Robert K. Fergan

“I see myself as an extension of my client’s team. I take the time to understand their business so my IP counsel is always within the context of their overall objectives.”

Robert Fergan focuses his practice on client counseling, licensing, and patent prosecution both in the United States and internationally. He has prepared and prosecuted patents in the electrical, mechanical, optical, and computer science arts, as well as patents relating to business methods. Robert has experience with a broad range of industries and technologies, including semiconductors, electronics, automotive, pharmaceutical, packaging, metrology, instrumentation, and optics. He regularly assists clients in designing internal processes to identify and track their valuable IP assets so they can make informed decisions about how to protect them. Robert also counsels clients on licensing agreements, joint development contracts, and related matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Robert spent a decade working in the image processing and optical inspection industry in both product development and marketing. His background allows him to understand both the technical work done by inventors as well as the business realities of the boardroom. He works at the intersection of both of these client stakeholders, serving as a seamless extension of their team. A firm believer in thoroughly knowing his clients’ business, Robert’s counsel is always fully grounded in their unique objectives and visions of success.

Robert has served as editor and chief of LANDSLIDE® Magazine and still sits on the content advisory board of the Intellectual Property Section of the ABA.  Named a Michigan SuperLawyers Rising Star (2014), Robert has also assumed several leadership positions within the State Bar and participated in the Leadership Detroit program.  Always learning, he stays abreast of developments in the industries in which his clients operate and the technologies that they work with, looking for opportunities for them to leverage. Like technology, the law is always evolving, and Robert ensures his client are aware of all the options available as they develop strategies for patenting their valuable innovations.

  • J.D.,
    Wayne State University Law School, 2002
  • B.S., Electrical Engineering, Minor in Optics
    Kettering University, 1991
Bar Admissions
  • Michigan
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Technical Background
  • Analog
  • Business Methods
  • Digital
  • Semiconductors
  • Signal Processing
  • Software
Experience | Legal Experience
Brinks Gilson & Lione, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Shareholder, 2012-present
Associate, 2003-2011
Experience | Non-Legal Experience

Perceptron, Plymouth, Michigan
Product Manager, 1998-2003

Industrial Technology Institute, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sr. Machine Vision Engineer, Project Manager, 1995-1998

Applied Intelligent Systems, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sales Engineer, 1991-1998

Experience | Teaching Experience
Thomas Cooley Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Adjunct Professor, Computer Law, 2011
Forward Thinking
May 16, 2017

In Helsinn Healthcare S.A., v. Teva Pharm. USA, Inc., the Federal Circuit recently held that, despite changes to the statutory language of § 102 under the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (“AIA”), the Court’s pre-AIA interpretation of the on-sale bar remains the same with respect to public sales...

January 27, 2016

On December 17, 2015, an Eastern District of Texas Court ordered patent owner eDekka to pay ...

June 25, 2012
Robert K. Fergan penned “Your Choice for Manufacturing Process: Either Patent it, Keep it Secret, or do Nothing,” for Michigan Lawyers Weekly on June 25, 2012.
March 22, 2012
Robert K. Fergan is profiled in the Ingham County Legal News article “Lawyer Uses Engineering Background,” on March 22, 2012.
August 23, 2011
Robert K. Fergan and Joshua E. Ney, Ph.D. penned “Lessons from Stanford,” for Law360 on August 23, 2011.
June 27, 2011
Robert K. Fergan wrote the article 'For Your Eyes Only: A Peek into Confidentiality Agreements,' for Michigan Lawyers Weekly on June 27, 2011.
October 18, 2010
Robert K. Fergan’s article “Who Owns It? Creating Intellectual Property is Complicated, Counter-Intuitive” was republished in the Sept./Oct. 2010 issue of Washtenaw County Bar Association’s magazine Res Ipsa Loquitur. The ...
June 28, 2010
  • "What to Tell your Clients After Bilski,"  2010
  • "Confidential: Working with Customers and Suppliers in a Confidential Relationship,” 2008
  • "What to Tell Your Clients After Bilski," 2008
  • "The Impact of New Patent Rules on Your Business," 2007
  • "10 IP Red Flags for General Counsel," 2007
  • "10 IP Red Flags for Business Managers," 2007
  • "Creating Value in Your Company by Developing a Competitive IP Portfolio," 2006
  • "Developing Technology with Contractors, Vendors and Partners," 2006
  • "Maximizing Value from Your Patent Portfolio," 2006
  • "Avoiding the Risks of Intellectual Property Litigation," 2005
Press Releases & Events
June 18, 2013
On June 18, Robert K. Fergan and Linda Nattler will be participating in 20 minute one-on-one IP Counseling breakout sessions with attendees during Entrepreneur Connect 2013 on June 18 in Lansing, MI.
June 05, 2013
ANN ARBOR - Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., announces the publication of the third edition of its intellectual property law primer, The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law. The ...
September 13, 2012
ANN ARBOR – Steven L. Oberholtzer, Managing Partner of the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer for 2012 in the practice area of ...
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013; Rising Star, 2014
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Representative Assembly, 22nd Circuit Rep., 2010-2012
    Board of Commissioners, Board Member 2006-2009
    Young Lawyers Section, Chair 2007, Chair-Elect 2006, Vice-Chair 2005, Treasurer 2004, Executive Council Member 2003-2006
    Inter Alia Editor 2005
    Delegate to ABA YLD Assembly, Mid-Year and Annual Meeting 2004-2006
  • American Bar Association
    Intellectual Property Law Section

    Editor-in-Chief, LANDSLIDE, 2012-Present
    Editorial Board, LANDSLIDE, 2008-2012
    CLE Planning Board, 2010-2012
    Annual Meeting, Chair, 2012
    Mid-Year Meeting, Chair, 2010
    Pro Bono Committee, Co-Chair, 2007-2008
    Young Lawyers Committee, Co-Chair, 2006
    Practical Tips Program, Co-Chair Summer, Fall 2006
    European Patent Practices Subcommittee, Chair 2005-2006
    Business Law Section
    Business Law Fellow, Cyberspace Law Committee, 2006-2009
    Young Lawyers Division
    Affiliate Database Team, Chair 2006
    Internet and Intellectual Property Law, Liaison, 2005-2006
    Internet and Intellectual Property Law Committee, Vice-Chair, 2005
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
    Intellectual Property Law Section, Co-Chair 2006-2011
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