Press Releases
Brinks and MBHB Make For a Top Team Down Under, Pan-American Boat Secures 2nd in Annual Patent Cup Regatta in New Zealand
April 18, 2013

Front row (l-r): Marcus Thymian, Michael Pophal, Leif Sigmond and Melissa Junge
Back row: Henrique Steuer I. de Mello and Gary Ropski

CHICAGO–From first chair to team captain is not so different for lawyers who compete in the annual Patent Cup sailing race. So say intellectual property attorneys and co-captains Gary Ropski, Leif Sigmond and Marcus Thymian of the Pan-American team’s yacht, fresh in the wake of an exciting second-place finish in this year’s race in New Zealand.

Mr. Ropski, past president at Brinks Gilson & Lione, Mr. Sigmond, past managing partner at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (MBHB), and Mr. Thymian, current managing partner at MBHB, were joined under sail by fellow crew members and attorneys Michael C. Pophal, assistant general counsel and a senior patent attorney at Eveready Battery Co. in Westlake, Ohio, Henrique Steuer I. de Mello, an IP partner with Dannemann Siemsen Advogados in Sao Paolo, Brazil and Melissa R. Junge, an associate with Drinker, Biddle & Reath in Chicago,.

“An exciting race, a tight finish and a truly spectacular venue,” said Mr. Ropski, describing his seventh time competing in the Patent Cup, first established in 1989 by two patent attorneys, Germany's Peter Franck and France's Frédéric Benech, to foster camaraderie and cultivate relationships among patent attorneys from around the world.

'The Patent Cup embodies a healthy and stimulating combination of collegiality and competition,” adds Mr. Sigmond, who spends most weekends racing his Farr 40 and Tartan 10 sailboats. Said his partner, Mr. Thymian, “New Zealand was a marvelous setting for what has become a truly top-notch event, and our hosts were most gracious.”

Sigmond, Thymian and Ropski have co-captained the U.S. team boat in several races previous, with finishes at or near first place. In 2006, a team skippered by Mr. Ropski and Mr. Sigmond earned the first-ever U.S. victory in the Patent Cup, held that year at the Chicago Yacht Club in Chicago.

“We’re consistent and we’re competitive every year,” said Mr. Ropski, who races a Shields one-design sailboat in Chicago during the summer and has consistently been in the top two or three in the fleet championship series. “It’s an honor to represent the U.S. and place so well in this competitive international regatta.”

According to the Patent Cup charter, each yacht must have a crew consisting primarily of patent attorneys. The race is held in a different country each year, with the host country responsible for the organization, terms and conditions of the race, the boats chosen and all other arrangements for the event. All boats in each year's race are identically rigged. Up to fourteen teams, at times representing the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, as well as several multinational teams and teams from the European Patent Office, participate.

Brinks Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 160 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Brinks has offices in Chicago, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, N.C., Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor, Indianapolis and Detroit. More information is available at

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff
McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP provides creative, pragmatic business solutions through a variety of intellectual property services, including litigation, prosecution, and general client counseling. MBHB’s 80 attorneys prosecute patent and trademark applications in both the U.S. and abroad, handle intellectual property litigation matters in trial and appellate courts across the country, and counsel clients nationwide and worldwide on the enforcement and defense of their intellectual property rights. For more information, visit

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