Stephen J. Gardner, Partner


Steve Gardner practices in the firm's Intellectual Property Group, focusing on IP-related transactions and litigation. He works with both national and start-up companies, as well as research institutions and other IP owners to promote their technology through licensing and collaborative agreements and to maximize commercial value of their developments. When commercialization of IP assets is jeopardized through infringement, or IP agreements are breached, Mr. Gardner assists clients in a variety of enforcement efforts, including proceedings before numerous U.S. district courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Mr. Gardner's recent experience includes:

  • Drafting and negotiating software license and web vendor agreements;
  • Representing universities and research institutions in technology transfer and patent license agreements, joint development agreements, sponsored research agreements, and material transfer agreements;
  • Drafting and negotiating master research services agreements and software support and integration agreements;
  • Advising and assisting clients on disputes concerning IP rights in federal government contracts and procurement law;
  • Counseling clients on IP enforcement, patent validity, and freedom-to-operate opinions;
  • Representation of petitioners and patent owners in Inter Partes Review proceedings before the USPTO;
  • Representation of a research institution and licensee in a successful patent enforcement program involving 13 defendants and six patent infringement cases.

Mr. Gardner has counseled clients concerning all types of intellectual property in a wide variety of technologies, including on matters relating to software, magnetic resonance imaging, CT imaging, medical devices, industrial equipment, photolithography equipment, semiconductor chip manufacturing methods, liquid crystal display devices, LED manufacturing, and processors and electronic controllers.

Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Gardner served for two years as a law clerk for the Hon. Edward J. Damich, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, a unique court that has nationwide jurisdiction over various federal government contract and IP disputes. Following his clerkship, he worked as an associate in the Washington D.C. office of a large general practice firm, where he focused on IP protection and enforcement.

Legal Services

Education and Honors

  • Marquette University Law School (J.D., cum laude, 2006)
  • Michigan State University (B.S., 2003)
    • Major: Computer Engineering

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2008
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 2006

Professional and Civic Activities

  • Law Clerk to Chief Judge Edward J. Damich, United States Court of Federal Claims (2007–2009)
  • Intern to Chief Judge Rudolph T. Randa, United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin (2005)
  • Marquette University Legal Clinic (Volunteer Attorney, 2006–2007)
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (Member)

Professional Recognition

  • Selected for inclusion in Wisconsin Super Lawyers® - Rising Stars Edition 2019 (Technology Transactions)
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