IP Summit Speakers for 2021

Friday, February 19th

Keynote Speakers

Dennis Garcia – Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation

Dennis Garcia is an Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation based in Chicago. He practices at the intersection of law, technology and business and leads the legal support function to the Microsoft US Enterprise Commercial, Marketing & Operations and Small, Medium & Corporate sales and services teams. Prior to joining Microsoft, Dennis worked as an in-house counsel for Accenture and IBM.

Dennis received his B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut and Illinois (House Counsel). Dennis is a Fellow of Information Privacy, a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States and a Certified Information Privacy Technologist with the International Association of Privacy Professionals. Dennis is also a Fellow to the 2018 Class of the College of Law Practice Management. Please follow Dennis on Twitter @DennisCGarcia and on his In-House Consigliere Blog.

Mercedes K. Meyer, Ph.D., Partner – Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Mercedes K. Meyer, Ph.D., is a partner in the Intellectual Property Group of Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLP’s Washington, DC office.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bryn Mawr College (1988), her Ph.D. in virology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (1994), and her J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center (1996).  Mercedes is co-author with Professor David Hricik of Patent Ethics: Prosecution (4th ed., 2016-2017).  She has lectured in the past on bioethics, ethics, and patents especially in the areas of biotechnology, due diligence, prosecution strategy, and inter partes matters.

Mercedes is an active member of the Intellectual Property Owner’s Organization (IPO), a member of the IPO Education Foundation (IPOEF) Board of directors, and co-chairperson to the Committee on the Profession for the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA).  She is former AIPLA board member and secretary, and a member of the Association of University Technology Managers Women’s Inventor Committee (WIC).  Mercedes has been selected for inclusion on Managing Intellectual Property (IP) Stars, the IAM 300 Leading IP Strategists, and the IAM Patent 1000 World’s Leading Patent Practitioners lists.

David S. Gooder – Commissioner for Trademarks

David S. Gooder is the Commissioner for Trademarks at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Commissioner serves as the primary agency official for trademarks, domestically and internationally, and is responsible for all aspects of the Trademarks organization, including policy, operations, and budget relating to trademark examination, registration, and maintenance.

Mr. Gooder has worked for more than 25 years on intellectual property and brand-protection challenges facing iconic global brands, notably in the distilled spirits and wine industries. Prior to joining the USPTO, he served as the founding Managing Director and Chief Trademark Counsel at Jack Daniel’s Properties. Additionally, he was the Chief Trademark Counsel for Brown-Forman Corporation, which owns over 30 distilled spirits and wine brands. In that position, Mr. Gooder directed the company’s global intellectual property work, including its large trademark portfolio, rights clearance, brand protection (including anti-counterfeiting), licensing, and entertainment deals for the brands. Before that, Mr. Gooder practiced trademark, copyright, and entertainment law at Graham & James in Los Angeles and Luce Forward in San Diego.

Mr. Gooder has been an officer and served two terms on the Board of Directors for the International Trademark Association (INTA). He has also served as Chairman of the INTA Foundation. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Gooder was a drummer and a video and music director. He is also an Eagle Scout.

Mr. Gooder is a member of the State Bar of California. He received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona College of Law.

Featured Speakers (listed generally in order of presentation)

David Todd, Workman Nydegger

David Todd is a shareholder at the intellectual property law firm of Workman Nydegger.  His practice focuses on intellectual property litigation, including patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret litigation, and on client counseling matters requiring expertise in intellectual property law, including analyses of patent infringement and validity. He has participated as counsel in over 25 appeals at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and in a number of intellectual property actions in federal trial courts and at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Mr. Todd served from 1997-1998 as a law clerk to the Honorable Randall R. Rader at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which resolves patent appeals from all U.S. district courts as well as all appeals from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Todd has participated in authoring a number of publications on patent law issues, has lectured on intellectual property issues, and currently serves as an adjunct professor of law at Brigham Young University where he has taught courses in patent law and intellectual property litigation.  He has also served as an author of amicus briefs filed on behalf of the American Intellectual Property Law Association in cases pending before the United States Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit

Professor Michael McCann is the Founding Director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2017 to 2019.

