Nicholas J. Seay, Retired Partner


Nick Seay is a retired partner with Quarles & Brady. He practiced in the area of intellectual property and related business transactions. He has extensive experience in patents, concentrating in biotechnology, but also with experience in electronics as well as in technology and software licensing and related intellectual property litigation. Mr. Seay's experience includes:

  • Filed and prosecuted to issuance some of the earliest patents on transgenic plants, including controversial patents covering all transgenic cotton.

  • Filed and prosecuted a patent portfolio on the pioneering work on human embryonic stem cells of Prof. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin.
  • Filed and obtained patents in technical fields as diverse as nuclear transfer for farm animals, transgenic plants and animals, microbiology in general and microbial genetics and genomics in particular, molecular biology, cell biology, protein engineering, microarrays, bioinformatics, computer software and hardware, electronic communication devices, and devices and instruments for biotechnology processes such as gene delivery instruments.
  • Enabled due diligence effort and negotiated the intellectual property provisions of the largest Wisconsin-based biotechnology business transaction to date.
  • Successfully represented inventors in multiple multiparty interferences on basic inventions in transgenic plants.
  • Participated in intellectual property litigation, including patent, trademark and trade secret trials to both judges and juries.
  • Represented emerging growth companies generally, including activities such as: incorporating a biotechnology company, now publicly traded; representing software companies in equity transactions; negotiating strategic partnerships; and negotiating biotechnology technology licenses and service agreements between major public companies.

Education and Honors

  • George Washington University Law School (J.D., with honors, 1977)
  • Cornell University (B.S., 1972)

Bar Admissions

  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, 1981
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1981
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 1977
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Dane County Bar Association (Member)
  • American Bar Association (Member, Biosciences Subcommittee)
  • State Bar of Wisconsin (Member)
  • Wisconsin Intellectual Property Law Association (Member)
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association (Chair, Plant Protection Committee, 1987-1989)

Professional Recognition

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rated

Selected Presentations/Publications

  • "Intellectual Property Rights in Plants in Intellectual Property Rights: Protection of Plant Materials," SSA Special Publication No. 21, Crop Science Society of America, 1993
  • "Agricultural Biotechnology and Patents: Now That We Can Patent Plants and Animals, What Are the Problems?," Industrial Biotechnology Association program, 1989
  • "Protecting the Seeds of Innovation: Patenting Plants," 16 AIPLA Quarterly 418, 1988-1989