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Four Attorneys from Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione’s Ann Arbor Office Recognized by Michigan Super Lawyers

ANN ARBOR – September 5, 2013 – Steven L. Oberholtzer, Managing Partner of the Ann Arbor office of Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S., has been named a Michigan Super Lawyer for 2013 in the practice area of intellectual property law in the eighth annual survey. Robert K. Fergan, John A. Lingl and Michael N. Spink, all shareholders in the Ann Arbor office, were named Michigan Rising Stars. The Rising Star recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state who are 40 years old or younger or have been practicing for 10 years or less.

Steve Oberholtzer was listed in the specialty area of patent law. His practice focuses on patent and trademark counseling, corporate intellectual property policy development and administration, technology licensing, joint development and joint venture relationship agreements. He also has experience in United States Patent and Trademark Office administrative proceedings including interferences, re-examinations, re-issues, trademark oppositions and patent application preparation and prosecution.
Oberholtzer has extensive experience with the intellectual property legal issues of the automotive industry. He has a lifelong interest in the industry and products, and was previously employed as a senior project engineer with a domestic OEM manufacturer and as in-house patent counsel for a Tier 1 supplier. In private practice, Oberholtzer has acted as primary outside counsel for a number of Tier 1 and lower tier supplier engagements that include worldwide responsibility for all intellectual property issues and management of teams of attorneys handling all facets of these matters.
Oberholtzer also serves on the Brink’s Board of Directors and is the principal author of a primer on intellectual property entitled, The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law.
In August 2013, Oberholtzer was named the 2014 Ann Arbor Patent Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Kettering University, formerly known as the General Motors Institute, and received his J.D. from the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University. He is a member of the Licensing Executives Society.

Robert Fergan, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property, specializes in client counseling, licensing and patent prosecution in the United States and in other countries under the rules of the Patent Cooperation Treaty. He has prepared and prosecuted patents in the electrical, mechanical, optical, and computer science arts, as well as patents related to business methods.

Prior to joining Brinks in 2003, Fergan spent ten years in the machine vision and optical inspection industry as a product development manager and product marketing manager, gaining experience with many industries and technologies, including semi-conductor, electronics, automotive, pharmaceutical, packaging, metrology, instrumentation and optics.

Fergan is editor in chief of Landslide, a bi-monthly magazine of the American Bar Association’s Section of Intellectual Property Law that offers news and analysis on patents, trademarks, copyrights and related topics. He is also a member of the American Bar Association’s Intellectual Property Law Section and Business Law Section and is active in the State Bar of Michigan, where he previously served on the Board of Commissioners. Fergan is a contributing author of the third edition of the Brinks intellectual property law primer, The Basic Principles of Intellectual Property Law, and an Adjunct Professor at Thomas Cooley Law School in Ann Arbor. He received his J.D. from Wayne State University College of Law and a B.S. in electrical engineering with a minor in optics from Kettering University, formerly known as the General Motors Institute. He is also a graduate of Leadership Detroit.

John Lingl, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property for the second consecutive year, focuses his practice on patent, copyright and trademark litigation. In addition, he prosecutes both foreign and domestic patent applications in numerous areas including semiconductors, electrical systems, voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) systems, packet switching and routing, network traffic optimization, Internet search technologies, advertising and behavioral targeting technologies, optical systems, terahertz radiation systems, x-ray systems, automotive interior systems and automotive powertrain systems. Lingl holds a J.D. from The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Kettering University.

Michael Spink, named a Michigan Rising Star in intellectual property for the third time, chairs the firm’s Intellectual Asset Management group and is a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP) with extensive experience in complex transactions involving intellectual property, including due diligence, disposition, valuation and bankruptcy issues. Spink’s patent practice includes portfolio management, prosecution, licensing and enforcement in numerous industries including the automotive, medical device and software industries. His trademark practice comprises worldwide portfolio management, clearance, prosecution, licensing and enforcement in federal district court and before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. His copyright practice includes registration and licensing, and he is currently a contributing author on copyright law in a quarterly publication of the American Bar Association.

Spink blogs ( and tweets (@funkymarksblog) about unusual trademarks for motion, sound, color, scent, texture, and shape. He holds a J.D. from the John Marshall Law School and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He is active in professional activities including the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Michigan Intellectual Property Law Association, Intellectual Property Owners Association and the Licensing Executives Society (LES) and is co-chair of the Michigan Chapter of LES.

About Super Lawyers
Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer-influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected using a patented multiphase selection process in which peer nominations are combined with third party research. The mission of Super Lawyers is to bring visibility to those attorneys who exhibit excellence in practice. The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. For more information, go to
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. In addition to Ann Arbor, Brinks has offices in Chicago, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Research Triangle Park, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. More information is available at