Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property firms in the United States, has approximately 135 attorneys, supported by a full complement of scientific advisors, patent agents and paralegals. The firm's headquarters are atop one of the preeminent buildings on Chicago's skyline, the 1989 Art Deco-style skyscraper designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill known as the NBC Tower, at 455 North Cityfront Plaza Drive.
As one of the largest firms in its specialty, Brinks is at the cutting edge of intellectual property law.
We litigate, counsel and prosecute in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, Internet and related areas of law. We routinely handle assignments in fields as diverse as electrical, chemical, mechanical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology and computer technology, as well as in trademarks or brand names for a wide variety of products and services.
Brinks also takes civic pride in providing pro bono legal services to those unable to pay in matters involving eviction, immigration, asylum and criminal matters, as well as non-profits in their intellectual property law matters.
Founded in 1917 as the two-person patent law firm of Wilkinson & Huxley, Brinks now can boast almost a century of deep, practical experience in the field of intellectual property law. The firm's attorneys are also steeped in the history and development of intellectual property law, and in the professional associations that serve it. Brinks lawyers have handled landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the regional courts of appeals, and have held leadership positions in all the major bar and intellectual property law associations.
Founder George Wilkinson argued and won the case in which Justice Frankfurter introduced the term "commercial magnetism" (the quality that entitles a symbol to protection) into the lexicon of trademark law. In 1930, founder Henry Huxley not only handled an active legal practice, but also taught a course in patent law at Northwestern University Law School. Both Wilkinson and Huxley rose to prominence in the American Bar Association's Patent, Trademark and Copyright section.
James Hume, a prominent partner in the firm from 1947 to 1983, tried patent cases across the country. (At one point, Mr. Hume flew with Charles Lindbergh, then a U.S. Postal Service pilot, but there is no record of his having advised Mr. Lindbergh on patent law!) Hume also gave patent counsel to research scientists Leo Szilard and Enrico Fermi in connection with their work on the Manhattan Project, a former U.S. executive agency that developed the atomic bomb.
Howard Clement, another named partner from 1956-1983, litigated major patent cases, served as president of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and contributed substantial recommendations on revisions to the U.S. patent system as a member of President Lyndon Johnson's commission to reform the system.
In 2011, with the unanimous vote of Brinks' governing board of shareholders, James R. Sobieraj was elected President of Brinks for a term beginning on January 1, 2012.
An attorney at Brinks since 1982, Mr. Sobieraj is a seasoned intellectual property counselor and litigator before juries, judges and arbitrators, representing companies with a variety of innovative technologies. He has been lead counsel in numerous lawsuits involving patent infringement, ownership of patent rights, license disputes, misappropriation of trade secrets, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, fraud, antitrust, breach of contract and other commercial disputes. Mr. Sobieraj is a past president of the Licensing Executives Society (LES USA & Canada), has served as president of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago, is a board director for the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and is a founding member of the IP Hall of Fame Academy and the Richard Linn American Inn of Court. He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and holds a B.S. magna cum laude in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan.
On assuming the role, Mr. Sobieraj commented on Brinks' direction for the future and its mission for clients: "In today's global business environment, technological innovation and intellectual assets are the single most important drivers of company value. The expertise of Brinks' intellectual property attorneys, our patent agents, and our research personnel in the sciences, engineering, and a wide range of technologies helps us to identify and protect our clients' intellectual property, manage their intellectual asset portfolios, and enforce their IP rights."
Firm Practice Groups
Brinks is organized in both practice area and industry groups, ranging from biotech/pharmaceuticals to appellate to trademark. Each group monitors and implements practice changes required by current developments in its area.
The practice groups are led by a generation of highly talented lawyers who have substantial experience handling first chair and comparable non-litigation responsibilities. These practice leaders, team members and the firm's senior leadership are credited with establishing and maintaining the firm’s high rankings in prestigious publications and its consistent position as #1 in intellectual property law in Chicago, #1 in Illinois, and #1 in the Midwest.
Jury Trial Record
Brinks is justifiably proud of its pioneering successes in trying intellectual property law cases before juries. Defying the notion that juries cannot understand highly technical subject matter, Brinks lawyers have generated noteworthy awards on behalf of clients, many of them in the last decade.
In other firm jury cases, awards obtained included $40 million for infringing patents covering fan assemblies used with radiators and condensers in automobiles and $12.5 million for infringement of a patent for an outdoor electrical outlet cover.
In 2004, juries awarded Brinks clients $3.5 million in a gray-market trademark infringement case, $5.9 million for infringement of a patent for automatically inflating, adjustable air mattresses, and $1 million for trademark infringement, plus attorneys' fees.
Today's Name Partners
Shareholders Henry Brinks, Jerome Gilson and Richard Lione all remain active at the firm, together having amassed more than 175 years of service to Brinks, its clients and to civic and professional associations.
Henry Brinks has been a stalwart in patent law and litigation for a half century, handling numerous trials and patent counseling for high-profile clients and participating in a dozen intellectual property law and other associations.
Jerome Gilson is a distinguished trademark lawyer, who authored and currently supplements the 30-year old leading treatise, Gilson on Trademarks (LexisNexis/Matthew Bender). In 1998, he was named by his peers as "Top Trademark Practitioner in the World" in a survey conducted by the U.K. publication Managing Intellectual Property.
Richard G. Lione's career has been a unique blend of patent prosecution and litigation, two skill sets that today rarely overlap. He has also achieved distinction in spending about half of his time representing major European and Japanese businesses, in diverse technologies such as robotics, machine tools, aircraft instrumentation, textiles and packaging machinery.
Since 1917, Brinks Gilson & Lione has earned an enviable reputation. Through the stellar efforts of our lawyers in trying cases, arguing appeals, writing books, heading associations, teaching law school courses and handling pro bono matters, the firm will continue to strive for the best possible outcomes for its clients, while upholding its distinguished level of service to the legal profession and the general public.