A nationally recognized intellectual-property attorney with a national practice, Steve Gardner has over 25 years of experience helping innovative companies with intellectual-property disputes, counseling, and transactions in a wide range of technologies.
Mr. Gardner has represented companies in more than 100 lawsuits in the federal courts of California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Virginia. His litigation experience includes obtaining a preliminary injunction in a patent case, proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in both inter partes reviews and covered business-method reviews, and proceedings before the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Federal Circuit, Fourth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit. He was co-chair of the firm's 80+ attorney patent-litigation group for a decade.
Mr. Gardner also serves as strategic intellectual-property counsel, providing innovative advice, analysis, and assistance to companies relating to intellectual property. He employs his many years of experience working with a broad array of companies to provide practical, business-oriented solutions to clients’ needs.This experience includes helping clients build patenting programs; increasing the quality and value of patent applications; increasing the volume of invention disclosures received by the client; providing strategic analysis and advice regarding trends relative to intellectual property in the client's field; handling trade-secret misappropriation; analyzing patents held by competitors; conducting freedom to operate analysis for new products; providing written opinions; monetization strategy advice; managing patent prosecution; special projects; and serving as general intellectual-property counsel.
He also represents clients relative to intellectual-property transactions. These have included analyzing and negotiating indemnification agreements and arrangements; engaging in intellectual-property due diligence in evaluating potential acquisitions; and negotiating agreements relative to intellectual property, such as patent licenses and software licenses.
His experience has involved a wide range of technologies, including software, computer hardware, medical devices, chemical compositions, Internet and e-commerce systems, diagnostic tests, electronics, manufacturing systems, semi-conductors, financial systems, mechanical devices, furniture, optics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, consumer products, automotive, and telecommunications.
He has spoken on intellectual property and other topics at seminars in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Durham, Houston, New York, Palo Alto, Philadelphia, Raleigh, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Winston-Salem.
Mr. Gardner has been elected for many years to Business North Carolina magazine's "Legal Elite" List as one of the top patent attorneys in North Carolina based on a survey of all members of the North Carolina bar. He is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Intellectual Property Law. He is one of only six North Carolina lawyers listed as a #1 band attorney in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Intellectual Property. Mr. Gardner was recognized as an "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property magazine. Mr. Gardner is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Gardner served as a law clerk to the Honorable Alvin A. Schall, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, Washington, D.C., and to the Honorable Frank W. Bullock Jr., U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
*CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of a transportation services company in a patent infringement suit regarding software for managing transportation logistics, and obtained a favorable settlement early in the litigation.
Served as lead counsel on behalf of Mrs. Smith's Bakeries, a subsidiary of Flowers Foods, a leading producer of packaged bakery foods, in a patent suit by Gardner Pie Co., an Ohio producer of bakery foods. The technology involved related to baked goods manufacturing systems. We filed a motion to dismiss in the Ohio district court and contemporaneously filed a declaratory judgment action in federal court in Georgia. The decision on the motion to dismiss was appealed to the Federal Circuit, but the parties settled the case before oral argument. Gardner Pie Co. v. Mrs. Smith's Bakeries, Inc., No. 01-1758 (N.D. Ohio filed July 19, 2001).
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of Lotus Technologies in a lawsuit regarding allegations of patent infringement related to hearing aid technology. The matter was settled on confidential terms. Hear-Wear Techs., LLC v. Lotus Techs., LLC, No. 05-376 (E.D. Tex. filed Aug. 28, 2005). (Judge Schell).
The firm served as lead counsel for two Japanese manufacturing companies and their U.S. distributor in patent litigation against a global carpet-manufacturing equipment company. The technology at issue related to carpet manufacturing systems. A settlement favorable to the client was achieved, on confidential terms.
Defended Klaussner Furniture Industries, one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the world, in a design patent suit brought by Natuzzi. The designs involved related to furniture. Industrie Natuzzi S.p.A. v. Klaussner Furniture Indus., Inc., No. 02-00643 (M.D.N.C. filed Aug. 6, 2002).
The firm served as local counsel for adidas International Marketing B.V. in a patent infringement action filed by Akeva L.L.C. The complaint sought damages and injunctive relief for adidas's alleged infringement of two patents owned by Akeva. Discovery in the case was completed. The parties submitted briefs regarding claim construction and filed motions for summary judgment. After the District Court issued its ruling on claim construction and Akeva conceded non-infringement, the Court entered a final order and judgment finding that adidas did not infringe any of the claims of the patents asserted by Akeva. On November 13, 2006, the Federal Circuit issued an opinion affirming the District Court's entry of summary judgment in favor of adidas. Akeva L.L.C. v. adidas Salomon AG, No. 03-1207 (M.D.N.C. filed Dec. 19, 2003).
Served as lead counsel on behalf of Banner Pharmacaps Inc. in a lawsuit alleging that by filing a New Drug Application (NDA) with the United States Food and Drug Administration, the defendants infringed Banner’s patent. The case is currently stayed in the court pending resolution of issues before the Food and Drug Administration. Banner Pharmacaps Inc. v. Ranbaxy Labs. Ltd., No. 05-0346 (M.D.N.C. filed April 18, 2005).
