Merchant & Gould Announces New Leadership for  Patent Design & Trade Dress Practice Group

Next generation of leadership brings fresh perspective and industry experience
Monday, June 21, 2021

Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce the next generation of leadership for its Patent Design & Trade Dress Group, bringing a fresh perspective to the firm and its clients. Loretta L. Freeman, Atlanta partner, and Ryan C. Smith, Ph.D., Minneapolis partner, will co-chair the practice group, demonstrating a forward-looking view of the firm’s more-inclusive leadership team.

The Patent Design & Trade Dress Group serves all clients, regardless of industry or specific technical needs, helping obtain and enforce utility patents, utility models, design patents, trademarks, trade dress, copyrights and trade secrets. Intellectual property spans a wide group of disciplines, as does Merchant & Gould’s Patent Design & Trade Dress Group, providing a holistic and integrated approach to help clients secure their protected position in the marketplace.

“Loretta and Ryan bring deep experience across a plethora of industries, as well as an ambitious vision for the future of this practice group and our firm,” said Christopher J. Leonard, Managing Director and CEO of Merchant & Gould. “As we continue to improve the service we provide to our clients across the country, we look forward to their guidance and to bring in the next generation of leadership.”

Freeman focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications in the mechanical arts space and in industries such as telecommunications, hydraulics, aerospace fields and manufacturing. She also helps businesses with design-heavy legal needs, such as those in retail, protect the appearance and aesthetics of their products. Freeman also provides counseling in intellectual property matters relating to product development and marketing, including freedom to operate, state of the art, non-infringement, and invalidity analysis and opinions. She specializes in developing sound IP portfolio management strategies, leveraging the value and protection of trademarks, design and utility patent applications.  According to Freeman, “I am excited to join Ryan in this new role and bring subject-matter experience to the firm and our clients.”

Smith focuses on chemical, life science and consumer product technologies. He concentrates on patentability assessment, filing and prosecuting U.S. design and utility applications, managing international patent portfolios, IP due diligence, licensing and merger and acquisition due diligence.  Smith uses his experience to help his clients strategically navigate the patent process from product concept to commercialization. According to Smith, “Merchant & Gould continues to innovate with its leadership approach, and I am thrilled to help keep our clients updated on the newest Patent Design & Trade Dress trends, case law and strategy – and to bring new knowledge and co-leadership with Loretta.”

Merchant & Gould is planning a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) event in October on Patent Design & Trade Dress.  The topic, speakers, date and location (in-person vs. virtual) will be announced later this summer.