademark, trade dress and copyright lawsuits. He has also successfully represented his clients as lead appellate counsel before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, including obtaining reversals of trial court decisions that eventually led to eight-figure sum recoveries for his clients.
Chris also advises his clients on complex issues arising from the use of technology and intellectual property in business and monetization of intellectual property rights. He has advised and represented public and private operating companies, private equity firms, inventor-owned entities and investors on strategic sales and acquisition of patent portfolios, industry-wide licensing campaigns, cross-licensing and litigation financing, including on deals that involved eight-figure sums. Chris has been recognized by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) as one of the world’s foremost IP strategists in the 2018 list of IAM Strategy 300 – The World’s Leading IP Strategists.
His clients have been involved in such businesses as cellular network technologies, medical equipment, imaging, semiconductor fabrication, nonvolatile memory devices, process control, digital photography, consumer electronics, power tools, retail marketing, election software and equipment, logistics, online marketing, digital printing, automotive equipment, coatings, footwear, processed food, household products, outdoor furniture, chemical processing, Internet search engines and wireless communication devices.
With a degree in chemical engineering with additional course work in business and electrical engineering from the University of Illinois and a law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chris has also lectured on patent law and intellectual property practice, written articles on issues in patent litigation and financing of high-stakes patent litigation, and commented upon patent and trademark litigation in business publications.
Chris is a Master Member of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court, and is active in local and national bar associations. Chris is proud to serve as a mentor to young lawyers at the Inn of Court and other bar organizations and as an alumni advisor to a large number of law and engineering students.
Representative Past Cases
- Lead counsel in a multi-district patent litigation against a well-known international consumer product company that involved ten patents and related foreign proceedings. Following three years of hard-fought litigation, the case was settled on a global basis on terms highly favorable to his client, including eight-figure royalty payments and entry of a consent judgment order against the defendant.
- One of the two trial attorneys that led an 8-lawyer litigation team to a $120+ million jury verdict for a client company against a well-known electronics company for breach of a non-disclosure agreement. Chris was responsible for liability and technical portions of the trial. At the time of the verdict, it was the 7th largest jury verdict that year in the United States. The liability portion of the verdict was affirmed by the state appeals and eventually the Supreme Court with a retrial on damages to follow.
- Trial counsel in a patent case that resulted in an eight-figure damages award on a newly issued patent, a 12% royalty, and a finding of willful infringement for a leading wireless defense contractor against a well-known enterprise software company. The case was settled on appeal for a payment of $20+ million to his client.
- Lead trial counsel for an automotive equipment company in patent cases involving automotive safety technologies against four well-known industrial companies, which led to highly favorable licensing arrangements for his client, including substantial net balancing payments to his clients, after three years of active litigation.
- Defense counsel for a market leader in an industry-wide litigation involving a large patent portfolio on electronic registering equipment. He helped his client negotiate a complex but highly favorable global resolution after obtaining favorable summary judgment rulings against the plaintiff.
- Defense counsel for a market leader in a patent infringement and unfair competition lawsuit involving transportation systems and devices. He defeated a motion for a preliminary injunction and obtained a complete dismissal of the lawsuit through motion practice.
- Defense counsel for a well-known household product company in a trademark, unfair competition and design patent infringement lawsuit. He defeated a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction filed by a competitor that sought to derail an important product launch just before the key holiday shopping season. He eventually obtained a complete dismissal of the lawsuit and a payment of attorneys’ fees by the plaintiff to his client.
- Lead counsel in a number of lawsuits involving disputes over patent inventorship. The technologies involved in these cases run the gamut from logistics technology involving a well-known entertainment company to biomedical engineering technology involving a start-up biotech company. These cases were resolved through confidential, but highly favorable, settlement agreements after years of litigation.
- Lead trial counsel for an individual inventor who had developed the world's first voice-prompted automated CPR device that is now widely used in portable automated emergency defibrillators (AEDs). After more than five years of litigation, patent reexaminations and licensing, the entire industry took a license under his client's patent portfolio.
- Represented patent owners in patent portfolios sales to other technology companies, including a number of recent transactions that involved payments of eight-figure sums to his clients.
- Appointed by federal judges to represent indigent clients in civil rights violation cases. In one such case, Chris represented a client who had been wrongfully arrested, convicted and assaulted while under police custody. Based on his discovery of physical evidence that completely undermined the police report, the matter was settled confidentially through a significant settlement to his client.
- As a junior associate, Chris volunteered to work on a "small" but complicated patent infringement lawsuit on behalf of an individual inventor against a well-known industrial control company. After several years of bitter litigation handled solely by Chris on an alternative billing arrangement, the district court granted a summary judgment against his client on a controversial patent law issue. On appeal, Chris successfully obtained a reversal of the district court's ruling and recusal of the district judge. The case was tried years later by Chris and one of his former partners to a jury before a different trial judge, and resulted in an eight-figure judgment for his client. The case was later settled confidentially. His client, who had developed terminal cancer during the lawsuit, was not able to attend or testify at the trial. In a bittersweet moment of vindication, however, the inventor was able to receive the news of the verdict, give an interview to the New York Times that was arranged by Chris, read a Sunday Business Section article on his case a few days later and speak to one of the jurors before succumbing to his illness one week after the verdict. It is not the biggest or most publicized case that he has handled. But, Chris considers this case to be the most meaningful case of his career.
- University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
B.S. Chemical Engineering
- Chicago-Kent College of Law
- University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- Northern District of Illinois
- Eastern District of Michigan
- Supreme Court of Illinois
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
- Registered Patent Attorney
Activities and Recognition
- Selected to IAM Strategy 300: The World’s Leading IP Strategists
- Master Member, Richard Linn American Inn of Court
- Member of Trial Bar, Northern District of Illinois
- Rated AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell since 2002
- Selected to Illinois Super Lawyer List since 2012
- Recognition by Federal Judiciary for Outstanding Pro Bono Representation
- American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
- American Bar Association - Sections on Litigation & Intellectual Property Litigation
- Illinois State Bar Association