Press Releases
Four Attorneys from Brinks Gilson & Lione's Ann Arbor Office Recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers
September 13, 2012

ANN ARBORSteven L. Oberholtzer, Managing Partner of the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer for 2012 in the practice area of intellectual property law in the seventh annual survey. James K. Cleland and Michael N. Spink, also shareholders in the Ann Arbor office, and Associate John A. Lingl, were named Michigan Rising Stars. The Rising Star recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state who are 40 years old or younger or have been practicing for 10 years or less.

Steve Oberholtzer’s practice focuses on patent and trademark counseling, corporate intellectual property policy development and administration, technology licensing, joint development and joint venture relationship agreements. He also has experience in United States Patent and Trademark Office administrative proceedings including interferences, re-examinations, re-issues, trademark oppositions and patent application preparation and prosecution.

Mr. Oberholtzer has extensive experience with the intellectual property legal issues of the automotive industry. He has a lifelong interest in the industry and products, and was previously employed as a senior project engineer with a domestic OEM manufacturer and as in-house patent counsel for a Tier 1 supplier. In private practice, Mr. 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.

Mr. Oberholtzer is the principal author of a primer on intellectual property entitled, The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Kettering University, formerly known as the General Motors Institute, and received his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University. He is a member of the Technology Transfer Society and the Licensing Executives Society. Mr. Oberholtzer is a resident of Chelsea.

James Cleland, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property litigation, specializes in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and unfair competition litigation in a broad range of technologies including the chemical, materials science, mechanical and medical device arts, as well as in client counseling, opinion and licensing work in those same areas. He has represented large multinational corporations, as well as small corporations and individual clients in a variety of patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competition and trade secret settings.

Mr. Cleland holds a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law and a Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. He serves on the legal task force of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, the Trade Secret Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and is a member of the Federal Bar Association, American and Michigan Intellectual Property Law Associations and the Washtenaw County Bar Association. Mr. Cleland is a resident of Ann Arbor.

Michael Spink, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property, chairs the firm’s Intellectual Asset Management group, and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) with extensive experience in complex transactions involving intellectual property, including due diligence, disposition, valuation and bankruptcy issues. Mr. Spink’s patent practice includes portfolio management, prosecution, licensing and enforcement in numerous industries including the automotive, medical device and software industries. His trademark practice comprises worldwide portfolio management, clearance, prosecution, licensing and enforcement in federal district court and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. His copyright practice includes registration and licensing, and he is currently a contributing author on copyright law in a quarterly publication of the American Bar Association.

Mr. Spink holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He is active in professional activities including the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Owners Association and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and is co-chair of the Michigan Chapter of LES. Mr. Spink is a resident of Green Oak Township.

John Lingl, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property, focuses his practice on patent, copyright and trademark litigation. In addition, he prosecutes both foreign and domestic patent applications in numerous areas including semiconductors, electrical systems, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems, packet switching and routing, network traffic optimization, Internet search technologies, advertising and behavioral targeting technologies, optical systems, terahertz radiation systems, x-ray systems, automotive interior systems and automotive powertrain systems. He holds a J.D. from The Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Kettering University. Mr. Lingl is a resident of Northville.

About Super Lawyers: Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. To learn more, please visit

Brinks Gilson & Lione
Brinks has over 140 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with bachelors and advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. In addition to Ann Arbor, Brinks has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is available at