Merchant & Gould Ramps Up in East Tennessee

June 20, 2011

Firm Brings Unparalleled Depth of Intellectual Property Experience to Region

Merchant & Gould, a leading national IP law firm, today announced its significant expansion in East Tennessee. The firm's Knoxville office has increased its legal staff and offers the most in-depth and comprehensive IP legal services to the high-tech, alternative energy, entrepreneurial and industrial marketplace within the region.

"Our emphasis on growing in Knoxville demonstrates our commitment to providing a full suite of sophisticated IP legal services in a region that is strong in a number of technologies, including IT, biotech and industrial companies," said Brian Batzli, CEO and managing director of Merchant & Gould.

Part of the growth strategy includes the addition of four attorneys from Pitts & Brittian P.C. including one of the founding shareholders, R. Bradford Brittian; J. Kenneth Hoffmeister, also a shareholder; Steven F. Owens and Matthew J. Stark. The office has plans to continue its personnel growth into the future.

Brittian and Stark will round out the firm's commercial, patent and trademark litigation team that includes litigation veterans John T. Winemiller, Ph.D. and John A. Lucas, both previously with Hunton & Williams LLP. Brittian and Lucas bring 70+ years of combined litigation experience before local, state and federal courts, including the US Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit and Knoxville County trial courts.

"Adding these four attorneys to our team has been like a marriage of the best IP legal talent in Knoxville," said Chris Leonard, managing partner, Merchant & Gould of the Knoxville office. "Our combined experience is a great asset to our current clients with complex IP portfolios and will no doubt be of great value to future clientele. We are thrilled with the opportunities and potential for us throughout the region."

Brad Brittian practices primarily in the area of patent, trademark, unfair competition, copyright and trade secret litigation and dispute resolution. He also counsels clients with regard to various intellectual property related matters, including the acquisition and protection of trademark rights, and assists clients in the registration of trademarks and copyrights. Mr. Brittian received his B.S. Magna Cum Laude from Tennessee Technological University. He holds a J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

J. Kenneth Hoffmeister practices primarily in the areas of patent prosecution for electrical, mechanical, and software-related inventions; product clearance opinions, trademark clearance, prosecution, enforcement, and defense; and preparation and negotiation of intellectual property agreements. Mr. Hoffmeister attained a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Tennessee. He received his J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law.

Matthew J. Stark practices primarily in the areas of patent and trademark law. Previously, his practice focused on general litigation matters including construction, municipal, education and bankruptcy. Mr. Stark graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. and a Master's degree in architecture. He received his J.D. from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Steven F. Owens practices in the areas of intellectual property law, patent application preparation, and patent infringement opinion preparation. Mr. Owens earned his B.S. in electrical engineering from Southern Methodist University. He holds his J.D. from the Cumberland School of Law, Samford University.