Barry F. Irwin


University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 1992

(magna cum laude)

  • Dean’s List each of last four semesters  

  • Am. Jur. Award: Federal Court’s Jurisprudence


University of Notre Dame

B.S. Aero. Eng., 1988


2018 Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois, Super Lawyers


2016 Leavens Award, Lawyers for the Creative Arts​


Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America


Named a "Leading Lawyer" in Intellectual Property by Leading Lawyers Network (2004-present)


Named a "Illinois Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics (2005-present)


Martindale Hubbell "AV Rated" and “AV+ Rated” in first years of eligibility and each year thereafter


Pro bono efforts featured in articles: Pro Bono Group Lends Helping Hand to Creative Arts (Chicago Daily Law Bulleting 2010) and For Art's Sake (The Deal Magazine 2010)


Illinois; Indiana; District of Columbia; Nevada (inactive); U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Barry Irwin is the founder of Irwin IP. Barry has been litigating intellectual property and technology matters for 26 years. Barry began his legal career at a prestigious intellectual property boutique law firm.  Three years later, Barry joined one of the largest, most successful general practice firms in the world. There he practiced intellectual property litigation for 18 years, the last 14 as a partner, and the last 10 as an equity partner.  In addition to his active litigation practice, Barry is an Adjunct Professor at Notre Dame Law School ‒ he teaches both Patent Litigation and Advanced Copyright/Entertainment Law. Barry is also the Vice President of Lawyers for the Creative Arts. 

Barry is a first-chair litigation attorney handling high-stakes patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, restrictive covenant, unfair competition, false advertising, and antitrust matters, including:

  • an offensive patent infringement action, winning a $7.3 million jury verdict, and obtaining a permanent injunction protecting a $100-million-per-year product line;

  • a $500 million, multi-patent infringement defense, winning a complete defense jury verdict;

  • two related multi-patent, false advertising and unfair competition defenses, for a disruptive start-up against an industry-leading Fortune 500 company, winning summary judgment on patent claims, and the court announcing its intention to also grant summary judgment on the non-patent claims;

  • four different offensive trade secret/restrictive covenant matters, obtaining preliminary injunctions after multi-day evidentiary hearings, including a case of first impression where the court precluded a former sales representative from soliciting "high-volume" customers;

  • a trade secret defensive matter, obtaining summary judgment that 48 different allegedly misappropriated secrets were in the public domain, or not used by his client;

  • an offensive trademark infringement matter, obtaining a preliminary injunction after an evidentiary hearing;

  • a preliminary injunction preventing Customs and Border Protection from enforcing unlawful importation requirements against an alleged counterfeiter after an evidentiary hearing;

  • an offensive trade dress infringement matter, obtaining summary judgment of trade dress infringement, and summary judgment on each of the defendants' Walker-Process antitrust, unfair competition, interference with contract and trade libel counterclaims; and

  • an offensive breach of fiduciary duty action, obtaining over $16 million of settlements.


Barry has also supported numerous other litigations (as second-chair or supporting roles) that resulted in million dollar jury verdicts, complete defense verdicts for his clients, summary judgments, and injunctions being entered in favor of his clients.  

Furthermore, Barry is counsel and advisor on Patent Office review proceedings. For example, he successfully petitioned the PTAB to institute an IPR on a patent touted as the foundation for a billion dollar per year business despite that patent withstanding numerous other challenges brought by others, including prior Patent Office reviews and several federal court litigations.


Finally, Barry often works with clients in strengthening their intellectual property portfolios to protect key products, including broadening existing intellectual property portfolios and securing rights to third party intellectual property. 


In 2018, Barry was selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Illinois as part of its Super Lawyers selection process. Barry is one of only eight intellectual property attorneys on the list, and the only one from a small (under 75 attorney) intellectual property boutique.


In 2015, Barry received the rare distinction of being named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). LCA is an invitation-only honorary trial lawyer society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.  LCA Fellows are selected based on their legal excellence and accomplishments in litigation and superior ethical reputations. And, each year, for over a decade, Barry has been named a Leading Lawyer and a Super Lawyer. Barry also received Martindale Hubbell’s highest ratings (AV and AV+) in his first years of eligibility and each year thereafter.

Barry has been a supervising attorney for numerous pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at a juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination; a trial of an aggravated assault charge resulting in acquittal; serving as guardian ad litem; and dozens of entertainment law matters.

In 2016, Chicago-based Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a not-for-profit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to members of the various Illinois arts communities, awarded Barry with its distinguished service to the arts award.

For approximately 15 years, three times a year, Barry taught trial advocacy to Kirkland & Ellis associates participating in Kirkland's multi-day, immersive mock trial programs. 


Action Gaming, Activision TV, Alcon Laboratories, AMF Bowling, Aruze Gaming, Balance GFX, Covidien, CVS, F.P. Rosback, Fellowes, International Game Technology, Kapsch, LKQ, Massarelli Lawn Ornaments, Mark IV, Motorola, National Steel Car, Nobel Biocare, Oasis Financial, Office Depot, Opternative, Par-Kan, Peripheral Devices, Ranir, Shuffle Master, Smiths Medical, Swagway, Trading Technologies, U.S. Auto Parts, WorldGate Communications, Wowza Media Systems.


Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
Vice President, Lawyers for the Creative Arts
Board Member, Richard Linn American Inn of Court
Member, Trial Law Institute
Member, Intellectual Property Institute
Member, Diversity Law Institute
Member, Notre Dame Club of Chicago, Attorney Networking Committee, Core Committee
Vice President, DIL Corp. (2000-2015)

Commissioner, Burr Ridge Planning Commission


Northern District of Illinois (1992), Trial Bar (1999)
Northern District of Ohio (1994)
Central District of Illinois (1998)
District of Delaware (1998)
District of New Jersey (2000)
District of Minnesota (2001)
Northern District of Georgia (2004)
Northern District of Indiana (2005)
District of Nevada (2005)
Southern District of New York (2007)
Northern District of Pennsylvania (2010)
Northern District of California (2011)
Southern District of California (2013)
Western District of Tennessee (2015)
Central District of California (2015)
Western District of Michigan (2016)

U.S. Court of International Trade (2018)
Sixth Circuit (1994)
Seventh Circuit (1994)
Federal Circuit (1998) 


  • Notre Dame Law School, Adjunct Professor, Patent Litigation (Spring semester), Advanced Copyright Law (Fall semester) (2012-present).

  • Dayton School of Law, Program in Law and Technology Seminar, Trademark Enforcement at the Border: Customs Does Not Just Seize Counterfeits (2018)

  • LCA & The John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Registration Issues Critical to Copyright Litigation (2018)

  • School of the Art Institute, Speaker, Copyright Protection in the Digital Age (2018)

  • LCA, Presentation, Band Law for Bands (2017)

  • Intellectual Property Institute, Presentation, Preliminary Injunctions in IP Cases (2017)

  • LCA, Speaker, Emerging Issues in Music Law (2016)

  • The Presidents Forum, Speaker, Current Issues in IP Law (2016)

  • LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons for Musicians from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)

  • LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)

  • DuPage Community College, Copyright Law for Photographers (2014).

  • LCA Bootcamp, Music Law 101 (2014).

  • St. Joseph College, Will Copyright Survive in the Digital Age (2014).

  • Linn Inn, Vice Chair/Presenter, Section 203 Termination Proceedings Under the Copyright Act (2013); Speaker, Civility and the Practice of Law (2011); Presenter, Designing Around Patents (2011); Vice Chair/Presenter, Ethical Issues Arising from Client Pitches (2010).

  • Kirkland & Ellis, Kirkland Institute of Trial Advocacy, Instructor Judge (1999-2013, three times/year).

  • Kirkland & Ellis Technology Seminar, Speaker, USPTO Post Grant Review Proceedings (2013, 2012); Northern District of Illinois – The Newest Local Patent Rules (2010), Protecting Yourself from Willfulness (2008), Copyright v. Technology? (2002), Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000), Recent Developments in IP Law (1999).

  • IPLAC, Copyrighting Trademarks: Misuse or Fair Use: Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, CV 04-5443 (2012).

  • University of Notre Dame, 1st Annual Emerging Issues in IP Symposium, Presenter, Post Grant Reviews After the AIA (Ex Parte Reviews, Inter Partes Reviews, Post grant Reviews, Supplemental Examination and Derivation Proceedings) (2012)

  • IPO, Paper, Impact of the Misjoinder Provision of the America Invents Act (2011).

  • Houston Intellectual Property Law Institute, Speaker, Top Ten Developments in IP Licensing (2011).

  • American Bar Association, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Judge (2011-present).

  • Illinois Math and Science Academy, Speaker, Protecting Your Ideas (2009).

  • Nevada Bar Association, Speaker, Green Claims in Advertising (2008).

  • Kirkland & Ellis Advertising and Trademark Seminar, Speaker, New Developments and Recent Trends (2008), In the Court's Court (2003).

  • Kirkland & Ellis Annual Retreat, Speaker, Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation, Arbitration and Summary Jury Trials (2008).

  • Practicing Law Institute, Speaker, Key Issues in Patent Infringement Litigation (2008).

  • Society of Automotive Engineers, Intellectual Property Law for Engineers (passim).

  • Practicing Law Institute, Chair and Speaker, Understanding Basic Copyright Law (1999-2004).

  • John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Contemporary Problems in Computer Law (passim).

  • DePaul Law School, Speaker, Implications of Festo (2001).



Barry was with Kirkland & Ellis LLP from 1995-2014. He was promoted to Partner in 2000 and Equity Partner in 2004. Prior to his time there, Barry worked as an intellectual property associate at Brinks, Gilson & Lione from 1992-1995. During law school, Barry worked at the patent boutique firm Oltsch, Knoblock & Hall and the general litigation firm Jones, Obenchain, Ford, Pankow. He worked as a design and project engineer for Pratt & Whitney Government Engine Business before starting law school.


222 South Riverside Plaza Suite 2350

Chicago, IL 60606


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