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Sailboat Helmed by Brinks' Ropski and McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff's Thymian Takes Second in 2015 Patent Cup Regatta in Cape Town
April 30, 2015

In photo above (left to right):  Paul Tubbing (European Patent Office), Patrick Erk (Grünecker), Marcus Thymian (MBHB), Gary Ropski (Brinks), and Richard Carden (MBHB).

In photo above (left to right): Richard Carden (MBHB), Marcus Thymian (MBHB), Patrick Erk (GRÜNECKER), Gary Ropski (Brinks), and Paul Tubbing (European Patent Office).


CHICAGO—Camaraderie, sailing and good old-fashioned fun prevailed as a team of sailors led by Gary Ropski of Brinks Gilson & Lione and Marcus Thymian of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP (MBHB) led Team USA to a second-place finish in the 27th annual Patent Cup Regatta, held April 19-23 in Cape Town, South Africa, with massive Table Mountain as the backdrop for notoriously windy Table Bay.

The team was rounded out by Patrick Erk of Munich, Germany-based patent law firm Grünecker, Paul Tubbing of the European Patent Office, and MBHB managing partner S. Richard Carden. The Australia-New Zealand team placed first.

Ropski, who participated in his ninth Patent Cup this year and who has previously guided Team USA to victory, likens the challenge of racing sailboats to leading and winning in litigation. 

'Sailboat racing demands a combination of skill and instinct to monitor the wind, race course and competition, making the right tactical decisions in the context of an overall strategy as circumstances change,' says Ropski. “And it’s essential to be able to operate as part of a team, with mutual respect and trust.”

“The Patent Cup Regatta is an incredible event for our profession,” said Thymian, an MBHB patent lawyer. “The chance to build lifelong bonds across continents through sailing is an extraordinary opportunity and experience for everyone involved.”

The event attracted ten teams representing countries worldwide, which competed in four separate contests over the course of three days in similarly rigged L-34 boats. Team USA, which won the Patent Cup in 2006, 2010 and 2014, placed first this year in the race around Robben Island, second in two others, and third in the final race, for an aggregate score that fell just short of the team from Australia-New Zealand. The Regatta coincided with the 2015 World Congress of the Fédération Internationale des Conseils en Propriéte Intellectuelle (FICPI).

The Patent Cup Regatta was established in 1989 by two patent attorneys to foster camaraderie and cultivate relationships among patent attorneys from around the world. According to its charter, each yacht must have a crew consisting primarily of patent professionals. 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. Up to fourteen teams have participated, at times representing the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Italy, as well as several multinational teams and teams from the European Patent Office. 

Next year’s Patent Cup Regatta will be held in Split, Croatia.

About McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP provides creative, pragmatic business solutions through a variety of intellectual property services, including litigation, prosecution, and general client counseling. With offices in Illinois, California and North Carolina, MBHB provides comprehensive legal services to obtain and enforce its clients’ intellectual property rights, from navigating patent office procedures to litigating complex infringement actions. MBHB 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. MBHB attorneys are experienced in the procurement, licensing, enforcement, and defense of patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and unfair competition actions in a number of technological disciplines and product categories including biotechnology, business methods, chemical, electrical, mechanical and materials, pharmaceuticals and diagnostics, software and telecommunications. Comprised of over 80 attorneys, the law firm provides effective and service-oriented representation on a case-by-case basis. MBHB attorneys undertake each challenge with a full understanding of their client’s business plan and the ways in which the firm’s services help their clients reach their goals. Regardless of MBHB’s role, the firm never loses sight of their clients’ business objectives. MBHB clients know they have trusted their legal issues and plans for the future with knowledgeable, principled professionals who have their best business interests in mind. Website: www.mbhb.com.

Brinks Gilson & Lione

The more than 135 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents at Brinks Gilson & Lione focus their practice in the field of intellectual property, making Brinks one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them protect and enforce their intellectual property rights. Brinks lawyers provide counseling in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. More information is at www.brinksgilson.com.

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