Mitchell A. Katz, a noted patent attorney who advises universities and chemical and pharmaceutical companies worldwide, has been named Chair of the Intellectual Property Department at Ballard Spahr, firm Chair Mark Stewart announced today.

Mr. Katz, former leader of the firm’s Patents Group, focuses on domestic and international patent procurement, client counseling, and opinion writing, as well as reexaminations and international opposition proceedings. Before joining the firm, Mr. Katz worked for E.I. du Pont de Nemours, Inc., and The Dow Chemical Company and was a patent examiner for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law.

Mr. Katz succeeds William H. Needle, who has practiced patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law for more than 40 years and will maintain his active practice at the firm.

“Mitch is a first-rate lawyer who brings energy and vision to a department that has grown substantially and is doing exciting work,” Mr. Stewart said. “The firm owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Bill Needle, who laid the groundwork for the department’s success and expansion.”

Said Mr. Katz, “This is an exciting time for our clients, many of whom are working on groundbreaking advancements. At the same time, the legal landscape is evolving and there are more efficient ways to protect and commercialize IP assets. I look forward to helping this talented team of attorneys continue their trajectory of success.”

The Intellectual Property practice at Ballard Spahr counsels clients on patent, trademark, unfair competition, copyright, trade secret, Internet, licensing, and trade dress matters and associated litigation. Our attorneys offer strategic due diligence during mergers and acquisitions or portfolio restructuring and work with early-stage growth companies on commercializing IP assets.

“It has been a privilege to lead this team of talented attorneys and I am enormously proud of what the department, and the Atlanta office, has accomplished,” Mr. Needle said. “I am also looking forward to handing over the reins of management and returning to the practice of law.”

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