McCann has won the Professor of the Year Award multiple times for excellence in teaching. Graduating students in the Class of 2015 selected McCann to deliver the faculty portion of the commencement address. McCann also taught the first law school course on “Name, Image and Likeness” and the undergraduate “Deflategate” course. He was previously on the faculties of Vermont Law School and Mississippi College School of Law and was a visiting professor at Boston College Law School.

McCann is one of the nation’s leading experts in sports law and an award-winning journalist. In June 2020, McCann joined Sportico as a writer and legal analyst. Sportico is the newest addition to Rolling Stone, Variety and other Penske Media publications. From August 2007 to June 2020, McCann was a writer and legal analyst for Sports Illustrated. He authored more than 1,000 legal and investigative stories for SI, including 203 stories in 2019.

McCann has covered the Boston Marathon bombings, the murder trials of Aaron Hernandez, the NBA’s ouster of Donald Sterling, USWNT pay litigation, Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance, NIL, concussion class actions, the legality of sports betting and many other controversies.

McCann was the first member of the media to interview Lance Armstrong after Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey. He interviewed Armstrong at his home in Austin, Texas and authored “My Dance With Lance” (Sports Illustrated, March 11, 2013 issue, pages 14-15).

As a journalist, McCann has broken several national news stories. They include that attorneys for Colin Kaepernick deposed New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, that Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino hired his mistress over more qualified candidates, that Donald Sterling planned to sue the NBA, and that the Los Angeles Angels would trade outfielder Josh Hamilton.

McCann is also a best-selling author and an accomplished legal scholar. McCann and former UCLA basketball star and NBA player Ed O’Bannon co-authored “Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA” (Diversion Books, 2018). The book — which was named by The Christian Science Monitor as the No. 1 Sports Book in Spring 2018 and has been a best-seller in several Amazon categories — tells the story of O’Bannon’s life and his historic court case against the NCAA. McCann is also the Editor and co-author of “The Oxford Handbook of American Sports Law” (Oxford University Press, 2018).

In addition, McCann has authored more than 20 law review articles and book chapters, including placements in the Yale Law Journal, Wisconsin Law Review, and Boston College Law Review. One notable law review article is “American Needle v. NFL: An Opportunity to Reshape Sports Law”, 119 YALE L.J. 726 (2010).

Along with Harvard Law School Professor Jon Hanson, McCann is co-founder of The Project on Law and Mind Sciences at Harvard Law School. Hanson and McCann were recipients of the 2011 Media Prize awarded by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

McCann’s work as a sports attorney is extensive. In 2004, McCann served on the legal team of college football star Maurice Clarett in his lawsuit against the NFL and its age eligibility rule. Clarett v. NFL is considered one of the most important cases in sports law history. McCann has also represented Your Call Football and other sports industry clients. In addition, he was Legal Counsel to U.S. Congressman (now UMass President) Marty Meehan, an attorney at Boston law firms and an aide to Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly.

At UVA Law, McCann was the Editor-in-Chief of the Virginia Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, a Hardy Cross Dillard Fellow and winner of the Best Oral Argument Award.

McCann is a native of Andover, Massachusetts and a graduate of St. John’s Prep.

