Robert L Stearns

Robert L. Stearns

Member and Patent Prosecution Practice Group Chair

Education & Credentials


Michigan Technological University

B.S., 1987

Michigan State University College of Law

J.D., 1991

Bar Admission

  • Michigan1991


Representative Clients

  • Federal-Mogul Corporation
  • TomTom International BV

Prominent Assignments

Lead outside patent counsel for multi-billion dollar global supplier of automotive, light commercial heavy-duty truck, agricultural, marine, rail and industrial markets.

Patent counsel for several smaller companies and individuals as well as foreign patent firms, handling their US patent filings and coordinating with an extensive network of foreign firms to secure patents abroad.

Managing thousands of active domestic and foreign patent matters for clients on an ongoing basis.

Obtained hundreds of US and foreign patents involving a wide range of technologies including automotive components and systems, materials and processes, metal casting and various consumer goods.

Extensive hands-on client counseling to identify and protect important inventions; helping clients understand and navigate the coverage of competitor patent portfolios to avoid infringement and identify successful design around solutions that allow them to compete; and assisting clients in closely aligning their patent portfolios with their key business interests and markets to maximize the effectiveness of their patents in order to help carve out, protect and grow their market share.

Prosecuted and secured several critical patents for clients in highly competitive markets which successfully locked their competition out of the market or forced their competition to compete with higher-cost alternatives.

Highly successful before the US Patent Office Board of Appeals and Interferences in overturning bad rejections by patent examiners in important patent cases.

Strategic client counseling and support in several patent litigation matters involving enforcement and defense of claims of patent infringement, including assisting major client in high-profile multi-million dollar patent litigation involving a key product and successfully obtaining dismissal of suit by summary disposition.

Professional Involvement

  • Registered to Practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office
  • Saginaw Valley Patent Law Association, Past-president and secretary
  • AIPLA, Member
  • State Bar of Michigan, Intellectual Property Law Section
  • American Society for Metals (ASM)


  • Early employment in automotive and metal casting industries as a metallurgical engineer
  • Part time in-house assistance to IP counsel of major client
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