Mark McKenna

Mark is an Associate Dean at the Notre Dame Law School, is a leading trademark scholar, and counsels RPL clients in trademark, copyright, and design matters.

Photo of Mark McKennaMy Approach

In addition to the work I do through Richards Patent Law, I am a full-time law professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School. My teaching experience shapes my approach to working with clients. As a teacher, my role is to distill complex information and help others understand the dimensions of a legal issue and the implications of various approaches to resolving that issue. I hope to bring that same value to client relationships. I enjoy helping clients develop strategies to deal with especially challenging IP issues. I focus on a client’s objectives and help them to think creatively about how to advance their long-term interests.

There are a number of things I do every day that can be particularly beneficial to my clients. As an instructor, I create frameworks to help students understand legal issues and how they relate to one another. And I have to communicate that complex information to my students in a format they can understand. As a scholar, I focus on the most difficult issues in the areas I’m writing about, and I think about the implications of different approaches to a given problem. To do that, I have to think systematically, not just about a particular issue.

Combining these roles, my perspective on IP law is uniquely “big picture.” I think a lot about how the different IP systems work together. I think, for example, about the relationship between trademark registration and litigation strategies. I think a lot about how each of the branches of IP law interact with the others. Most importantly, I make sure that I communicate my big picture perspective to my clients in a way that meaningfully shapes their approach to problem solving.

My Background

As noted above, I am a full-time law professor at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where my research and teaching focus on intellectual property, with a particular emphasis on trademark, copyright, and design. I have written extensively about a wide range of IP issues – ranging from trademark law to copyright, design patent, the right of publicity, and overlapping forms of IP protection – and have presented on those issues hundreds of times. I have filed numerous amicus briefs in complex cases in the United States Supreme Court and various federal appellate courts. I have also advised clients and/or consulted with law firms on trademark litigation and registration matters, and I have served as an expert witness in several cases.

Prior to entering academia, I was an attorney at Pattishall, McAuliffe, a boutique IP firm in Chicago that focuses primarily on trademark and advertising matters. There I litigated trademark, advertising, and copyright cases, had an active trademark registration practice, and counseled clients on a range of IP matters.

I graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in Economics, and from the University of Virginia School of Law, where Patrick Richards and I were classmates.