Barry Irwin


Practices & Industries:

Utility Patent, Design Patent, Copyright, Trademark & Advertising, Other Complex Litigation, Customs Disputes, Patent Office Validity Challenges, IP Counseling and Transactions, Arts and Entertainment Law, Trademark Prosecution

Contact Information:


Barry Irwin founded Irwin IP in 2014 and has been litigating mission-critical, high-profile intellectual property and technology matters in federal courts across the country for over 30 years. Barry began his legal career at a prestigious boutique intellectual property law firm in Chicago. Three years later, he joined the Chicago office of the top AmLaw 100 law firm. There, he practiced intellectual property litigation for 18 years, the last 14 as a partner, and the last 10 as an equity partner.

In addition to his active litigation practice, Barry has been an Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame Law School since 2012, where he teaches Patent Litigation and Advanced Copyright Law/Entertainment Law. He has also served as an expert witness in intellectual property-related matters. He is the Board President of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a former executive board member of the Linn Inn American Inn of Court, and Vice-Chair of the Burr Ridge Planning Commission.

Furthermore, Barry has been lead counsel in over a dozen Patent Office review proceedings. For example, he successfully petitioned the PTAB to institute an IPR on a patent touted as the foundation for a billion dollar per year business despite that patent withstanding numerous other challenges brought by others, including prior Patent Office reviews and several federal court litigations. Finally, he often works with clients in strengthening their intellectual property portfolios to protect key products, including broadening existing intellectual property portfolios and securing rights to third party intellectual property.

Awards, Honors, Distinctions

Best Lawyers
Lawyer of the Year for Patent Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Law, Copyright Law (Chicago), 2024
Lawyer of the Year for Patent Litigation (Chicago), 2023
Lawyer of the Year for Copyright Litigation (Chicago), 2023
Best Lawyer, 2019-present
Super Lawyers
Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois, 2018
Illinois Super Lawyer, 2005-present
Order of Veritas
Leading Lawyers
Leading Lawyer, 2004-present
Intellectual Property Law
Peer-Rated: AV Preeminent
Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Lawyers for the Creative Arts
Distinguished Service to the Arts, 2016
Litigation Counsel of America
Lifetime Fellow
Richard Linn American Inn of Court
Board Member, 2017-2020

Professional Accolades & Leadership Roles

In 2022 Barry was designated Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in two separate areas: Patent Litigation and Copyright Law (each award given to a single lawyer in a community). In 2018, Barry was selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Illinois. And, each year, for over 15 years, he has been named a Leading Lawyer and a Super Lawyer. He also received Martindale Hubbell’s highest ratings (AV, AV+ and AV Preeminent) in his first years of eligibility and each year thereafter.

In 2015, Barry received the rare distinction of being named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), and in 2022 became a Senior Fellow. LCA is an invitation-only honorary trial lawyer society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers. LCA Fellows are selected based on their legal excellence and accomplishments in litigation and superior ethical reputations. Barry has also been named an IP Star by Managing IP.

In 2016, Chicago-based Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a not-for-profit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to members of the various Illinois arts communities, awarded him with its Distinguished Service to the Arts award. He has been a supervising attorney for numerous pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at a juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination; a trial of an aggravated assault charge resulting in acquittal; serving as guardian ad litem; and dozens of entertainment law matters.

For approximately 15 years, three times a year, Barry also taught trial advocacy to Kirkland & Ellis associates, participating in Kirkland’s multiday, immersive mock trial programs.

