Nick is a seasoned Patent attorney with 18+ years of legal experience and doctoral-level training in environmental/industrial microbiology. As a Shareholder in the Firm’s Intellectual Property Group, Nick focuses his practice on patent drafting, patent prosecution, managing international patent portfolios, and providing legal analysis and opinions, as well as brand protection and enforcement.
Prior to joining Maynard, Nick practiced in Alabama and Florida with national firms. His background also includes serving as Litigation Counsel with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office of the Chief of Counsel in Washington, D.C., and serving as an Associate Plant Examiner at the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Office.
Dedicated to intellectual property law and the advancement of biological science, Nick is active in the biotechnology industry serving as a board member of BIO Alabama, former Chair of the AIPLA Biotechnology Committee, and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cumberland School of Law.
Community & Professional
- BIO Alabama, Board of Directors
- American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), Biotechnology Committee Chair (2019-2021), Chair of Industrial Biotechnology Subcommittee and Genetic Resources/Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee (2019-present)
- Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), Member
- Cumberland School of Law, Adjunct Professor of Law (2016-present)
- Alabama/Mississippi Pro Bono Patent Program, Co-founder, Co-director
- Gulf Coast Intellectual Property Law Association, Life Sciences Committee Chair
- American Bar Association
- Birmingham Bar Association
- National Veterans Legal Services “Lawyers Serving Warriors” Project (Volunteer)
- Firehouse Shelter, volunteer server (2008-2021)
- Served as counsel to a national research university that needed protection for an unconventional method of dialysis. During the patenting process the method proved a great improvement over previous methods and was licensed to a global manufacturer and distributor of medical products. Patents were obtained in multiple countries with claims broadly covering the method, and created abundant royalties that are now the source of continuing research endowment created by the inventor. This was accomplished through frequent collaboration both with the inventor and other experts in the field.
- Served as counsel to two faculty members who founded an ag-biotech startup to develop their invention, a genetically modified peanut. After many years with another law firm, they had only succeeded in patenting the method of making the plant. Nick was able to obtain patent protection over the plant itself and its useful parts.
- Served as counsel to a small business with a highly successful exercise vehicle which discovered rampant trademark piracy and knockoffs on dozens of pages of a Chinese-based shopping website; resolved the situation with the website owner within a couple of weeks, resulting in the complete takedown of the infringing material without having to seek relief in the courts.
- Served as counsel to an international chemical company that developed an improved method of making high-performance plastics in a very crowded and valuable market. Through careful analysis of the prior art and rigorous collaboration with the client’s experts, multiple patents were obtained in the United States despite numerous issues with novelty and obviousness raised by the patent office.
- Served as counsel to a nonprofit research institute that sought patent protection for the use of several biomarkers in precision medicine applications. Their previous efforts to patent in the United States were stonewalled by the patent office under the Mayo v. Prometheus decision by the Supreme Court. After taking over the portfolio, Nick employed created approaches to successfully overcome the reluctance of the patent office, successfully obtaining several patents.
- Served as counsel to a surgeon who invented a new surgical approach to a common urinary problem and an implant useful in the method. A series of patents in the United States and several other countries were obtained covering the implant itself and method, compliant with restrictions in the United States and elsewhere on patenting surgical techniques.
- Served as counsel to a small innovative defense contractor that invented a fundamentally novel smoke generator. Despite the very distinctive nature of the invention, the patent examiner repeatedly refused to recognize its patentability. Rather than continue with amendments and arguments, Nick made careful use of the ex parte appeals process to ultimately obtain several patents for the smoke generator and improvements on it.
- Served as counsel to a land grant research university that invented a new method of making biofuel using a novel genetically modified microorganism, in which multiple genes in a metabolic pathway were transferred from an archaeon into a common lab bacterium. A patent was obtained with little argument despite the complex nature of the invention.
- Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" for Patent Law (2023)
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Copyright, Patent, and Trademark Law (2021-present)
- May 4, 2022: “Overcoming Challenges for Effective Antibody Patenting” CLE webinar sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
- April 13, 2022: “Strategies to Avoid Public Disclosures of Unprotected IP… and Damage Control Tactics for When Leaks Occur.” CLE webinar sponsored by Tech Transfer Central.
- March 14, 2022: “Using Intellectual Property to Protect Hobby Games.” Presentation to the Game Manufacturers’ Association Trade Show and Expo.
- December 20, 2021: panel presentation “Patent Protection and Bypass Continuation Applications: Evaluating Benefits and Risks, Navigating Priority,” Strafford CLE webinar
- October 29, 2019 Webinar “Cannabis Research and Commercialization: Best Practices for University IP Protection” Tech Transfer Central Webinar
- October 8, 2020 “Intellectual Property for the Biotech Startup” presentation to University of Maryland Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurs Fellowship.
