Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione to Open Detroit Office


DETROIT — Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., will open a new Detroit office next month, in the same building as the new Elijah J. McCoy U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, announced firm president James R. Sobieraj today. 

The USPTO opened the first satellite office in its history in Detroit on July 13. According to USPTO statements, these satellite offices are being established to allow “businesses to move their innovations to market more quickly and giving them more room to create new jobs.” The Detroit office is the first to open; others will open later in Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Silicon Valley. 

Sobieraj, a Michigan native with engineering and law degrees from the University of Michigan, explained the firm’s reasons for taking this step. 

“The USPTO’s decision to open new satellite offices is a strategic move to help support the growing importance of American intellectual property to business.  The Detroit office will provide an on-site location for Brinks and its domestic and international clients to participate more effectively in patent examination and administrative trial proceedings created under the recently enacted America Invents Act (AIA),” said Sobieraj on making the announcement. 

On September 16, a series of final rules issued by the USPTO became effective to implement three administrative trial provisions for challenging patents under the AIA, which are:

  • Post-grant review of patents during a nine-month window after the patent issues,
  • Inter partes review after the later of the nine-month window or, if a post-grant review is instituted, the termination of the post-grant review, and
  • The transitional program for covered business method patents. These administrative trial proceedings provide companies with an alternative to litigation in a U.S. Federal Court for challenging the patentability of an invention claimed in an issued U. S. patent. 

The Detroit office will be the second in Michigan for the Midwest’s largest IP specialty firm, which has had an office in Ann Arbor since 2000.  Brinks has its headquarters in Chicago, with additional offices in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, Research Triangle Park and Salt Lake City. 

Kelly K. Burris, currently a shareholder in Brinks’ Ann Arbor office, will serve as managing partner of the new Detroit office of Brinks, where she will be joined by Brinks shareholder Margaret Dobrowitsky and associate Keith D. Weiss, Ph.D.