Pedram Sameni
May 23, 2024

Patexia Insight 208: Top Trademark Attorneys Making Lateral Moves in 2023

In the ever-dynamic legal world, the landscape of trademark law is no exception. The year 2023 marked significant movements within the profession, as trademark attorneys across the country transitioned to new firms or seized the opportunity to establish their own practices. 

Against the backdrop of these movements lies the recently published Trademark Intelligence Report 2024. Comprehensive and insightful, the report paints a vivid picture of the trademark sector's trends and performance in the past five years. It offers a barometer of the changing professional landscape, as trademarks continue to play a key role in protecting intellectual property and maintaining a company's individuality in a crowded marketplace. 

In today’s insight, we spotlight trademark attorneys who made significant career moves in 2023 and the beginning of 2024. This phenomenon is especially noticeable among top trademark attorneys, whose expertise is increasingly sought after. With the insights garnered from our report, we aim to provide a cohesive analysis of these movements, as well as the law firms that grew the most, contributing to a better understanding of the shifting plates within the field of trademark law. 

The bar chart depicted above offers a visual representation of the U.S. trademark filing activity from 2019 to 2023. The most striking feature is the spike in 2020, where we witnessed a sharp increase of 30.55%, resulting in a peak of 692,461 application filings. While this surge slightly tapered off in 2021, with a nominal drop of 1.56%, application levels remained high overall. As we entered into 2022, the landscape once again shifted significantly. There was a substantial decrease in filed applications, plummeting by 19.76%. In 2023, the decline continued, albeit at a gentler pace, with filings decreasing to a total of 543,166 filings for the year.

Our full Trademark Intelligence Report highlights that the recent fluctuations in trademark activity have been largely propelled by the increasing engagement from Chinese entities, demonstrating their amplified interest in registering U.S. trademarks. In Patexia 176, we conducted an analysis of this topic, specifically focusing on the unexpected downturn in Chinese trademark filings in 2022 - a first in over a decade. Within the report, several sections are dedicated to examining China as the most active foreign participant in U.S. trademark registrations, to understand its influence on the U.S. market. Monitoring the filing trends is important as it provides key insights into the prevailing economic and market conditions. Moreover, it profoundly influences the timeline for trademark processing.

With an understanding of the broader state of trademark activity, we now turn our attention to the lateral movements of trademark attorneys. In our Trademark Intelligence reports, along with vital statistics and current trends, we also evaluate and rank the stakeholders. These include companies, law firms, and attorneys who are actively engaging in trademark prosecution before the USPTO. By comparing the attorneys’ current data with those of the previous report published in April 2023, we are able to deduce the lateral moves and gain a deeper understanding of the dynamic shifts within the industry. Over the course of the twelve months between our reports, among the top 2,000 most active attorneys, a total of 77 lateral moves were recorded. The following table provides a list of the top ten attorneys changing firms, their current firm, previous firm, activity rank as well as the number of trademarks registered during the period of our study: 


Attorney Current Firm Old Firm Activity Rank Trademarks
Abrahah Lichy The Advisory The Lichy Law Firm, P.C. 23 4,155
Daniel S. Hess Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson SpencePC 62 1,444
Janet Cabral Moreira Caldera Law PLLC Maven IP 78 1,099
Lisa W. Rosaya Manatt, Phelps & Phillips Baker McKenzie 218 530
Michael A. Marrero UB Greensfelder LLP Ulmer & Berne LLP 246 481
Angela Alvaerz Sujek Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey, P.L.C. Honigman 282 432
Alexander J. Johnson Frost Brown Todd Ulmer & Berne LLP 288 425
Jennifer Debrow Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP Lathrop GPM LLP 297 421
Amy S. Cahill Vice Cox & Townsend PLLC

Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

361 363
Marie E. Richmond ESCA Legal Loza & Loza 380 350


The full Trademark Intelligence Report is complemented with a detailed Excel sheet for a deeper dive. The file not only contains the rankings of entities and their metrics but also provides complete data on lateral moves. By examining the full data and evaluating where the attorneys joined or left, we can determine which law firms have expanded and which have downsized. Two law firms stand out in positioning themselves and strengthening their capabilities through strategic lateral hiring and merging.

  • After the merger with Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss in late 2022, Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP grew by three top trademark attorneys in 2023, two of whom came from Lathrop GPM LLP. The law firm added a team of six corporate and IP attorneys to its Minneapolis office. “The addition of this talented team is a continuation of our effort to strategically build a firm of highly skilled lawyers dedicated to providing the very best legal services. This validates that Taft is the market leader where great lawyers want to practice,” said Taft Minneapolis partner-in-charge Justin Weinberg. A month after this move, an additional two partner attorneys joined the firm, further expanding the Minneapolis office.
  • In December 2023, Ulmer & Berne LLP and Greensfelder Hemker & Gale PC announced that their partners and shareholders had voted unanimously to approve a merger between them. On February 1, 2024, the firms officially joined forces to form UB Greensfelder LLP. “As two highly compatible firms with similar cultures and a shared vision for growth, we have already seen incredible cross-firm collaboration,” Scott P. Kadish, one of the firm’s co-managing partners, said. Following the merger, a new entity emerged, with around 275 attorneys spread across nine offices. The merger propelled the firm's trademark activity ranking from being individually in the top 500s to standing among the top 200. Such a leap forward showcases the transformative potential of strategic decisions, underscoring the enhanced competitiveness and dynamism a firm can achieve in the industry.

Trademark prosecution continues to be a field attracting considerable interest from attorneys on the constant lookout for new opportunities and challenges. The full Trademark Intelligence Report offers another unique perspective on law firm growth and changes, focusing on the number of trademark applications each firm filed in 2023 compared to that of 2022. This delivers compelling insight into how law firms' strategic decisions directly impact their own functioning and business growth. Our report would be invaluable to a wide array of professionals and firms, particularly those interested in individual and collective performance on the trademark prosecution landscape. It benefits practitioners navigating the legal market space, firms benchmarking their performance or strategizing growth, new entrants looking to identify key players, and investors seeking a deeper understanding of market dynamics. Moreover, it offers an unrivaled opportunity to analyze activity and performance rankings in detail - a tool that could serve as a crucial differentiator in this highly competitive market.