Mark A. Watkins is co-chair of the firm's Intellectual Property & Technology Team and Business Practice Area development chair. Mark focuses his practice in the areas of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, and intellectual property litigation. He also holds a degree in pharmacy, was a practicing pharmacist for nearly seven years, and is a member of the American Society for Pharmacy Law.
Mark has experience in the formulation of company strategies for the procurement and protection of intellectual property rights. He develops company policies concerning protection of trade secrets, internal and external invention disclosure policies, inventor recognition programs, non-competition, confidentiality, and non-solicitation policies and agreements for employees and third parties. He develops and manages systems for periodic review of company IP portfolios (domestic and international). Mark also has experience in evaluation and counseling concerning intellectual property rights acquired or divested in mergers and acquisitions; and in evaluation, counseling, and negotiations on behalf of clients concerning transfer of intellectual property rights, including assignments and licenses.
Mark has prosecuted and defended a wide range of intellectual property matters including patent, trademark and copyright infringements, and misappropriation of trade secrets; primary responsibility for management of international trademark procurement and enforcement efforts, including coordination of worldwide litigation docket; participation in proceedings before the U.S. Customs Service for protection of trademarks and copyrights; and expert witness testimony on patent procurement and litigation issues.
While Mark has expertise in all facets of IP protection, he has developed a niche in the entertainment industry, representing a variety of celebrities and athletes ranging from well-known to as-yet-undiscovered talent. He is particularly noted for his work in the areas of product endorsement, brand licensing, development and protection of celebrities as brands, as well as in the enforcement of trademark and brand infringements worldwide. In addition to the individuals that he represents, Mark serves as outside IP counsel for many Fortune 1000 companies throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Mark is an active member of the International Trademark Association (INTA), where he is currently contributing to its Law Firm Committee as team leader for the Disaster Preparedness/Business Continuity Project. He is a former president of the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association, and has guest lectured for a major law school on patents, trademarks, copyrights and IP licensing.
Mark’s community involvement includes his current service as second-term president of the board of trustees for the Community Hall Foundation, which operates the Akron Civic Theatre, a 1929 Loews atmospheric theatre in downtown Akron. He is also a member of the 2004-05 Class XXI of Leadership Akron.
Mark is ranked in the 2013 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business. He is also listed in the 2008-13 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, and Trademark Law, and in the 2005-13 editions of Ohio Super Lawyers. He is AV® Preeminent™ Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, its highest available rating for legal ability and professional ethics.