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Helen Minsker of Banner & Witcoff is celebrated for many reasons, chief among them being her talents in trademark, copyright, and unfair competition laws. Outside of the firm, she has served various professional organizations in leadership capacities; for example, she is currently on the board of directors of both INTA and AIPLA. Katten Muchin Rosenman's clients reap the benefits of calling upon Kristin Achterhof, who has represented such widely recognized names as Universal Studios, Fruit of the Loom, Microsoft, Planet Hollywood, and Sony Music Corporation, among others. Her IP litigation and counsel practice is further enhanced by her vast experience in licensing, acquisition, distribution, and vendor transactions.

Pamela Ruschau and Claudia Stangle, both of Leydig Voit & Mayer, are clear leaders in the field. With a distinct background as a product engineer for General Motors, regarding her legal career, Ruschau is acknowledged for her years of experience in the mechanical, chemical, and pharmaceutical sectors. Stangle's practice encompasses disputes that include but are certainly not limited to trademarks, copyrights, false and comparative advertising, internet law, and publicity and privacy rights. The industries she represents are as broad in scope as her legal capabilities: Alcoholic beverages, consumer goods, and pharmaceuticals, among others, frequently come into her line of sight. The two stars have previously been recognized by this publication. Caryn Borg-Breen, also of Leydig Voit & Mayer, concentrates her robust IP practice on pharmaceutical, biochemical, and chemical litigation. She is particularly adept in issues arising under the Hatch-Waxman Act.

Nominations per firm
Banner & Witcoff 1
Barnes & Thornburg 1
Brinks Gilson & Lione 1
DLA Piper 1
Dorsey & Whitney 1
Fish & Richardson 2
Harness Dickey 1
Ice Miller 1
Katten Muchin Rosenman 2
Katz Group 1
Lathrop & Gage 1
Leydig Voit & Mayer 3
Marshall Gerstein & Borun 3
Merchant & Gould 1
Niro Haller & Niro 1
Nixon Peabody 2
Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi 1
Winston & Strawn 1
The Katz Group is powered by founder Julie Katz, who has dedicated the past two-plus decades to a myriad of IP affairs. Her experience and knowledge base cross industry boundaries as she works with clients on litigation regarding children's toys, computer software, antibiotics, and audio equipment, among others.

Janet Garetto, managing partner of Nixon Peabody's Chicago branch, operates across the trademarks and copyrights, patents, and IP litigation practice groups. She maintains a clear focus on chemical and medical technologies. Additionally, Garetto tackles her clients' day-to-day needs regarding domestic and international patents and deadlines. Her colleague Jodi Rosen Wine has been practicing in IP for more than two decades. She brings her impressive experienced with patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets to the firm and has represented clients at the trial and appellate levels.

Pamela Cox of Marshall Gerstein & Borun gets a nod due to her remarkable abilities with transactions, protection, and transfer as related to IP. Her clients belong to a diverse list of industries, from nonprofits to multinational corporations – among them MonoSol, NUtech Ventures, and Northwestern University. Having previously served  in-house, she is particularly sensitive to her clients' individual needs. Heather R. Kissling draws from over a decade of experience securing biotechnology patents to develop worldwide filing and prosecution strategies that further her clients’ business objectives. Ms. Kissling uses her experience in all phases of prosecution work to help biotechnology clients strategically develop and maintain patent portfolios to achieve business goals. Marshall Gerstein & Borun partner Lily Rin-Laures is in the business of patent portfolios, specifically for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Her previous experience as general counsel for a publicly held biotech company is considered a boon for her clients, as she is able to contribute an insider's perspective on and greater understanding of their concerns. Additionally, she serves on the executive committee.

Brinks Gilson & Lione's Mary Squyres returns to the rankings this year on account of of her highly successful practice protecting trademarks in international jurisdictions. She is responsible for major trademark holders, who trust and compliment her deft abilities and complete understanding of the process, including the complex nuances of the field. Meredith Martin Addy leads Katten Muchin Rosenman's patent litigation group as its national head. She focuses her IP practice on complex technological matters and provides counsel for high-profile companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, software, and high-tech spaces. As Chicago vice chair of DLA Piper's IP practice group, Christina Martini is touted for her expertise in counseling, prosecution, enforcement, due diligence, and licensing affairs. Brand development and management are also at the forefront of her practice, and she has developed a broad skillset in all aspects of handling large IP portfolios.

