Gary M. Ropski, Esq. - ADR Systems

ADR Systems


Gary M. Ropski, Esq.

Illinois Neutral Availability

Gary M. Ropski, Esq. is a senior mediator and arbitrator with more than 40 years of experience in intellectual property law.  Mr. Ropski has a well-known reputation in intellectual property law in Illinois as well as nationally.  Throughout his career, Gary’s clients, peers and colleagues have recognized his prowess as a trial and appellate lawyer in patent, trademark and copyright matters. Commentators describe him as able to ‘turn an esoteric subject into something easy to understand,’ and as an attorney, ‘overflowing with common sense.’ In arbitration and mediation matters, his extensive and varied experience in intellectual property litigation allows him to bring special insights to efforts to resolve disputes.

Types of Cases Resolved

  • Copyright
  • Intellectual Property
  • Patent
  • Trademark

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • 43-year legal career at Brinks, Gilson & Lione, 1976-2019;  President 2006-2011
  • Participated in more than 100 intellectual property cases, including several jury trials and almost two dozen appeals, including in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Successfully resolved intellectual property cases in both the district courts and the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a variety of technologies
  • Completed the six-day training program on “Mediating the Litigated Case” at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution of the Pepperdine University School of Law

Representative Cases

  • Affirmance of two summary judgments granted for defendants in Austin, Texas with minimal discovery expense; the plaintiff had been trying unsuccessfully to get the court to rule that electronic encyclopedia patents also covered automobile and hand-held navigation systems
  • Settlement of an ITC proceeding and district court action in Los Angeles relating to 14 aviation-related patents asserted to cover automobile and hand-held navigation systems
  • Obtained a preliminary injunction in Madison, Wisconsin to enforce two patents on lithium iron disulfide batteries
  • Successfully defended German and U.S. companies in ITC proceedings in Washington, DC and district court actions in Detroit, alleging infringement of 11 patents relating to automated mechanical transmissions, including summary judgment for the defendant companies on several patents and a jury verdict of non-infringement and invalidity on the remaining patents; also obtained the first known positive advisory opinion and enforcement proceeding result from the ITC for a respondent who redesigned a product
  • Settlement of a four-patent lawsuit in Los Angeles involving web-enabled controllers after various summary judgment motions in favor of our client
  • Successfully stopped infringement of the famous design trademark, service mark and trade dress for a puzzle design in district court and at the U.S. Border Patrol (Customs) in Washington, DC
  • Obtained summary judgment in Chicago dismissing all counts of copyright and trade secret infringement and breach of contract for computer software for debugging computer programs used in the insurance industry
  • Won an appeal in the Ninth Circuit affirming our client’s fair use of alleged trade dress in a heart-shaped cut-out in a metal figurine on issues of decorativeness, functionality and ornamental, non-trademark use
  • Settled a case in Chicago between major competitors relating to trade dress in the shape of the head of a cable tie and a related trademark
  • Obtained a consent judgment in Chicago after successful summary judgment motions thwarted a significant competitor’s product comparisons involving false statements about client’s trucks

Professional Activities and Awards

  • #1 Intellectual Property Lawyer in Illinois chosen by Leading Lawyers in 2018 and 2014
  • Ranked in the highest group of IP Lawyers in Illinois in Chambers USA:  America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Euromoney Guide to the World’s Leading Patent Law Practitioners
  • Ranked in the top rating for Appellate Law, Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating
  • Patent Litigation Lawyer of the Year, Chicago, The Best Lawyers in America
  • Leading Patent Practitioner, Intellectual Asset Management magazine’s “IAM Patent 1000:  The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners”
  • Dispute Resolution Section, Intellectual Property Section and Litigation Section, American Bar Association
  • Acting Judge, American Intellectual Property Law Association, Giles S. Rich Moot Court Competition
  • Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms
  • Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association, Arbitration and Mediation Committee, Patent Law Committee, Litigation Committee
  • Executive Committee and Board of Directors, Chicago and Northern Illinois Region of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly the National Conference of Christians and Jews), Law School Fund Board, Northwestern University School of Law
  • International Trademark Association (INTA) Trademark Mediators Network

Presentations and Publications

  • Author, “Civil Law, Uncivil Lawyers: Inequitable Conduct Before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” Patentrecht – Festschrift für Thomas Reimann
  • Author, “Round the Table with Top Managing Partners,” Diversity & the Bar, 10th Anniversary Edition
  • Author, “IP Asset Management and Litigation Costs,” Executive Counsel, Vol. 3, No. 3, Author, “En Banc Decision-Making in the Federal Circuit,”
  • Author, “Will An Admission of Patent Validity Preclude A Later Validity Challenge,” BNA Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal, Vol. 66, no. 1632 at 416-419; The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Vol. 11, No. 9 at 68
  • Author, “Civil law, uncivil lawyers,” An International Who’s Who of Patent Lawyers 7, Law Business Research Ltd.
  • Adjunct Professor, Patents and Copyrights, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Speaker, “Intellectual Property Litigation in the US: Different Approaches via District Courts or the International Trade Commission,” VPP, Leverkusen, Germany
  • Speaker, “The Business Case for Diversity: Reality or Wishful Thinking?” ABA Section of Litigation Annual CLE Conference, Chicago, Illinois
  • Moderator, “Comparison of International Competitiveness: What Works in the United States and What We Can Learn From Other Countries,” Federal Circuit Bar Association 2012 Bench & Bar Conference, San Diego, California
  • Speaker, “Comparison of Patent Litigation in the United States, Germany and Japan,” Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago, Illinois
  • Participant, Minority Corporate Counsel Association Diversity Roundtable Discussion, Washington, D.C.
  • This is a representative list of Mr. Ropski’s presentations and publications.  For more information, contact us at


  • J.D., Northwestern University School of Law, cum laude
  • B.S., Carnegie-Mellon University


  • Illinois State Bar
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • Illinois Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Federal Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office



I have practiced intellectual property law for 43 years and have been a mediator and arbitrator since 2013. Many attorneys have mediated or arbitrated a case with me.

The disclosures listed above will not affect my neutrality in this dispute.

"Judge Axelrood was outstanding with my client. During the mediation, he explained things clearly and used examples that my client – an older individual – could easily understand. Judge Axelrood made the process easier for my client and me. He was instrumental in settling this case."

Steven Gleason, Esq.Nilson, Stookal, Gleason & Caputo, LTD.