Darren Adam Heitner, Esq Founder & Chief Vision Officer

Darren Adam Heitner, Esq. is the Founder of Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel, including but not limited to NFL players Antonio Brown, Antonio Hamilton, Antrel Rolle, Bobby McCain, Brandon Marshall, Braxton Miller, Brian Poole, Brice Butler, Darius Leonard, Davon Godchaux, D.J. Moore, Devin Funchess, Dominique Easley, Duke Johnson, Eddy Piniero, Frank Gore, Johnny Manziel, Jonathan Cyprien, Jordan Reed, Kwon Alexander, LeGarrette Blount, Michael Badgley, Mike Daniels, Nevin Lawson, Ricardo Louis, Robert Turbin, Terrell Owens, Trai Turner and Xavien Howard; tennis players Anna Kournikova and Alexa Noel; NBA players Andrew Wiggins, Arron Afflalo, De’Aaron Fox, Montrezl Harrell, Quincy Acy; MLB players Alex Avila, Ervin Santana, Jose Bautista, Luis Castillo, Manny Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Rafael Furcal; and sports agents Drew Rosenhaus, Bouna Ndiaye, Mike Silverman, Brian Elfus, Jeff Guerriero, Ryan Rubin, Dan Fegan, Malki Kawa, Brian Levy, Happy Walters, Ryan Morgan and Marc Lillibridge.

Heitner also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.

Additionally, Heitner served as a lead contributor to the “SportsMoney” section of Forbes from 2012-2018 and was a sports business contributor at Inc. from 2015-2018. In 2005, Heitner created Sports Agent Blog, which has since that date served as a lead publication in the space surrounding NCAA and sports agency news, interviews, information and opinion. Heitner currently writes for Above the Law.

From 2011-2018, Heitner served as co-founder of Collegiate Sports Advisors, which consulted with universities and assisted their athletic compliance departments in setting up Professional Sports Counseling Panels, Agent Days and other athlete agent education materials.

Heitner has published over 16 full-length academic law review articles on a wide range of sports law topics including NCAA regulations and athlete agents. Some of Heitner’s recent publications related to the NCAA and athlete agents include an article entitled, “Rethinking Regulation: The Case for a New Agency to Regulate Sport,” which was published in the August 2020 edition of the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law, an article entitled, “Jay Z Has 99 Problems, and Being a Sports Agent May Be One,” which was published in the December 2013 edition of the Marquette Sports Law Review, an article entitled, “An Offer They Should Refuse: Why Conflicts of Interest Raised by Dual Representation among Player Agents is a Major Threat to the NCAA and Professional Leagues,” which was published in the February 2013 edition of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University Sports and Entertainment Law Journal, and an article entitled, “Duties of Sports Agents to Athletes and Statutory Regulation Thereof,” which was published in the February 2010 edition of the Dartmouth Law Journal.

Heitner was asked to author a Sports Law Treatise by the American Bar Association. It has since published 2 editions of Heitner’s authored book, How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Attorney Needs to Know.

In 2007, Heitner graduated magna cum laude from the University of Florida with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science, and was named Valedictorian of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 2010, Heitner received a Juris Doctorate from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Heitner has appeared on ESPN, CNBC, CBS News and other television stations to speak on sports business and sports law topics.

In 2019, Heitner was asked by Florida Representative Chip LaMarca to assist with the crafting and promotion of legislation that seeks to provide Florida college athletes with the right to profit off of their names, images and likenesses. The bill passed both the Florida House and Senate.

In 2019, Heitner was named to the University of Florida’s 40 Under 40. In 2020, Heitner was honored with the University of Florida Levin College of Law’s Oustanding Young Alumnus Award. He has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2015-2021.

Warren K. Zola – Carroll School of Management, Boston College

Warren K. Zola serves as the Executive Director of the Boston College Chief Executives Club, a program of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Long recognized as one of the world’s premier business forums, the Boston College Chief Executives Club gathers keynote speakers to address Boston’s business leaders. The speakers are the world’s most influential CEOs drawn from the top echelons of their fields—thought leaders who welcome the opportunity to address an audience of their peers.

Prior to his promotion to the Boston College Chief Executives Club, Zola served as Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs in the Carroll School of Management at Boston College for 10 years. In addition, Zola is an adjunct faculty member in the Carroll School’s departments of Business Law and Operations teaching two graduate courses—Sports Law and the Business of Sports. As an attorney and key opinion leader in the business of sports and sports law, Zola is frequently relied upon by the national media for his insight and perspective. In addition, he has provided scholarly articles for legal textbooks, books, law reviews, and newspapers.

Zola earned a B.A. with Honors from Hobart & William Smith Colleges, a J.D. from Tulane University, and an M.B.A. from Boston College. He has been an active member of the Massachusetts Bar since 1993. Zola serves on the Board of Directors of three non-profit organizations: Mass Mentoring Partnership, You Can Play, and his alma mater, Hobart & William Smith Colleges.

Evan Brennan Partner and NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor – United Athlete Sports

Evan Brennan is a partner and NFLPA Certified Contract Advisor (agent) for United Athlete Sports. Mr. Brennan represents over 30 current professional football players and professional and collegiate coaches for contract and marketing purposes. He currently represents the highest-paid player in the NFL, at this player’s given position, in NFL history. 

Evan received his Bachelor’s from Brigham Young University, his Master’s from California State University at Long Beach, and won an award for the best in his graduating class for his capstone and graduate work on the creation of a novel business plan for a start-up sports agency. Mr. Brennan went on to graduate from the Dale E. Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, and after receiving his Juris Doctor, was brought back as an adjunct faculty member teaching an advanced sports law course. While at Chapman Law, Evan started and chaired the law school’s annual sports and entertainment law symposium, making the annual event one of the highest-regarded of its kind in the country. Upon graduation from Chapman, he was one of three graduating persons of all 2015 degrees, disciplines, and academic programs to be awarded “Most Inspirational Student” by Chapman University as whole. 

Mr. Brennan has been featured in numerous publications and programs such as the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports, the Los Angeles Daily Journal, etc,, and has been invited to speak to undergraduate, law, business, and other students as a guest lecturer, coast to coast. 

Jonathan Harris, Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP

Jonathan Harris is a life sciences patent lawyer and partner with Axinn Veltrop. Over his 20 years of practice, he’s litigated dozens of patent actions, overseen numerous IP diligence and counseling projects and prosecuted patents. As a joint JD/MBA, he has a special interest in the business objectives driving IP matters.

Mollybeth (Molly) R. Kocialski – Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office

As the Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), since January 2016, Mollybeth (Molly) Kocialski carries out the strategic direction of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO, and is responsible for leading the Rocky Mountain regional office. Focusing on the nine states within this region and actively engaging with the community, Ms. Kocialski ensures the USPTO’s initiatives and programs are tailored to the region’s unique ecosystem of industries and stakeholders.

Ms. Kocialski brings more than 20 years of intellectual property experience to the USPTO. Most recently, Ms. Kocialski was the Senior Patent Counsel for Oracle America, Inc, where she was responsible for managing an active patent prosecution docket and was also responsible for all of the post-grant procedures and patent investigations for Oracle and its subsidiaries. Prior to Oracle, she worked at Qwest Corporation and was also in private practice in both New York and Colorado focusing on intellectual property litigation for multiple high-tech companies while maintaining an active prosecution docket.

Ms. Kocialski is a recognized IP leader in the Rocky Mountain region. Ms. Kocialski currently serves on the Colorado Federal Executive Board’s Executive Committee. Ms. Kocialski is the Vice President of the Colorado IP Inn of Court and was previously the Chair of the Planning Committee and a member of the Board of Directors of the Colorado IP Inn of Court. Further, Ms. Kocialski is a member of the Planning Committee for the Rocky Mountain Intellectual Property Institute, an annual two-day conference on intellectual property that attracts over 500 attendees. She was the Chair of the Intellectual Property Section of the Colorado Bar Association and served on the Colorado Bar Association’s Board of Governors. Ms. Kocialski served as the head of the IP Committee and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Colorado Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel and served on the National IP Committee of the Association of the Corporate Counsel. In 2015, Ms. Kocialski was recognized by ManagingIP magazine as one of its North America Corporate IP Stars.