Liisa Thomas chairs Winston Strawn's privacy and data security practice. Noted among her many clients are major consumer brands, advertising agencies, and consumer research companies. Furthermore, having been born and lived for many years outside of the US, she is greatly appreciated for her familiarity with and insights on business systems and legal issues on an international scale. Olivia Luk brings her background in science to Niro Haller & Niro, having spent five years as a USPTO patent examiner in semiconductor processing for Tech Center 2800. Outside of her firm, she is active in various professional committees and associations. She founded the Richard Linn American Inn of Court in Chicago and is its past president.


Registered patent attorney Holiday Banta throws her professional life into intellectual property litigation, dispute negotiations, US and foreign trademark prosecution, and IP licensing. The Ice Miller partner is loudly applauded for her attentiveness to clients during all phases of a case. Barnes & Thornburg boasts Deborah Pollack-Milgate, a leading Indianapolis-based attorney specializing in patent and complex commercial litigation. This practice includes various antitrust, contracts, and appellate issues.


Although an associate, Amy Brozenic of Lathrop & Gage received strong feedback from her Kansas-based peers. She joined the Overland Park office in 2008 and has since kept her attention on intellectual property – particular scrutinizing trademark applications for Lanham Act compliance and USPTO procedural requirements.


Lisabeth Coakley has more than three decades of experience as both in-house and outside counsel. At Harness Dickey, she focuses her practice on trademark and anti-counterfeit matters with additional work in customs enforcement and seizures as well as domain name disputes. This is the second consecutive year she has been named in Top 250 Women in IP.


Chair of Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi's business litigation group and a member of its executive board, Jan Conlin is a decorated attorney whose knowledge of high-stakes intellectual property runs deep. She was recognized as among the Top 250 Women in Litigation by Benchmark Litigation in 2013 and shortlisted for the same directory's "Female Litigator of the Year – Midwest" annual award. Her cases have included many valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, among them a $520.6 million verdict against Microsoft and a $400 million settlement for Pitney Bowes Inc.

Dorothy Whelan serves as Fish & Richardson's post-grant practice group chairperson. Her work additionally encompasses patent portfolios, and she has vast experience in the chemical and materials sciences sectors. Whelan works in the Twin Cities office, where Ann Cathcart Chaplin is managing principal and leads the litigation practice group. The latter focuses on patent, trade secret, and trademark litigation and enforcement. Tellingly, 2014 marks the second consecutive year both names have appeared in this publication.

At Merchant & Gould, Rachel Zimmerman touts her tailored approach to clients' diverse needs. She excels in all phases involved in IP litigation, from the initial investigation through post-trial and until the close of the appeals process. Additionally, with respect to disputes at the appellate level, her previous experience as a clerk for the US Court of Appeals clearly shows. Jamie Nafziger, of Dorsey's Minneapolis office, practices in the trademark, copyright, advertising, and brand-management group. She is co-chair of the firm's privacy and social media practice and brings more than 15 years of experience with cutting-edge legal work to her position.

Firm profile

Harness Dickey & Pierce, P.L.C. is one of the nation's largest intellectual property law firms and is internationally known, operating globally since 1921. Our lawyers provide counseling, licensing, litigation and prosecution services that range from patents and copyrights to anti-counterfeiting and foreign rights. We have more than 120 intellectual property professionals with scientific and engineering degrees. Their technical disciplines range from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical engineering to the computer sciences and genetics, as well as materials and metallurgical engineering, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and agricultural engineering.

Our expertise has become a critical asset in today's volatile legal environment. All fields of intellectual property are experiencing dramatic changes, making it increasingly challenging to protect technology and brands globally. Our large-scale operations meet these challenges by employing lawyers who specialize in each area of intellectual property. Such specialization allows us to deliver state-of-the-art legal strategies and effectively handle every intellectual property issue confronting your business. Our extensive legal experience includes:

  • Former In-House IP Counsel
  • Former Patent Examiners
  • Industry and Executive Experience
  • A Vast Array of Technical Backgrounds

Our domestic and international patent practice is second to none. We also have lawyers focusing exclusively on worldwide trademark and internet issues, and our partners spend significant time providing opinions relevant to all aspects of intellectual property, including due diligence. Our litigation practice focuses exclusively on resolving intellectual property disputes quickly and effectively.

