John T. Winemiller, Ph.D.

Partner and Chief Diversity Officer
He / Him / His
800 S. Gay Street, Suite 2150
Knoxville, TN 37929
D: 865.380.5977
Contact My Assistant
Megan Fee

John is an intellectual property attorney, Managing Partner of Merchant & Gould's Knoxville office, and Chief Diversity Officer. His practice centers on patent, trademark, trade secret, and copyright litigation, but also includes IP licensing issues and trademark, patent, and copyright counseling and prosecution. He has represented clients in a broad range of industries, from electrical switches and electronic pet products, to hosiery manufacturers and home builders. He has secured favorable trial and pre-trial results and significant settlement wins in disputes in federal courts. He also has extensive experience with commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, and appeals in state and federal courts. His ability to understand and articulate complex concepts in a way that decision-makers can understand helps him to proactively and effectively assist his clients in protecting their intellectual property assets.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, John received an M.A. and Ph.D. in music history and theory from the University of Chicago, where he taught before joining the faculty of the State University of New York at Stony Brook. John's academic research focused on the nexus between the creative process and eighteenth-century conceptions of intellectual property. His fascination with the theory of ownership of ideas led him to law school and, ultimately, to Merchant & Gould. Before entering private practice, he clerked for federal judges on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee.

John is an active member of several bar associations and serves on committees of the Tennessee Bar Association and the Knoxville Bar Association. He is a member of the Board of Commissioners for Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation, a post to which he was appointed in 2014. He is also a member of the boards of directors for the Big Ears Festival, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, and the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. John represents individuals, arts groups, and civil rights groups, pro bono, and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and teacher on intellectual property, civil procedure, and litigation matters. He serves on the strategic planning and diversity committees at the firm. In his spare time, John enjoys reading, historic preservation, music performance, cooking, exercise, and travel.

Representative Cases

Obtained jury verdict in patent infringement lawsuit in sport boat industry. Malibu Boats v. Skier’s Choice, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case Nos. 3:18-cv-15 and 3:19-cv-225.

Obtained settlement in patent infringement lawsuits in firearms industry. Plate, LLC v. RCTenn, LLC, Case No. 3:18-cv-806, and Plate, LLC v. Elite Tactical Systems, LLC et al., Case No. 3:18-cv-265.

Obtained settlement in trademark infringement lawsuit in industrial coatings industry. CSL Silicones, Inc. v. Midsun Group, Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut, Case No. 3:14-cv-1897.

Obtained settlement in complex lawsuit alleging claims of trademark and patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets in textile industry. Yoe Enterprises, Inc. v. Crescent Sock Co., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No. 1:15-cv-3.

Obtained settlement in contract suit in textile industry. Crescent Sock Co. v. Yoe Enterprises, Inc., McMinn County Chancery Court, State of Tennessee, Case No. 2013-cv-297.

Obtained settlement in trademark infringement lawsuit involving insurance services. Applied Underwriters, Inc. v. American Employer Group, Inc., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No. 3:14-cv-379.

Obtained settlement in patent infringement lawsuit involving medical software. PPS Data v. Passport Health Communications, U.S. District Court, District of Utah, Case No. 2:12-cv-438.

Obtained judgment as a matter of law following jury trial in patent infringement lawsuit involving electronic pet containment and training systems. Radio Systems Corporation and Innotek, Inc. v Tom Lalor and Bumper Boy, Inc., U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, Case No. 2:10-cv-00828.

Obtained no-payment multi-case settlement following close of plaintiff’s proof in bench trial in trademark infringement lawsuit involving electronic containment fences for dogs. Invisible Fence, Inc. v Fido’s Fences, Inc., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, Case No. 3:09-cv-00025.

Represented advertising agency in copyright infringement action, positioning case for favorable settlement.

Served as a court-appointed special master in a contentious lawsuit involving a local utilities district and its CEO's retirement-benefits package.

Obtained the dismissal of a $1.5 million economic damages claim in a product liability action against a Fortune 100 manufacturer, resulting in a quick settlement on favorable terms.

