About Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

Chicago-based IP boutique firm Banner & Witcoff is unique not only for its status as a top firm in its field, but also for its role in shaping IP law by having represented defendants in groundbreaking Supreme Court cases. The firm, which has additional offices in Boston, Portland and Washington, DC, continues to be involved in developments in its field by representing top companies like Facebook, Nike, General Motors, Pandora Media Inc., General Electric, Allstate Insurance, Avaya, Inc., PepsiCo, Nokia and Toshiba.  

From Crops to Patents and Trademarks

Though it's been known as Banner & Witcoff since 1996, the firm's beginnings date all the way back to 1920. Back in those days, many of the firm's early clients were farmers and paid for their legal services in crops and produce. Its Chicago office, the location of its current headquarters, opened in 1937, where the firm began to represent clients like Lenox, Honeywell and Meredith Publishing; 1965 saw the opening of its DC office. Offices in Boston followed 20 years later, in 1985, and its fourth offices, in Portland, opened in 1997.

In 1978, name founder Don Banner was appointed Commissioner of the United States Patent & Trademark Office, kicking off a tradition of expertise in USPTO policies among firm attorneys. Banner & Witcoff's expertise has been widely recognized; in 2012 alone it made the National Law Journal's"Intellectual Property Hot List," and Banner & Witcoff was ranked a Top IP firm by Chambers and Partners and a top trademark firm by the World Trademark Review 1000.

A Role in History

In 1980, Banner & Witcoff won verdicts for defendants in the history-making case Diamond v. Chakrabarty, which established that the bacterium a General Electric engineer developed to break down crude oil--and living, genetically-altered organisms in general--could be patented. The firm made history again in 2001 with New York Times v. Tasini, which ruled that articles by freelance journalists licensed specifically for print editions of New York Times and other print publications like Newsday, Time, Inc., republished in electronic databases such as LexisNexis or University Microfilms International, constituted copyright infringement.

Computer Pioneers

True to its values as an IP firm, Banner & Witcoff stands at the forefront of innovation and has a special history in the field of computer technology. Founder Sheldon Witcoff was the first examiner of patent applications for electronic computers for the Patent Office in 1949. In 1973, the firm participated in a nine-month trial, one of the longest in history, to prove that John Atanasoff was the first inventor of the electric computer. Banner & Witcoff also pioneered the use of computers in courtroom pretrial discovery and document management in 1968.

Making and Breaking Records

Banner & Witcoff currently holds the record for obtaining the most U.S. design patents in a year. The firm first achieved this distinction in 1997, but has broken its own record six times since then. Since the start of the millennium, Banner & Witcoff has obtained 5,500 patents. The firm's rate and scale of patent procurement far outstrips those of its competitor firms. Its number of patents achieved since 2006 specifically--4,300--is 900 more than the number of patents obtained by the second and third-ranked firms for patent procurement in that period of time combined. 

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Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

Ten South Wacker Drive Suite 3000
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 463-5000
Fax: (312) 715-1234


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Managing Partner: Mark S. Cooperman
  • Total No. Attorneys 2014: 94

  • Employment Contact
    Chicago, IL
    Washington, DC
    Boston, MA
    Portland, OR

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $165,000
    Summer associate: $2,800/week (1L), $3,100/week (2L) 

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Appellate Litigation
    Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
    Counseling, Opinions & Licensing
    Counterfeit Goods Seizure
    Design Patents
    Electrical & Computer Technologies
    Internet, E-Commerce & Business Methods
    Jury Trials
    Life Sciences & Pharmaceuticals
    Medical Devices
    Patent Interferences
    Patent Prosecution
    Trade Dress
    Trade Secrets

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL (HQ)
  • Boston, MA
  • Portland, OR
  • Washington, D.C.

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