May 19, 2017

“As patents multiply, so does demand for IP lawyers,” St. Louis Business Journal, May 19, 2017

St. Louis law firms have been adding intellectual property lawyers — as well as stealing them from one another — and the increase in U.S. patent applications shows one reason why.

Total U.S. patent applications, excluding reissues, increased to 629,647 in 2015 from 520,277 in 2010 and 417,508 in 2005, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Growth and advances in technology have been a primary driver of IP business.

Harness IP, an intellectual property firm based in Michigan, with 18 lawyers in St. Louis, last week won a case before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Washington, D.C., involving its client, Engineered Corrosion Solutions in St. Louis, and South-Tek Systems and Potter Electric Co., also based here. The dispute involves inventions designed to lessen corrosion in fire sprinklers. The case is the first of two reviews at issue for Engineered Corrosion patents. After that decision, the case will go back to court for resolution.

“This is the first in a series of challenges,” said Michael Thomas, one of the St. Louis Harness IP lawyers representing Engineered Corrosion. Harness ranked seventh among U.S. law firms in patent work in 2016, with 3,104 utility patents, according to IPWatchdog.

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