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 sailing race held April 3-6 in New Zealand.
Mr. Ropski, past president at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, Mr. Sigmond, past managing partner at McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff (“MBHB”), and current MBHB managing partner Mr. Thymian 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.
“The Patent Cup embodies a healthy and stimulating combination of collegiality and competition,” said Mr. Sigmond, who spends most weekends racing his Farr 40 and Tartan 10 sailboat. 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.”
“An exciting race, a tight finish and a truly spectacular venue,” said Mr. Ropski, describing his seventh time competing in the Patent Cup.
Sigmond, Thymian and Ropski have co-captained the U.S. team boat in several previous Patent Cup races, with finishes at or near first place. In 2006, a team skippered by Mr. Sigmond and Mr. Ropski earned the first-ever U.S. victory in the race, held that year at the Chicago Yacht Club in Chicago.
The Patent Cup sailing race was 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. According to its 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 participate, 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.
About Brinks Hofer 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. Website: www.usebrinks.com.
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 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 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.
(In photo l-r) Back row: Henrique Steuer I. de Mello and Gary Ropski; Front row: Marcus Thymian, Michael Pophal, Leif Sigmond and Melissa Junge.