Represented a Fortune 250 environmental services provider in million-dollar municipal contract dispute and a national engineering services firm in a million-dollar construction fee dispute. His efforts positioned both cases for settlement on favorable terms. Also in 2009, John was part of a trial team that obtained a directed verdict for a financial services company sued for fraud and violation of the consumer protection act.

Represented an internet retailer in defense of a Lanham Act suit involving alleged cybersquatting. He obtained a partial dismissal, which positioned the case for settlement on favorable terms. Kaiya Eve Couture LLC v. My Trendy Girl, Inc., Case No. CV 07-6294 (C.D. Cal., dismissed June 19, 2008).

Obtained summary judgment for a Fortune 250 insurance broker in a multimillion-dollar coverage dispute. Anderson Tully Co. v. Federal Ins. Co., Aon Risk Servs., Inc. of Missouri and Aon Fin. Servs. Group, Inc., Case No. 05-cv-02627 (W.D. Tenn., judgment entered Sept. 24, 2007). The decision was upheld on appeal. Anderson-Tully Co. v. Aon Risk Servs. of Missouri, Inc., Aon Fin. Servs. Group, Inc., No. 08-5524 (6th Cir. Sept. 23, 2009).  Also in 2007, John obtained judgment on the pleadings in a personal injury action against a Fortune 25 pharmaceutical company. McCandless v. Pfizer, Inc. et al., Case No. 06-cv-051 (Tenn. Cir. Ct., dismissed Feb. 5, 2007).

Obtained a favorable jury verdict for a nationwide book wholesaler in a contract dispute. American Book Co. v. Fortner, Case No. 163506-2 (Tenn. Ch. Ct., judgment entered June 2, 2006).

Obtained summary judgment for a Fortune Global 500 company in a million-dollar contract dispute. Triple H Distributing, Inc. v. Henkel Corp. et al., No. 2:04-cv-02108 (W.D. Tenn., judgment entered Mar. 18, 2005).

Represented an internet company in the prosecution of a Lanham Act claim against a cyber squatter. The court's order granting his jurisdictional motion established precedent in the Sixth Circuit for service of process via email against cyber squatters. See Popular Enterprises v. Webcom Media Group, Inc., 225 F.R.D. 560 (E.D. Tenn. 2004).


University of Tennessee College of Law
J.D., summa cum laude, 2000
Order of the Coif
    Editor in Chief, Tennessee Law Review

University of Chicago
Ph.D. Music History and Theory, 1994
M.A. Music History and Theory, 1991

Carleton College
B.A. Music History and Theory, magna cum laude, 1988


Tennessee State Bar
Eastern District of Tennessee
Middle District of Tennessee
Western District of Tennessee
Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

Judicial Clerkship

Law clerk, the Honorable James L. Dennis, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2002-2003

Law clerk, the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, 2000-2002

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association
American Bar Foundation
American Intellectual Property Law Assoc.
Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Assoc.
Tennessee Bar Association
Knoxville Bar Association
Knoxville Bar Foundation
The Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program
   Fellow, Class of 2018

Awards & Recognition

Member, Chancellor’s Associates (University of Tennessee), 2020

Member, Leadership Knoxville, Class of 2019

Selected for inclusion in Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2011-2020

Selected for inclusion in Knoxville’s Top Attorneys in CityView Magazine, 2014-2020

Award of Merit Recipient, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children


Adjunct professor, University of Tennessee College of Law
    Civil procedure
    Pretrial litigation
   Trademark Law
    IP litigation

Leadership & Civic Involvement

Member, Tennessee Bar Association’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Member, Knoxville Bar Association’s Law Office Technology Committee
Commissioner and Past Chair, Board of Commissioners for Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation
President, Big Ears Festival Board of Directors
President, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors
Member, Knoxville Jazz Orchestra Board of Directors
Member, Positively Living Board of Directors (past)
Founder and Member, The Performing Arts & Lecture Series Board of Directors (past)
Member, The Actors Co-op Board of Directors (past)

Publications & Speaking


Speaker, “IP Settlement Agreements After 1-800 Contacts,” Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association, November 5, 2021

