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Intellectual Property


A Big Picture Approach

Global multinationals, emerging growth companies and established mid-sized businesses all rely on McNair's business-focused approach to protect and exploit their intellectual property assets. When you ask us to secure a patent or trademark, we ask the right questions so we can address your needs with a full range of options that fit your overall business strategy.

If you face a dispute over infringement, a trade secret or a non-compete agreement, we use litigation as just one tool to solve your business problem. Our IP lawyers are positioned to offer you a multi-disciplinary approach to today's emerging issues in the development, protection and profitable exploitation of your intellectual property assets.

Our goal is to protect your investment, increase your market share and strengthen your competitive advantage.

Press Releases


Media Coverage


Reported Cases

Although we are business lawyers first and foremost, we speak the technical language of clients in industries as diverse as biotechnology, software development, medical devices and motor vehicle components. On our IP team you'll find lawyers who have been in the computer industry, who have undergraduate training in physics and biochemistry, and who have both prosecuted hundreds of applications.

Because we speak the language of your business and the technical vernacular of your IP applications, you'll find us at your place of business. You'll see us attending the same industry and trade shows that you attend so that we can keep current on the developments that affect your company. And because our offices are located to serve the core of the business community in the Carolinas, we are accessible in person or by phone whenever you need us.

Clients who rely on McNair get the services of an IP lawyer who has a solid understanding of business realities. This means that our IP lawyers collaborate with colleagues throughout our firm to ensure that you get complete advice on the business impact of licensing, technology transfer agreements, strategic alliances, and pending or enacted legislation and regulations. We can help you with acquisitions and start-ups, offer guidance on the best way to protect trade secrets and confidentiality, and evaluate the best ways to use your intellectual property portfolio to shelter investments in products and markets.

We use our skill as lawyers who understand business to help growing companies accelerate their market penetration through strategic business combinations and alliances. Our transactional experience includes mergers and acquisitions designed to leverage clients' IP strengths, as well as licensing agreements that both extend and protect your ownership rights. Our lawyers guide you from the start in a transaction, making sure all patents, trademarks, copyrights and publicity rights are secured even before structuring the deal. We carefully draft the appropriate agreements, documenting all the terms of complex ownership and royalty issues and handling the details of domestic and foreign distribution.

Example of our Services
When business is going well, it's easy to absorb the expense of a patent. But when one of our clients, a manufacturer of motor vehicle components, faced financial difficulties because of an industry-wide downturn, it had to cut IP management fast. We developed a "patent triage" system which helped our client evaluate its portfolio, identified the most valuable technologies, and focused protection efforts there – immediately saving thousands of dollars while ensuring focused intellectual asset management.

With our broad technical experience, we can prepare and prosecute patents in the U.S. and abroad, across a full spectrum of applications – mechanical, chemical, biotechnical, software and design inventions. More important, you get patent counsel that is integrated into a value-added strategy in which we provide the legal component to help you exploit new business opportunities while protecting you from infringers. That includes protecting your patent-related trade secrets through effective non-competition agreements, and licensing your patents in ways that reduce infringement risk and tax liability while maximizing your control and income stream.

Example of our Services
Our client, a specialized manufacturer of products used by the U.S. military, faced a request by its major competitor to pay royalties on a product that the competitor had recently patented. We examined the competitor's patent and found that much of its technology existed either in prior art or in our client's own patents. McNair filed a re-examination request with the Patent and Trademark Office, and the PTO found the competitor's patent invalid. The result: rather than paying royalties, our client is now selling the patented product to its competitor, giving it a stronger market position than ever.

Our lawyers have established and asserted trademarks and managed trademark portfolios for companies involved in real estate, financial services, health care, hospitality and a wide range of other businesses. We report to our clients candidly about legal issues and cases, which is particularly important when the clients are offering their business interest to prosecuting trademarks and service marks, both in the U.S. and abroad. You get advice on clearance searches that identify the risks associated with using a mark as well as the impact of common law rights in standard usage and on the Internet. You'll know where you stand in the process for securing and maintaining federal or state level trademark or service mark registration. Your trademark portfolio gets complete attention so that assessments and renewals are timely and complete. And because we continually review how your marks are used, we often can identify new opportunities for licensing and enforcement.

Example of our Services
For more than 50 years, competing companies had made replacement parts for the military aircraft produced by a global aerospace client. We reviewed the competitive issues and concluded that our client's unique parts numbering system could be protected by trademarks, thus requiring other parts manufacturers to use the parts numbers and pay royalties to our client. It took 18 months of litigation and mediation among all the parties, but we secured a consent agreement that required all parts manufacturers to use the numbering system, creating a significant new income stream for our client.

No matter what the court or forum, McNair has the capabilities to protect your intellectual assets from infringers and to assert your competitive rights when other companies have not followed effective protection strategies. We have represented IP clients before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, and the Patent Office Board of Appeals. Our definition of winning in IP disputes is to achieve your business objectives, whether the issue involves patent, trademark or copyright infringement, trade secrets misappropriation, cybersquatting and domain name rights, or software development contracts.