Banner & Witcoff, Ltd., a national intellectual property law firm that procures, enforces and litigates intellectual property rights throughout the world, announces the election of a firm president and seven shareholders.
Charles Miller, Elected President, Chicago, joined the firm in 1999. Mr. Miller concentrates on patent prosecution and counseling matters primarily in the electrical, computer and business method arts, where he counsels a range of clients from start-ups and emerging growth companies to large multinational corporations. In addition to strategic patent portfolio creation and management, he prepares product clearance, infringement and validity opinions. Prior to joining Banner & Witcoff, Mr. Miller worked as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering, magna cum laude, from Southern Illinois University. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from George Mason University.
Elizabeth A. Almeter, Elected Principal Shareholder, Washington, D.C., joined the firm in 2005. Ms. Almeter focuses her practice on utility patent prosecution and client counseling. Her experience includes preparation and prosecution of patents in the mechanical and computer arts, and in the electrical and business method technologies. Prior to joining Banner & Witcoff, Ms. Almeter worked as a process engineer for a global industrial gases company. She earned her B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from the SUNY University at Buffalo Law School.
Audra C. Eidem Heinze, Elected Principal Shareholder, Chicago, joined the firm in 2009. Ms. Eidem Heinze handles complex litigation, opinion work and transactional issues involving patents, trademarks and copyrights. Her experience involves an extensive range of fields, including imaging devices and supplies, computer hardware and software, and athletic footwear, apparel and equipment. Before joining the firm, Ms. Eidem Heinze researched gene mutations in C. elegans at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s Biomedical Research Facility and worked as a Field Claims Specialist Intern for Monsanto Corp. She earned her B.S. degree in biochemistry, with honors, from the University of Missouri, and her J.D., summa cum laude, from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now Texas A&M University School of Law).
Brian Emfinger, Elected Principal Shareholder, Chicago, joined the firm in 2012. Mr. Emfinger concentrates his practice on preparing and procuring patents in the computer, mechanical and electromechanical fields with particular emphasis in computer- and software-implemented inventions. He also has experience providing legal and technical support during patent enforcement, various phases of patent litigation and IPR proceedings. He previously worked as a software engineer for a consulting company in Georgia and as an associate at an IP boutique in the Chicago area. He earned his B.S. degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and his J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Rajit Kapur, Elected Principal Shareholder, Washington, D.C., joined the firm in 2012. Mr. Kapur primarily concentrates on preparing and prosecuting patent applications, and has drafted and prosecuted numerous patent applications directed to computer software. He also assists and advises clients with respect to trademarks, copyrights and other forms of intellectual property. Prior to joining Banner & Witcoff as an attorney, he was an associate in the Silicon Valley office of a large international law firm. Mr. Kapur earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering, magna cum laude, from Tufts University. He earned his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School.
Matthew J. May, Elected Principal Shareholder, Chicago, joined the firm as a law clerk in 2007 and as an attorney in 2009. Mr. May prepares and prosecutes utility and design patent applications for a variety of technological areas, including athletic equipment, footwear, lighting fixtures, railroad technologies, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and business methods. He also prepares and prosecutes trademark applications, and has been a member of litigation teams for both patent protection and trademark protection cases. He previously worked as an engineering manager with Baxter Healthcare and as a project engineer for Avon Products. He earned his B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Military Academy, and served with the U.S. Army and Illinois National Guard, and is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve. He earned his M.B.A., with distinction, from DePaul University, and J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.
Gregory G. Schlenz, Elected Principal Shareholder, Chicago, joined the firm in 2006. Mr. Schlenz concentrates in domestic and foreign patents, trademarks, unfair competition, copyrights and trade secrets. He has experience in patent and trademark prosecution, post-grant review proceedings, litigation, client counseling, opinion work, licensing, confidentiality and joint development agreements, trademark opposition proceedings, and due diligence and other investigations. Prior to joining Banner & Witcoff, he worked as a metallurgist at ALCOA. He earned his B.S. degree in materials science and engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Kevin C. Keenan, Elected Shareholder, Chicago, joined the firm in 2014. Mr. Keenan focuses his practice on patent prosecution, patent litigation and counseling. He has experience prosecuting and litigating utility and design patent applications in a variety of industries and technological areas, including athletic equipment, footwear, construction machinery and wallboard manufacturing systems. Before joining Banner & Witcoff, Mr. Keenan was an associate at an international intellectual property law firm. He also worked as an engineer in a wallboard manufacturing facility at USG Corp. He earned his B.S.E. in mechanical engineering, magna cum laude, from the University of Michigan. He earned his J.D. from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
About Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
A national intellectual property law firm with more than 100 attorneys and 95 years of practice, Banner & Witcoff, Ltd., provides legal counsel and representation to the world’s most innovative companies. Our attorneys are known for having the breadth of experience and insight needed to handle complex patent applications as well as handle and resolve difficult disputes and business challenges for clients across all industries and geographic boundaries. For more information, please visit www.bannerwitcoff.com.
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