Served as lead counsel on behalf of Banner Pharmacaps Inc. in a patent infringement suit against Perrigo. Banner filed the complaint alleging that, by making, using, offering for sale and selling its film-enrobed unitary-core tablets, each defendant infringed Banner's patent. The parties entered a voluntary settlement agreement to resolve the case prior to trial in which the defendants admitted the validity and infringement of the patent. Banner Pharmacaps Inc. v. Perrigo Co., No.04-0492 (M.D.N.C. filed May 28, 2004).
Represented Reisenweaver Communications Inc. in a patent action seeking a declaratory judgment that a patent owned by Econo-Comm Inc. was invalid and not infringed by Reisenweaver. Reisenweaver Commc'ns, Inc. v. Econo-Comm, Inc., No. 00-690 (M.D.N.C. filed July 20, 2000).
Defended Cerious Software in a patent infringement suit in the Eastern District of Texas involving software for image management. The suit was resolved by settlement. (Judge Folsom). Massachusetts Inst. of Tech. v. Abacus Software, Inc., No. 01-344 (E.D. Tex. filed Dec. 28, 2001).
Represented a furniture manufacturer in a furniture patent suit filed against the company in the Middle District of North Carolina. We also assisted in a related suit that went to trial in Mississippi. Shortly after a successful result in the Mississippi trial, the North Carolina action settled.
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of three parties, Allscripts LLC (f/k/a Misys Healthcare Systems), Payerpath Inc. and Sudaco Inc. in an action for patent infringement pending in the Middle District of Florida. The technology at issue related to an Internet facilitated billing, data processing and communications system. During mediation, we successfully negotiated a favorable settlement with Billingnetwork Patent Inc., and Billingnetwork subsequently dismissed its claims with prejudice. Billingnetwork Patent, Inc. v. Misys Healthcare Sys., LLC, No. 08-00261 (M.D. Fla. filed Feb. 2, 2008).
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of one of the largest apparel companies in the world and obtained a U.S. patent for apparel packaging that was infringed by a competitor and its customers, several national retailers. Prior to issuance of the patent, we notified the competitor that it would be infringing the patent when it issued. We filed suit in federal court in the Middle District of North Carolina on the day the patent issued. The case settled relatively quickly, resulting in the competitor removing thousands of infringing packages from store shelves across the country and a payment to our client to help cover the costs for enforcing the patent.
The firm served as lead counsel in the Southern District of Illinois on behalf of JELD-WEN, Inc., a leading developer and manufacturer of windows and doors, in a case in which Edge Seal Technologies, Inc. (n/k/a INTIGRAL, Inc.), a window manufacturer, accused JELD-WEN of infringing its patent related to methods of manufacturing insulated glass units. The case settled early in discovery. Edge Seal Techs., Inc. v. Jeld-Wen, Inc., No. 01-02256 (C.D. Ill. filed Oct. 16, 2001)
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of a manufacturer of orthopedic apparatus in a patent infringement matter brought by its competitor company involving ankle braces.
The firm served as lead counsel on behalf of Dotcast in a suit in the Northern District of Georgia to recover patent rights in the hands of a licensee who failed to make payments. After proceedings in District Court and in bankruptcy proceedings, a settlement favorable to Dotcast was facilitated, including recovery of the patent rights. Dotcast, Inc. v. Movie Gallery, Inc., et al. , No. 07-01181 (N.D. Ga. filed May 23, 2007).
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Wake Forest University, J.D. (1994) with honors
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, M.S., Electrical Engineering
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, B.S., Electrical Engineering Phi Kappa Phi, Tau Beta Pi
Wake Forest University, M.Div.
North Carolina (1994)
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit - Alvin A. Schall (Aug 1995-Aug 1996)
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina - Frank W. Bullock, Jr. (Aug 1994-Aug 1995)
Wake Forest Law Review, Editor-in-Chief (1993-1994)
ABA Intellectual Property Litigation Newsletter, Editor-in-Chief (2007-2016)
ABA Open Source Software Sub-Committee, Co-Chair (2009-2012)
The Children's Museum of Winston-Salem, Board Member (2005-2010)
UNC Charlotte, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Board of Advisors (2005-2013)
William G. White YMCA, Board Member (2015-2018)
Arts Board of Mt. Tabor High School, Treasurer (2015-2018)
Bethesda Center for the Homeless, Board Member, 2001-2003
Wake Forest University School of Law, Alumni Board Member
NC Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, Chair, 2006-2007
Member, Teacher, Deacon (2007-2011), Search Committee Member, South Fork Church of Christ, 1992–2011 and 2013-present
Adjunct Professor, Wake Forest University School of Law, 2000-2006
Adjunct Professor, UNC Charlotte Graduate School (Engineering Management), 2001-2008
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