From its perch atop Chicago's NBC tower, Brinks Hofer Gilson
& Lione is an intellectual property shop with a particularly
firm grasp on the ins and outs of technology patenting. From
biotechnology to international trademark law to trade secrets,
Brinks has earned a reputation as one of Illinois', and the
nation's, best corporate IP firms.
In 1917, George Wilkinson and Henry Huxley founded a two-man
patent law firm in Chicago, a practice which eventually developed
into the much larger intellectual property boutique of today.
Founding partner Wilkinson argued a Supreme Court trademark case
which led to the legal concept of "commercial magnetism," and
Huxley taught patent law at Northwestern University. In the 1940s,
partner James Hume provided patent counsel to Leo Szilard and
Enrico Fermi, fathers of the atomic bomb. The following decade,
partner Howard Clement contributed to LBJ's commission to revise
the patent system in the U.S.
Since then, the firm has expanded to open offices in Michigan,
Indiana, Utah, North Carolina and Washington, DC. The firm's
intellectual property expertise has landed it more than once in
Intellectual Property Today's list of the top IP firms in
the country; Chambers has recognized Brinks for being the
top intellectual property law firm in Illinois several years in a
row. Brinks has represented clients like the Coca-Cola Company,
Tri-Seal International, Amway, United Air Lines, ESCO Technologies
Company, Herman Miller, Kodak and Bayer AG, and has also argued
cases before the International Trade Commission.
Refusing to Dumb it Down for the Jury
With IP departments in fields like green technology, mechanical
IP and nanotechnology, it makes sense that many of the firm's
attorneys hold advanced technical degrees in fields like
engineering, biology and chemistry. And in case the in-house acumen
is still too low, the firm also employs scientific advisors with
expertise in computers and the electrical and mechanical arts.
Governing courtroom strategy is the firm's refusal to subscribe to
"the notion that juries cannot understand highly technical subject
matter," and the firm's attorneys have won over juries by
knowledgeably breaking down the technologies governing products
from meat-packing plastics to air mattresses.
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