Robert W. Unikel has a diverse practice that includes litigating patent, trade secrets, 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 such varied products 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.


  • Google, Inc. and Motorola Mobility in various patent infringement/invalidity cases in the Eastern District of Texas, Northern District of California, and Northern District of Illinois. In September 2015, on behalf of Google and its Android partners, Mr. Unikel obtained an Eastern District of Texas jury verdict of non-infringement of five patents relating to digital rights management technology. The plaintiff in that case sought more than US$500 million in damages from Google and its Android partners.
  • Robert Bosch LLC in multiple trade secret misappropriation cases in the Northern District of Illinois and the Eastern District of Michigan relating to aftermarket brake products and electrical connectors.
  • SourceLink LLC in connection with patent infringement/invalidity action relating to claimed systems and methods for mail tracking using barcode scanning.
  • Wolverine Trading LLC and Wolverine Execution Systems LLC in patent infringement/invalidity actions relating to claimed methods for automatically executing securities and derivatives trades.
  • Solo Cup Co. in successful defense of precedent-setting qui tam action for alleged false patent marking of products under 35 U.S.C. §292.
  • OptionsXpress Holdings, Inc. in an infringement/invalidity action relating to patents claiming various electronic trading systems and methods.
  • OptionMonster Holdings, Inc. in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract action relating to development of electronic retail trading platforms.
  • Avery Dennison Corp. in patent infringement/invalidity actions relating to self-adhesive label assemblies.
  • Foley & Lardner LLP against allegations that it acted negligently and in breach of a fiduciary duty by missing an international filing deadline for a patent application claiming certain medical uses of minicell technology.
  • Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. in a patent infringement/invalidity matter involving thin-film transistor and LCD panel technology.


Managing Intellectual Property
Americas Awards – Outstanding Litigator: Illinois (2018)
"IP Star" Illinois (2013-2015, 2017)
Best Lawyers
Litigation – Intellectual Property (2016-2018)
Chambers USA
Intellectual Property (Illinois) (2014-2017)


  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law, 1993, cum laude
  • AB, Dartmouth College, 1990, cum laude
  • Illinois
  • US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • US District Court, Northern District of California
  • US District Court, Southern District of California
  • US District Court, Southern District of Indiana
  • US District Court, