Robert Unikel is a partner in the Chicago office of Paul Hastings and is head of the Chicago and Midwest Intellectual Property practice. Mr. Unikel has a diverse practice that includes litigating patent, trade secret, and trademark cases in a variety of industries, including digital media distribution, consumer products and brands, financial products and services, auto parts, and medical devices.
Mr. Unikel's extensive experience includes trying patent and trade secret cases involving varied products such as, a digital distribution platform for mobile "apps," a digital media store, thin film transistors, LCD panels, vascular stents, compiling computer software, auto parts, office products, baby strollers, minicell vaccines, anti-aging cosmetics, and casement window operators, and such diverse business methods as a method for tracking promotional mailings, a method for implementing consumer rewards programs, a method for configuring products through an electronic interface, and a method for automatically executing securities and derivatives trades.
Additionally, Mr. Unikel has unique experience in successfully defending against claims of false patent marking under 35 U.S.C. 292. He has managed disputes involving various well-known trademarks and has litigated numerous trade dress matters implicating product and packaging designs and non-traditional source indicators (including color and scent). Mr. Unikel has handled appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and to the United States Supreme Court. Further, he regularly counsels businesses and individuals on intellectual property development, protection, and licensing strategies.
Mr. Unikel received his law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, where he was a Notes and Comment Editor for the Northwestern University Law Review and recipient of the Lowdeb-Wigmore Prize for Legal Scholarship, as well as a finalist in the Julius H. Miner Moot Court Competition.
- The Legal 500, Intellectual Property – Trade Secrets (Litigation and Non-contentious Matters) (2021)
- The Legal 500, Intellectual Property – Patents: Litigation (Full Coverage) (2021-2022)
- Chambers USA, Intellectual Property – Illinois (2014-2022)
- IAM Patent 1000 – Illinois (2016-2021)
- IP Stars Patent Star – Illinois (2013-2015, 2017-2021)
- Managing IP Americas Awards, Outstanding Litigator – Illinois (2018)
Since 2014, Mr. Unikel has been ranked by Chambers USA for Intellectual Property: Illinois. In 2021, Chambers described Mr. Unikel as "an amazing trial lawyer who is calm, well spoken and organized," according to one source. Another noted, "He is a really capable and experienced litigator who is able to see the bigger picture in a case."
In prior years, Chambers lauded Mr. Unikel as:
- “A formidable litigator,” according to one source, while another describes him as a “superb lawyer who is very thorough and thoughtful in his preparation, and extremely articulate in court.” (2020)
- “A very effective advocate,” who has “ability to simplify complex subject matters making them accessible.” (2019)
- “A great presence in front of a jury” and “very good on his feet.” (2018)
Chambers has also praised Mr. Unikel for being "'a very sophisticated patent litigator' who is particularly recognized for his work on cutting-edge technology intellectual property issues emanating from Silicon Valley," with sources highlighting his "strategic ability, saying he 'has a good mind for the risk analysis of key exposure points and for creating multiple paths for resolution,' while also highlighting his courtroom abilities, saying that 'he is good on his feet' and 'a great presence in front of a jury.'"
Additionally, Intellectual Asset Management notes that Mr. Unikel "is a versatile litigator" who "litigates with aplomb in all fields of intellectual property" "with his impressive patent, trade secret, and trademark nous."
- Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, J.D. 1993
- Dartmouth College, B.A. 1990
- Member, Sedona Conference's Working Group 10 on Patent Litigation Best Practices
- Adjunct Professor of Law (Trial Advocacy), Northwestern University School of Law