Speaker, “Settling Trademark and Other IP Disputes: Key Lessons from 1-800 Contacts, Balancing Antitrust and IP Interests,” Strafford CLE, September 9, 2021

Speaker, Three Takedowns: Protecting Your Brand Online, Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel,  April 21, 2021

Moderator, Tuneful or Tone Deaf?: Three lessons in brand enforcement and management gleaned from the headlines.,Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, October 14, 2020 

Speaker, Stories of Innovation: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Intellectual Property, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, September 17, 2020

Speaker, A Discussion about Business Law, Knoxville Bar Association, July 28, 2020

Speaker, COVID-19's Lasting Impact on the Practice of Law and the Courts, Knoxville Bar Association, May 19, 2020

Speaker, Introduction to Copyrights, University of Tennessee School of Music, February 4, 2020

Speaker, Introduction to Copyrights, University of Tennessee School of Music, April 2, 2019

Speaker, Vicarious Liability in IP Litigation: What Officers, Directors, and Employees Need to Know, Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, March 12, 2019 – co-presenter, Brad Brittian

Speaker and Organizer, Counseling Businesses about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media: A Tool Kit for Attorneys, Knoxville Bar Association, September 28, 2018

Speaker, Cybersecurity: Detect and Prevent Cyber Attacks, Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, April 5, 2018

Chair and Speaker, Intellectual Property: CLE Bytes, Tennessee Bar Association, Nashville, April 5, 2017

Chair, A Look at the Executive Order Travel Bans, The Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court, March 14, 2017

Speaker, Legal and Non-Legal Strategies for Managing Social Media Content, Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, June 8, 2016

Panelist, Ethics Panel, 2016 Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting, May 6, 2016

Speaker, Access Your Office from Anywhere, Knoxville Bar Association 2016 Law Expo CLE, April 22, 2016

Speaker, Safeguarding Trade Secrets: Tips and Tools for Identifying, Managing, and Protecting Confidential Business Information, Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, October 28, 2015

Don't Just Stand There; Do Something! Consequences of Pending Anti-Troll Legislation on Pleading Standards, Rule 11, and the American Rule at Knoxville Bar Association CLE Program Lord of the Bling: Trolls, Treasure and Trends in IP Litigation that May Impact Any Client, February 28, 2014


Contributing author, “What I Learned About Inclusion and Why It Matters,” Knoxville Bar Association Dicta, September 2021

“The Impact of COVID-19 on Law Firm Operations,” DICTA (Knoxville Bar Association), September 2020 – co-author, Brad Brittian

Guest Columnist, To increase inclusion, start by tracking diversity, Knoxville News Sentinel, December 2019

Fictional Brands, Famous Marks: Recurring characters, places, and elements can serve as source identifiers for creative works in LANDSLIDE (ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law), March/April 2019 – co-author, Ian G. McFarland

FTC regulates ‘influencer advertising’ on social media, in Greater Knoxville Business Journal (, August 2018 – co-author, Elizabeth C. Harwood

John Winemiller: Proposed legislation targets patent trolls,, April 7, 2014

Avoiding that ‘Cease and Desist’ Letter, KBA The Consigliere, Vol. 7, No. 1, Winter 2012

The Endangered Species Act and the Imprecise Scope of the Substantial Effects Analysis, 18 Tulane Environmental Law Journal 159, 2004

Casenote, United States v. Scheffler, 77 Tennessee Law Review 331, 1998

Recontextualizing Handel's Borrowings, 15 Journal of Musicology 444, 1997

Borrowing, Copyright, and Proprietary Authorship, 8 American Handel Society Newsletter 1, 1993