Notable Cases & Results

Barry is a first-chair litigation attorney handling high-stakes patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, restrictive covenant, unfair competition, false advertising, and antitrust matters. Some of those matters include:

  • a multi-patent offensive matter for a mid-sized software company resulting in an eight-figure jury verdict after a three-week jury trial;
  • a multi-patent defensive matter for a medical product’s company where Irwin IP defeated a Fortune 50 company’s effort to enjoin sales of its client’s medical product for allegedly infringing patents that had survived numerous prior invalidity challenges and that were the foundation for a $1 billion/year market;
  • two related multi-patent, false advertising and unfair competition defenses for a disruptive start-up against an industry-leading Fortune 500 company, wherein Irwin IP won summary judgment on the patent claims, and the court announcing its intention to also grant summary judgment on the non-patent claims;
  • a patent matter for an industrial product supplier against its main competitor where Irwin IP prevailed on summary judgment and obtained an award of attorney fees;
  • an offensive patent infringement action, winning a $7.3 million jury verdict, and obtaining a permanent injunction protecting a $100-million-per-year product line;
  • a $500 million, multi-patent infringement defense, winning a complete defense jury verdict;
  • an extensive, expedited evidentiary hearing, wherein Irwin IP obtained a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction precluding Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) from imposing a bonding requirement against an importer that would have caused the importer to cease operations and cost hundreds of employees their jobs;
  • an offensive matter against CBP wherein Irwin IP obtained a rare order requiring CBP to immediately move forward with seizure actions it had been intentionally delaying;
  • four different offensive trade secret/restrictive covenant matters, obtaining preliminary injunctions after multi-day evidentiary hearings, including a case of first impression where the court precluded a former sales representative from soliciting “high-volume” customers;
  • a trade secret defensive matter, obtaining summary judgment that 48 different allegedly misappropriated secrets were in the public domain, or not used by his client;
  • an offensive trademark infringement matter, obtaining a preliminary injunction after an evidentiary hearing;
  • an offensive trade dress infringement matter, obtaining summary judgment of trade dress infringement, and summary judgment on each of the defendants’ Walker-Process antitrust, unfair competition, interference with contract and trade libel counterclaims;
  • an offensive breach of fiduciary duty action, obtaining over $16 million of settlements;
  • numerous expedited intellectual property litigation matters for industry leading gaming companies wherein preliminary injunctions and consent judgments have been obtained involving a diverse range of technology, including automatic card shufflers, proprietary table games, table game monitoring systems, “virtual reel” technology, “method of play” patents, cashless technology, authentication technology and progressive systems; and
  • numerous successful copyright infringement matters for recording artists, photographers and sculptors wherein Irwin IP has enjoining unlawful distribution of infringing works, and recovered its attorney fees.

Court Admissions

Illinois, 1992
U.S. District Court
District of Nevada, 2005
Central District of Illinois, 1998
Northern District of Ohio, 1994
Northern District of Illinois, 1992
Trial Bar, 1999
District of Delaware, 1998
District of Minnesota, 2001
District of New Jersey, 2000
Northern District of Indiana, 2005
Northern District of Georgia, 2004
Central District of California, 2015
Western District of Michigan, 2016
Northern District of California, 2011
Southern District of California, 2013
Southern District of New York, 2007
Western District of Tennessee, 2015
Northern District of Pennsylvania, 2010
U.S. Court of International Trade, 2018
6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1994
7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 1994
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Federal Circuit, 1998

Representative Clients

Action Gaming, Activision TV, AGS, Alcon Laboratories, AMF Bowling, Aruze Gaming, Balance GFX, Covidien, CVS, Ecomed, F.P. Rosback, Fellowes, International Game Technology, Kapsch, LKQ, Massarelli Lawn Ornaments, Mark IV, Motorola, National Steel Car, Nobel Biocare, Oasis Financial, Office Depot, Opternative, Par-Kan, Peripheral Devices, Ranir, Shuffle Master, Smiths Medical, Swagway, Trading Technologies, U.S. Auto Parts, Visa, Walker Digital Table Systems, WorldGate Communications, Wowza Media Systems

Employment History

Kirkland & Ellis LLP, 1995-2014
Named Partner, 2000
Named Equity Partner, 2004
Brinks, Gilson & Lione
Associate, 1992-1995
Oltsch, Knoblock & Hall
Jones, Obenchain, Ford, Pankow
Pratt & Whitney Government Engine Business
Design and Project Engineer

Bar & Professional Association Involvement

Lawyers for the Creative Arts
Board President
Trial Law Institute
Diversity Law Institute
Intellectual Property Institute

Community Involvement

DIL Corp.Vice-President, 2000-2015
Notre Dame Club of ChicagoCore Committee & Attorney Networking Committee
Burr Ridge Planning CommissionVice-Chair
Lawyers for the Creative ArtsPresident

Pro Bono

Barry has been a supervising attorney for numerous pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at a juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination; a trial of an aggravated assault charge resulting in acquittal; serving as guardian ad litem; and in dozens of entertainment law matters.



