Brinks-MBHB Sailing Team Wins 3rd Place in 2012 Patent Cup

Fellow patent attorneys Gary M. Ropski, a shareholder at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione and the firm’s immediate past president, and Marcus Thymian, the current managing partner at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, led a USA team boat that finished third in the 2012 Patent Cup sailing regatta, held May 25-27 under the direction of Le Yacht Club Classizue in La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast of France.

(In photo l-r) Michelle Farr, Derek Minihane, Katie Horvath, Gary Ropski
Mike Pophal and Marcus Thymian

In addition to Mr. Ropski, who served as the team’s skipper, and Mr. Thymian, the crew included Michelle Farr, wife of Mr. Thymian; Derek Minihane, head of intellectual property strategy at Cochlear in Sydney, Australia; Katherine Ford Horvath, an intellectual property attorney and principal at Durrette Crump P.L.C. in Traverse City, Mich.; and Michael C. Pophal, assistant general counsel at Brinks client Eveready Battery Company in Westlake, Ohio.

Mr. Ropski has competed six times in this popular race for nautically inclined patent attorneys. “The Patent Cup is an excellent venue for building international friendships in a friendly competition,” said Ropski. “Once again, we were honored to place well among a field of top-notch competitors. The hospitality of our French hosts was outstanding.”

“It is always exciting to bring a strong team together to sail in a challenging race,” said Mr. Thymian, who typically spends most weekends racing his Farr 40 sailboat. “We were honored to represent the U.S.A. and place so well in this competitive international regatta.”

All the boats in each year’s Patent Cup are identically rigged. Fourteen teams representing the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Brazil, as well as several multinational teams and teams from the European Patent Office, participated in the competitive, but friendly, sailing regatta.

In 2006, a team skippered by Mr. Ropski and Leif R. Sigmond Jr. of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff earned the first-ever U.S.A. victory in the Patent Cup, held that year at the Chicago Yacht Club in Chicago. The team placed third in Venice, Italy in 2008 and in Ilhabela, Brazil in 2009. Thymian and Minihane were also part of those teams.

Established in 1989 by two patent attorneys, Germany’s Peter Franck and France’s Frédéric Benech, the Patent Cup was created to foster camaraderie and help cultivate strong relations among patent attorneys from around the world, as well as to provide opportunities for new sailing venues. According to the Patent Cup charter, each yacht must have a crew consisting primarily of patent professionals. Every year, the race is held in a different country with the host country responsible for the organization, terms and conditions of the race, the boats chosen and all other arrangements for the event. Next year’s race is planned to be held in New Zealand.

Gary Ropski has over 35 years of experience as a trial lawyer and has litigated in every federal judicial circuit in the United States and in almost all of the top 10 court districts for patent litigation. He has participated in more than 100 intellectual property lawsuits and has received accolades for his skill at presenting and rebutting claims in litigation, making complex topics easily understandable by a jury or judge. Mr. Ropski also taught patent and copyright law for 17 years at the Northwestern University School of Law. He 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.

Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione
Brinks has more than 140 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, Salt Lake City, Ann Arbor and Indianapolis. More information is available at

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 Chicago, North Carolina and Washington state, 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 75 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 lose 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: