Brinks Gilson & Lione celebrates 100 year anniversary in 2017

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Brinks Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., and with a thriving office in Ann Arbor, is celebrating the firm’s centennial anniversary in 2017. The firm, which also has offices in Chicago, Durham, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Tampa, Florida; and Washington, D.C., was founded in Chicago in 1917 when Woodrow Wilson was President, the DowJones high was 98 and low was 66, a complete dinner in New York City cost $1.50, Charlie Chaplin was a superstar, and the United States entered World War I.

The Ann Arbor office opened in 2001, and Steven L. Oberholtzer has served the office as managing shareholder since shortly after that time.  Oberholtzer, who was just named patent law “Lawyer of the Year” for Ann Arbor by Best Lawyers in America© 2018 and has extensive experience as an attorney and engineer in the automotive industry, explained the firm’s decision to expand into Michigan.

“Brinks saw the strategic opportunities of opening an office in the high technology community of Ann Arbor with its close connections and proximity to the automotive technology businesses in Southeast Michigan,” Oberholtzer said, adding that office now has 27 staff members, including 15 attorneys and one patent agent. Office manager Kandi Lampkins has been with the Ann Arbor office since it opened.

In addition to the automotive field, the office’s areas of practice include biotech and pharmaceuticals, energy, medical devices, nanotechnology, and the electrical, mechanical and chemical fields. Reflecting on what it takes for a law firm to reach the 100-year milestone, Oberholtzer noted several factors.

“First, you need top-notch attorneys with a technical background who are dedicated to client service and have the capacity and desire to stay current and maintain their skills in swiftly evolving industry technologies and the evolutionary changes they bring to intellectual property law,” Oberholtzer  said. “But, equally important on the human capital side, there needs to be a team approach to business, and a family orientation that shows staff at all levels that we care about them and their personal and professional endeavors and commitments.”

Speaking about the centennial anniversary earlier this year, Brinks’ President Jim Sobieraj, who holds both engineering and law degrees from the University of Michigan, noted that as Brinks lawyers continue to focus their practice at the nexus of some of the world’s most complex and valuable innovations—in pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, medical devices, and related technologies—the firm expects to continue along its current successful arc.

“Innovation is a pillar of our country’s culture and economic success,” Sobieraj said. “Innovation leads to the need for IP protection and for good IP lawyers—people committed to IP because it’s their passion. That passion, together with the ability to adapt while staying true to our values, has been the key to our success and will drive Brinks forward.”

The firm held a centennial anniversary party in Chicago on October 12 for clients and friends of the firm.

Brinks Gilson & Lione

Celebrating its centennial year in 2017, Brinks Gilson & Lione is one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the US, and helps clients around the world to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights.  Our more than 140 lawyers, patent agents and scientific advisors assist clients in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret, and copyright law.  Brinks attorneys provide informed counsel with respect to innovations in a range of complex and valuable technologies, including pharmaceuticals, chemicals, bioengineering, industrial manufacturing, electronics and software, and medical devices.  More information is at