Banner & Witcoff

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Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois USA
No. of offices 4
No. of attorneys 96
Major practice areas Intellectual Property Law
Date founded 1920

Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. is an American law firm that specializes in the practice of intellectual property law, including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, computer franchise and unfair competition law. The firm engages in the procurement, enforcement and litigation of intellectual property rights throughout the world, including all federal and state agencies, and the distribution of such rights through leasing and franchising. The firm has approximately 90 attorneys and agents in its Chicago, IL; Washington, DC; Boston, MA; and Portland, OR offices.[1]


Banner & Witcoff traces its history from 1920, in Des Moines, Iowa. The company's name was chosen when two regional intellectual property law firms, Allegretti & Witcoff and Banner, Birch, McKie & Beckett, joined forces to create a national firm.[2] The firm opened the Chicago office of Banner & Witcoff in 1937. Subsequent offices were opened in Washington, DC (1960), Boston, MA (1985) and Portland, OR (1997).


The firm has offered the Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship for Law Students annually since 2008.[3]

Practice Groups[4][edit]

  • Copyrights
  • Design patents
  • Jury trials
  • Licensing
  • Litigation
  • Patent prosecution
  • Trademarks
  • Trade secrets

Notable cases[edit]

Banner & Witcoff has represented clients in landmark intellectual property law cases, including New York Times Co. v. Tasini and Diamond v. Chakrabarty.

New York Times Co. v. Tasini (2001) is a leading decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of copyright in the content of a newspaper database. Tasini held that The New York Times could not license articles appearing in the newspaper that were written by freelance journalists. Justice Ginsburg wrote the 7-2 ruling in favor of the freelance writers, who were represented by Banner & Witcoff.[5]

In Diamond v. Chakrabarty (1980) the U.S. Supreme Court held for the first time that a living, genetically-altered microorganism constituted patentable subject matter. The Chakrabarty decision spurred new interest in patents, particularly in the then-nascent biotechnology industry. Diamond v. Chakrabarty was a pivotal decision that has led to numerous breakthroughs in medical therapies, the development of bioengineered plants and food, and the issuance of thousands of patents.[6] Banner & Witcoff was one of several law firms representing Chakrabarty.[7]

Notable attorneys and alumni[edit]

  • Donald W. Banner, a founding member of Banner & Witcoff, former U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, former Chair of the American Bar Association Section of IP Law, former President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, former President of the International Patent and Trademark Association, Co-founder and President of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, United States delegate to numerous international diplomatic conferences. He was the first American to receive the Pacific Industrial Property Association Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Intellectual Property Field. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Sedona Conference for his dedication to the practice of intellectual property law and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Inventors Hall of Fame.[8]
  • Mark T. Banner, Former Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law.[9]
  • Darrell G. Mottley, Former President of the D. C. Bar,[10] former Chair of the District of Columbia Bar's Council on Sections.
  • Joseph M. Potenza, Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law,[11] former Publications Officer and Chair of the Content Advisory Board for the ABA-IPL Section, former Federal Circuit representative for the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary.

Reputation and awards[edit]

  • The May 2012 issue of The National Law Journal names Banner & Witcoff to their inaugural IP Hot List.[12]
  • The March 2012 issue of Intellectual Property Today lists Banner & Witcoff as a "Top Patent Firm" and ranks the firm number one for design patents.[13]
  • The February 2012 issue of Managing Intellectual Property ranks Banner & Witcoff as a top U.S. patent prosecution firm in the Northeast, as a first–tier patent prosecution firm in the Midwest and as a top national specialty IP firm.[14]
  • Banner & Witcoff is ranked as a third-tier (bronze level) Illinois trademark firm in the 2012 edition of the World Trademark Review 1000.[15]
  • The 2012 edition of Chambers and Partners listed Banner & Witcoff as an intellectual property law firm, with a Band 2 ranking for patent prosecution in the District of Columbia, Band 4 for litigation in the District of Columbia, and Band 2 for intellectual property law in Illinois.[16]
  • Banner & Witcoff earned a top ranking in the 2011 Patent Litigation Survey published in the December 2011 issue of Corporate Counsel.[17]
  • Banner & Witcoff currently holds the record for the most U.S. design patents procured in a calendar year,[18] and has surpassed their record six times since becoming the title holder in 1997. In 2011, Banner & Witcoff procured 543 U.S. design patents on behalf of its clients, bringing the total number of design patents procured by Banner & Witcoff since the year 2000 to more than 5,500.


  1. ^ "Firms-Chambers and Partners-Banner & Witcoff, Ltd". Chambers and Partners. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "Donald W. Banner - Our People - Purdue Engineering". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Banner & Witcoff awards diversity scholarships | Around the Water Cooler". 1 May 2009. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Firms-Chambers and Partners-Banner & Witcoff, Ltd". Chambers and Partners. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  5. ^ "Search-Supreme Court of the United States". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  6. ^ Fischer, Stephanie (5 July 2011). "Celebrating 30 Years of Biotechnology Innovation: From Diamond v. Chakrabarty to Today". BIOtechNOW. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Diamond v. Chakrabarty - 447 U.S. 303 (1980) :: Justia US Supreme Court Center". 15 July 1933. Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "Donald W. Banner Obituary". American Bar Association. February 2006. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "2012 Mark T. Banner Award". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  10. ^ "2012-2013 D.C. Bar Board of Governors". Retrieved 8 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "About Us - Section of Intellectual Property Law". American Bar Association. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Banner & Witcoff". National Law Journal - IP Hot List. 7 May 2012. (subscription required)
  13. ^ "2012 Top Patent Firms". IP Today. March 2012. (subscription required)
  14. ^ "Patent Survey: Americas". Managing Intellectual Property. January 2012. (subscription required)
  15. ^ "World Trademark Review 1000 - Illinois". 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "Banner & Witcoff, Ltd". Chambers and Partners. June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  17. ^ "2011 Patent Litigation Survey: The Busiest Firms Overall". Corporate Counsel. 19 November 2011. (subscription required)
  18. ^ Dowd, Patrick (28 January 2010). "Patent Leaders: Healthcare Reform". Legal Bisnow. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 

External links[edit]