University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 1992 (magna cum laude)
Dean’s List each of last four semesters
Am. Jur. Award: Federal Court’s Jurisprudence
University of Notre Dame B.S. Aero. Eng., 1988


District of Columbia
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

Papers, Seminars, and Teachings

Linn Inn, Presenter, Free Solo: Should You Scale the IP Mountain Alone? (2019); Vice Chair/Presenter, Section 203 Termination Proceedings Under the Copyright Act (2013)

School of the Art Institute, Speaker, Copyright Protection in the Digital Age (2018)

LCA & The John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Registration Issues Critical to Copyright Litigation (2018)

Dayton School of Law, Program in Law and Technology Seminar, Trademark Enforcement at the Border: Customs Does Not Just Seize Counterfeits (2018)

Intellectual Property Institute, Presentation, Preliminary Injunctions in IP Cases (2017)

The Presidents Forum, Speaker, Current Issues in IP Law (2016)

LCA, Speaker, Emerging Issues in Music Law (2016)

The Presidents Forum, Speaker, Current Issues in IP Law (2016)

LCA, Speaker, Emerging Issues in Music Law (2016)

LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)

LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons for Musicians from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)

Joseph College, Will Copyright Survive in the Digital Age (2014)

LCA Bootcamp, Music Law 101 (2014)

DuPage Community College, Copyright Law for Photographers (2014)

Kirkland & Ellis Technology Seminar, Speaker, USPTO Post Grant Review Proceedings (2013, 2012); Northern District of Illinois – The Newest Local Patent Rules (2010), Protecting Yourself from Willfulness (2008), Copyright v. Technology? (2002), Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000), Recent Developments in IP Law (1999)

Kirkland & Ellis, Kirkland Institute of Trial Advocacy, Instructor Judge (1999-2013, three times/year)

Notre Dame Law School, Adjunct Professor, Patent Litigation and Advanced Copyright Law/Entertainment Law (2012-present)

University of Notre Dame, 1st Annual Emerging Issues in IP Symposium, Presenter, Post Grant Reviews After the AIA (Ex Parte Reviews, Inter Partes Reviews, Post grant Reviews, Supplemental Examination and Derivation Proceedings) (2012)

American Bar Association, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Judge (2011-present)

IPO, Paper, Impact of the Misjoinder Provision of the America Invents Act (2011)

Houston Intellectual Property Law Institute, Speaker, Top Ten Developments in IP Licensing (2011)

Speaker, Civility and the Practice of Law (2011); Presenter, Designing Around Patents (2011); Vice Chair/Presenter, Ethical Issues Arising from Client Pitches (2010)

Illinois Math and Science Academy, Speaker, Protecting Your Ideas (2009)

Society of Automotive Engineers, Intellectual Property Law for Engineers (passim)

Kirkland & Ellis Annual Retreat, Speaker, Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation, Arbitration and Summary Jury Trials (2008)

Practicing Law Institute, Speaker, Key Issues in Patent Infringement Litigation (2008)

Kirkland & Ellis Advertising and Trademark Seminar, Speaker, New Developments and Recent Trends(2008), In the Court’s Court (2003)

Nevada Bar Association, Speaker, Green Claims in Advertising (2008)

John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Contemporary Problems in Computer Law (passim)

Practicing Law Institute, Chair and Speaker, Understanding Basic Copyright Law (1999-2004)

DePaul Law School, Speaker, Implications of Festo (2001)

IPLAC, Copyrighting Trademarks: Misuse or Fair Use: Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, CV 04-5443 (2012)

Irwin IP Cases of the Week