Ann Arbor, Mich.—June 12, 2020 —Dickinson Wright PLLC boosted its already robust intellectual property practice with the addition of a powerhouse group of IP attorneys from the former Ann Arbor office of IP boutique Brinks Gilson & Lione. The announcement was made by Phil Rettig, Division Director of the firm’s IP practice.
“This is an exceptional group of IP attorneys, with the depth and breadth of knowledge to serve our clients in all industries and service sectors,” Rettig said. “They bring a varied suite of intellectual property experiences that complement Dickinson Wright’s national IP team, which is now more than 100 attorneys strong.”
Joining Dickinson Wright are:
James Cleland (Member) litigates patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition cases in a broad range of technologies including the automotive, chemical, materials science, mechanical, electrical and medical device arts, and assists his clients with counseling, opinion and licensing work in those same areas. He brings substantial first chair experience in both federal district courts and the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, including trials, IPRs, preliminary injunction hearings, Markman hearings summary judgment proceedings and all aspects of fact and expert witness discovery. Cleland is a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court, the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association Legal Task Force, the Federal Bar Association, the American and Michigan Intellectual Property Law Associations, and the Washtenaw County Bar Association. He is recognized as a leader in his field by IAM Patent 1000 and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Cleland holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and J.D. from Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
Gerlinde (Linda) Nattler (Member) knows how important it is to view patent applications in the context of a client’s business and technology, both domestically and globally. Prior to completing law school, Nattler gained in-house patent prosecution experience from an international automotive supplier, working first in Germany and then the U.S. A native of Dorsten, Germany, she holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Germany. While employed in Europe, Nattler was admitted to practice before the European Patent Office and today is one of very few U.S. attorneys qualified before both the European Patent Office and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Her knowledge of different standards applied by different patent offices helps her draft patent applications that withstand international as well as domestic challenges. Ms. Nattler is a member of the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan, the Society of Automotive Engineers, and the Vereinigung von Fachleuten des Gewerblichen Rechtsschutzes (VPP). She is recognized as a leader in her field by Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars and was named a “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. While working full-time, Nattler attended Thomas M. Cooley Law School on a full-tuition honors scholarship, graduating magna cum laude within three years. Despite English being her second language, she was Managing Associate Editor and Senior Associate Editor of Cooley’s Law Review. She holds a University Diploma in Physics from Universität Bayreuth.
Steven Oberholtzer (Member) focuses his practice on the development and implementation of corporate intellectual property policies, intellectual asset management, litigation, and technology licensing. He has a life-long interest in the auto industry and decades of experience representing automotive clients, including current responsibility for the worldwide intellectual property issues of multiple automotive suppliers. Oberholtzer formerly served as managing partner of Brinks’ Ann Arbor office and is a well-respected leader in Michigan’s legal community. Among his many legal honors, Oberholtzer has been named a Michigan Leader in the Law by Michigan Lawyers Weekly and Best Lawyers in America Lawyer of the Year in Patent Law for Ann Arbor(twice); he has also been recognized as a 2020 IP Star in patents and trademarks. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) and J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University.
Michael Spink (Member) helps clients effectively manage their intellectual assets, including corporate policies and procedures, licensing, clearance and patent and trademark procurement. He is skilled in IP analytics including portfolio classification, mapping, and analysis. He has extensive experience in complex transactions involving intellectual property, including due diligence, acquisition, disposition, and bankruptcy issues. Spink was recently Co-Chair of the Licensing Executives Society Michigan Chapter, and is a Certified Licensing Professional. He was awarded a position in the IAM 300 by his peers as a leading intellectual property strategist and Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Stars. His trademark practice comprises worldwide portfolio management, clearance, prosecution, licensing, and enforcement in federal district court and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; he has niche interest and experience in nontraditional trademarks, such as sound, color and product configuration. Spink holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan and J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.
Keith Weiss, Ph.D. (Of Counsel) has more than two decades of experience in corporate research and development in material science, inorganic chemistry, and polymer science, and is listed as an inventor on more than 30 U.S. patents. He has substantial experience with advanced materials, applications, and equipment used in multiple global industries, including automotive, aerospace, coatings, plastics, medical devices, and microelectronic fabrication. His experience also includes the integration of IP processes with R&D, marketing, and quality operations, as well as obtaining government funding for R&D initiatives and establishing joint R&D programs. Weiss focuses his practice on patent prosecution, technology licensing, portfolio development/management, and trade secret protection. Weiss holds a B.S. in chemistry from Clemson University, a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of Florida, and a J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School.
Sungwook (Sung) Lee (Associate) has experience in various aspects of patent practice including patent application preparation, patent prosecution and patent litigation. His practice focuses on mechanical and electromechanical structures such as automotive components, power systems, semiconductors, medical devices, and office products. He previously served as a U.S. patent attorney in Germany and has worked with the European patent system in addition to the United States patent system. With the knowledge and experience of different patent systems, he helps his clients apply their patents in both the United States and internationally. Prior to attending law school, he was an engineer in the U.S. automotive industry. Lee is a member of the Korean Intellectual Property Professionals in Europe (KIPEU) and the Association of Korean-American Professionals in the Automotive Industry (KPAI). He holds a B.S. from KAIST, an M.S. from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from Wayne State University Law School.
The attorneys joined Dickinson Wright in February 2020, but a broader announcement was delayed due to the pandemic. Also joining the firm’s intellectual property practice as members in the past 12 months were Scott McBain and Paul Rodriguez, both from IP boutique Cantor Colburn.
About Dickinson Wright PLLC
Dickinson Wright PLLC is a general practice business law firm with more than 475 attorneys among more than 40 practice areas and 16 industry groups. Headquartered in Detroit and founded in 1878, the firm has 18 offices, including six in Michigan (Detroit, Troy, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw) and 11 other domestic offices in Austin and El Paso, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; Las Vegas and Reno, Nev.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Silicon Valley, Calif.; and Washington, D.C. The firm’s Canadian office is located in Toronto.
Dickinson Wright offers our clients a distinctive combination of superb client service, exceptional quality, value for fees, industry expertise, and business acumen. As one of the few law firms with ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification and one of the only firms with ISO/IEC 27701:2019 certification, Dickinson Wright has built state-of-the-art, independently-verified risk management procedures, security controls and privacy processes for our commercial transactions. Dickinson Wright lawyers are known for delivering commercially-oriented advice on sophisticated transactions and have a remarkable record of wins in high-stakes litigation. Dickinson Wright lawyers are regularly cited for their expertise and experience by Chambers, Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and other leading independent law firm evaluating organizations.