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 Allstate Insurance, Bank of America, Kimberly-Clark, Microsoft, Nike, 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. The firm's Washington, D.C. office opened in 1965. An office in Boston followed 20 years later, in 1985, and its fourth office, in Portland, opened in 1997.

In 1978, name founder Don Banner was appointed Commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, kicking off a tradition of expertise in USPTO policies among firm attorneys. This expertise has been widely recognized; in 2012, Banner & Witcoff made the National Law Journal's"Intellectual Property Hot List," and 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, in which the court ruled that publishing articles by freelance journalists that were licensed specifically for print editions ofthe New York Times and other print publications in electronic databases such as LexisNexis or University Microfilms International was a violation of those journalists' copyrights.

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 USPTO 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 pre-trial discovery and document management in 1968.

Making and Breaking Records

For the 12th consecutive year, Banner & Witcoff obtained more U.S. design patents than any other law firm in the United States. In 2014, the firm procured 790 U.S. design patents on behalf of its clients, including Electrolux, Microsoft, and Nike. The firm's rate and scale of patent procurement far outstrips those of its competitor firms. In the past five years, the firm procured more than 3,500 U.S. design patents, while its closest competitor procured fewer than 1,300 in the same period.

- Show Less + Show Full Description

Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • President: Thomas K. Pratt
  • Hiring Attorneys: Ross Dannenberg and Katie Laatsch Fink
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 103

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

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

Major Office Locations

  • Chicago, IL (HQ) • Boston, MA • Portland, OR • Washington, DC