We understand that quality work is our clients' most important objective because their competitive advantage hinges upon it. We deliver strategies without having to "reinvent the wheel" each time, because our lawyers specialize and do not merely dabble in their areas of focus.

We are privileged to represent some of the most successful and sophisticated companies worldwide, including many Fortune 100 and 500 companies, and we have been ranked on a national level by several well-respected publications in the industry, including:

  • Intellectual Property Today–Top Patent Firms, ranked 6th nationally for obtaining more than 3,000 patents
  • U.S. News and World Report–2014 Best Lawyers and Tier 1 Best Law Firms
  • Managing Intellectual Property–2014 Top Patent Prosecution Firm in the Midwest

We have offices in metropolitan Detroit, MI, St. Louis, MO and Washington, DC, each of which focuses exclusively on intellectual property. We are one of the very few intellectual property firms in the world with substantial offices near both of the USPTO offices. This provides our attorneys with a vehicle for face-to-face attorney/Examiner interviews on behalf of our clients. For more information, please visit us at website

Pamela L. Cox


Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
233 South Wacker Drive, 6300 Willis Tower
Chicago, IL 60606-6357
Tel: 312.423.3451

Pamela L. Cox, partner and chair of the IP Transactions practice at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, concentrates on counseling related to intellectual property transactions, protection and transfer for clients ranging from multinational corporations to non-profit institutions. As a patent attorney who has managed intellectual property portfolios in-house, Ms. Cox understands her clients' intellectual property and agreement needs, and remains passionately engaged until achieving their strategic objectives. Clients find her talented at unraveling complex deal structures and devising creative agreement solutions as a seamless member of their team.

"Pamela Cox is fantastic on complex licensing deals and, as a result of her vast experience, can be extremely persuasive in negotiations. She is a pre-eminent authority on university technology transfer and licensing acting for commercial and non-profit clients. Pamela Cox is one of the foremost licensing experts both in the Midwest and nationally." – IAM Patent 1000.

Ms. Cox is named by her peers as one of The Best Lawyers in America in Biotechnology Law. She is an "IP Star" in Managing IP's 2014 World IP Handbook and Survey. Ms. Cox is "highly recommended" for licensing and for a number of years has been named one of "The World's Leading IP Patent and Technology Licensing Lawyers" by Intellectual Asset Management. Her peers say she is a "Leading Lawyer" in Leading Lawyers Network.

Pamela Cox is committed to the practice of law and advancing the profession. Ms. Cox serves as:

  • Board Member for Certified Licensing Professionals, Inc. Board of Governors
  • International Delegate for the Licensing Executives Society USA/Canada
  • Chair of the Life Sciences Committee for the Licensing Executives Society International
  • Committee member of the Business Development Curriculum Committee for Association of University Technology Managers
  • Adjunct Professor in the Master of Science Program, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Frequent speaker and author sought internationally to provide thought leadership

Ms. Cox received her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame School of Law and her B.S. in biology/microbiology concentration from Indiana University. Ms. Cox is admitted to practice law in the state of Illinois and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and is a Certified Licensing Professional.*

*The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the CLP™ certification is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.

Heather R. Kissling


Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
233 South Wacker Drive, 6300 Willis Tower
Chicago, IL 60606-6357
Tel: 312.474.6638

Heather R. Kissling, partner and chair of the Biotechnology practice at Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP. Heather R. Kissling draws from over a decade of experience securing biotechnology patents to develop worldwide filing and prosecution strategies that further her clients’ business objectives.
Ms. Kissling uses her experience in all phases of prosecution work to help biotechnology clients strategically develop and maintain patent portfolios to achieve business goals.Using her advanced training in biotechnology, she actively collaborates with bench scientists, business development personnel, and in-house counsel to maximize protection of biotechnology innovations in a broad range of technologies including antibody and protein technology, gene therapy, viral vector and cell line technologies, recombinant DNA and expression systems, genetically modified plants and screening methods for anti-viral therapies. Her background in interference and opposition proceedings also benefits clients seeking advice with respect to competitor patent positions and third party challenges in the patent office. Clients find her to be a forward-thinking advocate that shares their commitment to realizing the maximum value from their intellectual property assets.