All Media
Federal Circuit Upholds PTAB Judgment in Interference Proceeding
Fourth Circuit Upholds Finding of Contempt for Violations of Permanent Injunction
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Receives Mansfield Rule Plus Certification
Merchant & Gould has again achieved Mansfield Rule Certification, this time also attaining the more stringent “Plus” certification. The certification recognizes Merchant & Gould’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through ...
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Announces 2022 Pathfinder for Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Program
Merchant & Gould P.C., a national intellectual property (IP) law firm that has been helping innovators around the globe since 1900, is pleased to announce that it has selected attorney Lindsay Jones as its 2022 Pathfinder in the landmark program created ...
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Names John Winemiller as the Firm’s First-Ever Chief Diversity Officer
Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce that John T. Winemiller, Ph.D., has been named the firm’s first-ever Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), reaffirming the firm’s ongoing commitment to its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. As ...
CAFC Vacates and Remands TTAB’s Application of § 2(f) of Lanham Act
Merchant & Gould Rehires Seasoned Patent Attorney of Counsel
Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce that Michael (Mike) T. Lukon rejoined the firm on Aug. 3, in an advisory role of counsel.  With more than 20 years of experience as an IP attorney, which includes time in the firm’s Atlanta office in the ...
CAFC Reiterates Patent Infringement Need Not Be Pleaded Element-By-Element
Sixth Circuit Affirms Noninfringement by Newspaper
Stories of Innovation: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Intellectual Property
Please join LCLD Alumni and current program participants from Merchant & Gould in a panel discussion about how businesses can be prepared for sudden changes in the market and capitalize on their innovations.Topics of discussion include:1. How Covid-19 ...
White Papers
Ninth Circuit Overturns FTC Antitrust Win Against Qualcomm
COVID-19's Lasting Impact on the Practice of Law and the Courts Webinar
What will the courts and law firms look like once we get through social distancing and the economic disruption caused by COVID-19? This live webinar will be moderated by KBA President Hanson Tipton and will allow you to hear from Hon. Kristi ...
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Receives Mansfield Certification for Diversity Efforts
Merchant & Gould has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification after completing a 12-month self-study designed to boost the representation of diverse lawyers in firm leadership.  Measured by Diversity Lab, a data company that leverages research and behavior, ...
Cybersecurity CLE in Knoxville
Cyber threats are too often a matter of “when” not “if”. Using recent high-profile security breaches as examples, this presentation explores the nature, target, and common perpetrators of threats to digital information, as well as proactive ...
Press Releases
John Winemiller and Loretta Freeman Named to Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce that attorneys John T. Winemiller, Ph.D., and Loretta L. Freeman have been selected as members of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 2018 Class of Fellows and Pathfinders, respectively.“It’s ...
Social Media CLE in Knoxville
Merchant & Gould, Moxley Carmichael, and the Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel have teamed up to offer an informative CLE on managing corporate social media content. All are welcome to register by clicking the link below.Legal ...
Press Releases
John T. Winemiller Inducted as Fellow to American Bar Foundation
John T. Winemiller, a partner with Merchant & Gould, has been inducted as a fellow to the American Bar Foundation. Winemiller is based in the Knoxville, Tennessee, office of the national intellectual property law firm.“We welcome Mr. Winemiller to ...
Merchant & Gould Attorneys Speaking at Trade Secrets CLE in Knoxville
Three Merchant & Gould attorneys will be featured speakers at a CLE hosted by the Tennessee Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel in Knoxville, Tenn. on October 28, 2015. Partners Rachel Zimmerman Scobie, from Merchant & Gould's Minneapolis ...
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Announces New Partners Tramm and Winemiller
Merchant & Gould, a leading intellectual property law firm, announced that attorneys Ben Tramm of Minneapolis and John Winemiller of Knoxville were named Equity Partners, effective January 1, 2015.Tramm, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law in ...
Press Releases
Merchant & Gould Announces Three New Partners
Intellectual property law firm Merchant & Gould is pleased to announce the appointment of three new partners. Heather J. Kliebenstein has been promoted to equity partner, and R. Bradford Brittian and John T. Winemiller have been promoted to income partner.“These ...
Intellectual Property - Avoiding that Trademark "Cease and Desist" Letter
Press Releases
16 Merchant & Gould Attorneys Named 2011 Super Lawyers
Firm Also Recognizes Nine Rising Stars Merchant & Gould, an intellectual property law firm, today announced that 16 of the firm's attorneys are named Super Lawyers in 2011. The attorneys are recognized for excellence in intellectual property law and ...