David R. Cross, Partner


David Cross is one of the main reasons that the BTI Consulting Group calls Quarles & Brady a “Most Feared Litigation Group.” Clients confidently turn to Dave as an aggressive intellectual property litigator who’s not afraid of a fight, and with good reason. He propels cases past the noise of claims and counter-claims, zeroes in on the angle that makes his client’s case, then builds a compelling story around it, in terms that judges and juries understand and appreciate. He is certainly willing to negotiate a settlement when circumstances call for it, but he strives to do so from a position of strength and with the understanding on all sides that he will do what it takes to fully protect his client’s interests. Simply put, he hates to lose — Dave himself is an inventor, so he understands the inventor’s experience, knows how it feels to be infringed, and uses that empathy to drive cases on behalf of his clients.

Dave prosecutes and defends intellectual property and other technology cases before juries and judges in federal and state courts around the country. He also has extensive experience prosecuting and defending trademark and unfair competition cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and in state and federal courts. He has handled disputes involving a wide range of technologies and industries including biochemistry, computer software and hardware, plastics, medical instrumentation, and semiconductors.

As Dave practices his craft, he demonstrates that a successful trial lawyer is a persuasive storyteller who helpfully explains the law and technology in question, to judges and juries. He sticks to the theme that works and makes the message crystal clear, counters the other side’s story with facts, and evokes the sympathy and understanding of the court. He distills each matter to its salient points, then drives each case toward successful resolution.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1980)
  • University of Wisconsin (B.A., 1976)
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 2006
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 2006
  • U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, 2005
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Indiana, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 2001
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 1995
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, 1994
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1983
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1981

Professional and Civic Activities

  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Member)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Litigation Section)
  • Milwaukee Bar Association (Member)
  • Bar Association of the Seventh Circuit (Member)
  • Wisconsin Intellectual Property Law Association (Member)
  • Wisconsin Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section (Chair, Board of Directors, 2008)
  • Children's Outing Association (Director, 1983–1987)
  • Pathfinders (Director, 1987-1998; President, 1996–1998)
  • University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Building Foundation (Associate Trustee, 2002–present)
  • North Suburban Special Olympics (Assistant Coach, 2002–present)

Professional Recognition

  • Milwaukee Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award (2017)
  • Selected as a Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year 2016 (Patent - Litigation - Milwaukee)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin – Pro Bono Honor Society (2015)
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2009–present: Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – Intellectual Property; Litigation – Patent)
  • Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2013 Milwaukee Litigation Law "Lawyer of the Year" 
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2008–2010, 2013–present Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists (Intellectual Property Litigation)
  • Member of the Wisconsin Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel for IP Litigation
  • Honorary Court Commissioner, Milwaukee County Circuit Court
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated
  • Selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Technology by American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell™
  • Recognized as Best Lawyers® 2020 Milwaukee Litigation - Antitrust "Lawyer of the Year"