Ms. Kissling uses her experience in all phases of prosecution work to help biotechnology clients strategically develop and maintain patent portfolios to achieve business goals. She has evaluated the patentability of client inventions and prepared and prosecuted patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and foreign patent offices for universities, non-profit research institutions, governmental agencies, start-ups, and established biotechnology companies. She aids clients in defining commercial opportunities by investigating competitor patent landscapes, patent validity, and freedom to operate issues. Ms. Kissling also presents seminars on recent developments in case law, current trends at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and building intellectual property assets.

Heather Kissling is actively involved in the biotechnology industry and committed to advancing women in the profession, serving on:

  • Biotechnology Industry Organization, International Convention Programming Committee 2013, 2012, 2010, and 2006.
  • Outreach Committee, Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law Firms
  • Advisory Board, Communications Committee Chair, and Programming Committee, Women In Bio – Chicago Chapter

Ms. Kissling was selected for inclusion in the 2013 and 2014 Illinois Rising Stars® lists, featuring outstanding young attorneys in the state.

Ms. Kissling received her J.D., with high honors, from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, and graduated with a Masters of Science degree in Biotechnology from Northwestern University. Her graduate research experience included residencies at Abbott Laboratories and the Lurie Cancer Center of the Northwestern University School of Medicine. She received a Bachelors of Science in Biology and Liberal Arts Chemistry, magna cum laude, from the University of Evansville.

Li-Hsien (Lily) Rin-Laures, M.D.


Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
233 South Wacker Drive, 6300 Willis Tower
Chicago, IL 60606-6357
Tel: 312.474.6641

For clients in the biopharma industry, Partner Li-Hsien (Lily) Rin-Laures, M.D. is a strategic partner in using intellectual property to achieve her clients' business goals. With two decades of experience building and assessing patent portfolios in the biopharma industry, as well as in negotiating licenses and strategic alliances, she anticipates issues and opportunities. She brings to her practice a unique insider's perspective gained as former General Counsel of a publicly-held biotechnology company and insight acquired from managing patent portfolios for eight different approved drugs and numerous other clinical trial candidates, enabling her to be a valuable strategic partner to clients. Dr. Rin-Laures is also a member of the Firm's Executive Committee responsible for managing the Firm.

Dr. Rin-Laures regularly counsels clients – from startups to Fortune 500 companies – on patent strategy relating to new pharmaceutical/biotechnology product development, therapeutic uses, and product life cycle management, as well as the interface with FDA regulations and related exclusivity provisions. She advises clients in a variety of transactions from due diligence to term sheet negotiations and drafting complex agreements. Her experience includes agreements dealing with licenses, collaborations and other strategic alliances, sponsored research, technology and material transfer.

In recognition of her outstanding patent work in life sciences, Dr. Rin-Laures has been featured as a Life Sciences Star in Managing Intellectual Property's LMG Life Sciences, 2012-2014, and in 2014 was inducted into the LMG Life Sciences Hall of Fame. She was recognized as a 2012 Leading Law Firm Rainmaker in MCCA's Diversity & The Bar, featured as one of the 2014 "Women Worth Watching" in Profiles in Diversity Journal, selected as one of the "World's Leading Patent Practitioners" in 2013-2014 by Intellectual Asset Magazine (IAM), selected as an IP Star in Managing IP's 2013 World IP Handbook and Survey, and inducted into Law Bulletin's "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch" Hall of Fame.

Committed to advancing women in the life sciences industry, Dr. Rin-Laures was a founder and the first Chair of Women in Bio – Chicago Chapter, and has been actively involved in numerous organizations focused on mentoring and advancing women.

Dr. Rin-Laures earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude, received her M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School, and graduated at age 17 from Johns Hopkins University where she received her B.A. in Chemistry, with honors.


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