Ms. Kocialski is a graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law and received a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Mexico. Ms. Kocialski is a registered patent attorney and is admitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the New York and Colorado state bars as well as to the United States Courts in those jurisdictions.

Mark A. Thurmon – Deputy Chief Administrative Trademark Judge

Judge Mark A. Thurmon serves as Deputy Chief Administrative Trademark Judge at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Judge Thurmon has served as a judge on Board panels for appeals and trials. He assists the Chief Judge in the management and administration of all Board operations. Prior to joining the Board in 2019, Judge Thurmon was a law professor at Southern University Law Center and the University of Florida for 15 years. Judge Thurmon also worked with private practice Intellectual Property law firms for over 20 years. Prior to law school, Judge Thurmon served as a junior officer on USS Narwhal, a fast-attack nuclear submarine. Judge Thurmon’s law degree is from Duke and his undergraduate (B.S.E.E.) is from LSU.

Jennifer Elgin -Interlocutory Attorney

Jennifer Elgin is an Interlocutory Attorney with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”).  Prior to joining the USPTO in February 2020, Ms. Elgin spent over twenty-five years in private practice with national law firms including Wiley Rein LLP, Jones Day, and Kilpatrick Stockton LLP, and as in-house trademark counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. She also has served on several committees of the International Trademark Association. Ms. Elgin received a J.D., with honors, from Emory University, and a B.S. in Consumer Economics from Cornell University.

Michael Scapin in-house IP Counsel – ON Semiconductor

Michael Scapin serves as in-house IP counsel at ON Semiconductor for the wireless connectivity division supporting patent, IP litigation, and licensing matters. ON is a U.S. based publicly traded semiconductor provider with over 35,000 employees, 86,000 products, and 160 global locations.

Prior to going in-house, Michael was in private practice in Palo Alto and Chicago and served as a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Michael earned a B.S. in Math, Computer Science, and Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law where he was an executive editor on the High Technology Law Journal. He is a registered patent attorney and an IAPP CIPP/US certified privacy professional.

Jeff Leng Senior Patent Counsel AMD, Inc.

Jeff Leng is currently serving as Senior Patent Counsel for AMD, Inc.  Prior to joining AMD, Mr. Leng helped a number of other technology companies, serving as Senior Patent and Technology Counsel for eBay and Patent/IP Counsel for Immersion Corporation.  Mr. Leng also worked as a Patent Examiner with the USPTO and worked as a patent agent.  Mr. Leng earned his JD from Santa Clara University School of Law and his BS in Computer Science and Business Administration/Management Systems from Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Jill Powlick Chief Patent Counsel – bioMerieux Inc.

Jill Powlick is Chief Patent Counsel for bioMerieux, Inc., which acquired BioFire Defense (formerly Idaho Technology).  Ms. Powlick is responsible for all legal work related to patents, freedom to operate studies, and diligence studies originating with American affiliates.  She is also currently serving as a member of the US Bar-EPO Liaison Counsel, which addresses interactions between legal matters before the EPO that affect US stakeholders and practitioners.  Prior to her time with bioMerieux, Ms. Powlick worked for a number of firms, including an AmLaw 100 firm in Indianapolis, IN.

Geoff Shipsides, General Counsel of Bigfoot Biomedical, Inc.

Geoffrey Shipsides is currently General Counsel of Bigfoot Biomdical, Inc.  He has been actively involved in integrating Bigfoot’s Product Development efforts since Dec. 2015.  His initial focus was on Bigfoot’s IP portfolio, but was promoted to General counsel in March 2019.  Prior to joining Bigfoot, Mr. Shipsides was a principle at Fish & Richardson P.C., where he practiced from 2006-2015. His practice at Fish & Richardson included technologies areas such as medical devices, petrochemical arts, and consumer products, with a focus on strategic preparation of patent applications and advising clients on third-party intellectual property.  Mr. Shipsides was a patent examiner at the USPTO from 2001-2003.  He obtained his JD from Georgetown University Law Center in 2006, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2001.