March 21, 2018

Barbara Fornasiero
EAFocus, Inc.

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announces that Steven L. Oberholtzer and James K. Cleland have been named co-chairs of the firm’s Automotive Industry Group. Oberholtzer is managing partner of the firm’s Ann Arbor office and Cleland is a shareholder, also based in Ann Arbor.

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, home of the world’s foremost autonomous vehicle test facility, Brinks’ Automotive Industry Group is strategically positioned at the epicenter of the U.S. automotive industry. Attorneys from Brinks’ Automotive Industry Group, working from the firm’s numerous office locations, offer comprehensive and thought-leading counsel on intellectual property litigation, patent, licensing, trademark, copyright, and trade secret issues involving nearly every major system associated with a vehicle. Many of the Group’s attorneys have extensive past experience working for automotive manufacturers, including OEMs and suppliers. This experience helps Brinks’ Automotive Industry Group understand the importance of practical advice, efficiency and creative problem solving, all with a close eye on the automotive market, including autonomy, mobility and connectivity, and the future of the industry.

Oberholtzer, with more than 35 years of experience as an intellectual property attorney, has extensive experience with the intellectual property legal issues of the automotive industry. He has a lifelong interest in the industry and its products; early in his career, he was a senior project engineer with a domestic OEM manufacturer and also served as in-house patent counsel for a Tier 1 supplier. At Brinks, Oberholtzer has acted as primary outside counsel for a number of Tier 1 and lower tier supplier engagements that include worldwide responsibility for all intellectual property issues and management of teams of attorneys handling all facets of these matters.

Oberholtzer is the principal author and original editor of The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law, originally published by Brinks in 2006 and recently released in its fourth, Centennial Edition to reflect ongoing changes in intellectual property law and coinciding with the firm’s 100th anniversary in 2017. He is also the principal author of the Brinks IP Toolkit, a resource binder of information for dealing with routine intellectual property legal matters including IP agreements, IP policies and procedures for companies, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and IP for information technology and social media. In August 2017, Oberholtzer was named The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 patent law “Lawyer of the Year” for Ann Arbor.

He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Kettering University and received his J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law.

Cleland’s practice focuses on patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition litigation in a broad range of technologies including the automotive, chemical, materials science, mechanical, electrical and medical device arts, as well as in client counseling, opinion and licensing work in those same areas.

Cleland’s litigation experience includes trials, preliminary injunction hearings, Markman hearings, summary judgment proceedings and all aspects of fact and expert witness discovery, spanning federal courts across the country. He also focuses on post-grant review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the busiest patent court in the country. Among his legal accolades, Cleland was named a DBusiness Top Lawyer in the area of trade secrets in 2016. He holds a J.D., cum laude, from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, cum laude, from the University of Michigan.

Brinks Gilson & Lione

Celebrating more than 100 years of intellectual property law, Brinks Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the US, and helps clients around the world to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights.  Our more than 140 lawyers, patent agents and scientific advisors assist clients in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret, and copyright law.  Brinks attorneys provide informed counsel with respect to innovations in a range of complex and valuable technologies, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, and medical devices.  More information is at