- September 14, 2021 "An Overview of What Is and Is Not Patentable in Biotechnology" BIO Alabama Office Hours (live webinar)
- November 2, 2021 - "Diagnostics and Personalized Medicine Patenting Challenges...and How to Overcome Them" BIO Alabama Office Hours (live webinar)
- January 29, 2021 – Roundtable Discussion “Maximizing the Impact of Auburn Innovation through Resources for Entrepreneurship and Commercialization” Auburn Research Faculty Symposium
- “The U.S. Trademark Office Says Δ8-THC Is Illegal – Usually” National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 326
- “Court Decision Means that Antibody Patenting Is Not Getting Easier” National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 181, June 2020
- “Drug Patent Invalid Due to Poor Quality Translation” Patent 213 Blog, September 2020
- “Patenting COVID-19 Tests: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls” LexBlog July 2020
- “A Method of Diagnostic Sample Preparation Is Held Valid Under Mayo/Myriad, but the Diagnostic Test Was Held Invalid” PATENT 213 Blog, March, 2020
- “For the First Time, a Medical Treatment Patent Is Ruled Invalid Under Mayo/Myriad” PATENT 213 Blog, August 2019
- “Detecting Disease Is Not a ‘Tangible and Useful Result’ Eligible for Patenting” PATENT 213 Blog, August 2019
- “Eliminate Medical Treatment Patents? An Effort Approaches the Supreme Court” PATENT 213 Blog, July 2019
- “Congress Proposes to Fix Patent Eligibility” Intellectual Property News, June 2019
- “Difficulties Face Cannabis Patents, Trademarks, and Other Forms of Intellectual Property” Intellectual Property News, April 2019
- “The Hobby Games Industry Needs to Up Its Game to Fight Counterfeiting” Intellectual Property News, March 2019
- “Patenting Diagnostics and Biomarkers Six Years After Mayo” PATENT 213 Blog, November 2018
- “Rules for Patenting Genetic Biomarkers Are Updated in Roche v. Cepeid” PATENT 213 Blog, October 2018
- “A Rare Win for a Medical Testing Patent in Exergen Corporation v. Kaz USA, Inc.” PATENT 213 Blog, May 2018
- “A Wish for Nonexistent Cheap Drugs Is Not Standing to Sue” Intellectual Property News, May 2018
- “Overlooked Changes to Patent Cooperation Treaty Practice” Law360, May 2018
- “Are Combined Diagnosis and Treatment Still Patent-Eligible? One Court Says ‘No’” PATENT 213 Blog, April 2018
- “Drug Company Loses Patent Term for ‘Thinking Outside the Box’” Intellectual Property News, April 2018
- “Can I Sell My Invention? The Courts Confirm ‘On Sale’ Bar to Patenting” Intellectual Property Newsletter, March 2018
- “Marketing Genetically Engineered Crops Just Got Easier: CRISPR Deletion Mutant Crops May Face Reduced Regulatory Hurdles.” Law of Life Newsletter, Jan. 2017
- “Patent Strategies for Biotechnology Start Ups.” Presented to University of Maryland Ratcliffe Environmental Entrepreneurs Fellowship Weekend annually from 2014-2018
- “The Government Whittles Away at Life Sciences Patents.” Patent 123 Blog, May 16, 2016
- “Extraterritorial Effects of U.S. Patents.” Presented to Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA) Annual Meeting, Nov. 2015
- “Policy Shifts: Proposed and Enacted Changes to Patent Law.” Presented to Gulf Coast Patent Association Annual Meeting, Nov. 2015
- “Innovators Beware! Patent Reform Creates the New ‘Anti-Patent’ Troll.” Intellectual Property News, June 2015
- “The Patent Office Clarifies the Ban on Patenting Naturally-Derived Drugs and Other Products.” Law of Life Newsletter, December 2014
- “Intellectual Property Concerns for SBIR/STTR Recipients” Gulf Coast Patent Association Fall Meeting, 2014
- “The New Patent Policy on Natural Products Is a Game Changer for Universities and Life Sciences Companies” Intellectual Property News, 2014
- “Don’t Be Bullied by a Patent Troll” Intellectual Property Newsletter, 2013
- “The Upcoming Patent Cliff” Intellectual Property News, 2013
- “The Practical Lessons of Myriad” IP Law 360, 2012
- “The Supreme Court Reduces Patent Protection For Medical Diagnosis And Analysis” Life Science Alert, 2012
- “Protecting your IP with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act”, Issues in the Cyber World for Businesses (Seminar), Jackson, Mississippi, 2012
- "Supreme Court Update: Stanford v. Roche" Presented at the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, 2011
- “Patenting Your Green Edge: The Value of Intellectual Property in the Green Building Industry” given to the Green Focus Conference and Expo. 2010
- “The Requirements for Enabling Disclosure and Written Description in Patenting” given to Tennessee Biotechnology Association. 2010
- “Bilski vs. Kappos: The United States Supreme Court Speaks on Software and Business Method Patents.” Intellectual Property News
- The Potential Applications of Extremophilic Microorganisms to Pollution Management and Remediation in Thermophilic and Oligotrophic Systems. 2000. Doctoral Dissertation. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, New Jersey
- “Enhancement of Biodegradation of Pyrene by Mycobacterium sp. by Hydrophobic Solvents in the Presence of Soil and Hydrocarbon Sludge.” Poster. Presented with R. Bartha at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Los Angeles, California, 2000
- “Description of a Novel Strain of Thermophilic Fe(III)-Reducing Bacterium.” Poster. Presented with A. Slobodkin, J. Kirshtein, J. Wiegel and A. L. Reysenbach at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia, 1998
- "Chemolithotrophic Activity and Cell Growth in a Simulated Subsurface Microbial Ecosystem." Poster. Presented with T. O. Stevens at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting, Miami Beach, Florida, 1997
- Analysis of Bacterial Numbers and Mechanisms of Bacterial Adhesion in the Terrestrial Deep Subsurface. 1995. Masters Thesis. University of Maryland Press: College Park, Maryland
- State Bar: Alabama, Virginia, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Patent & Trademark Office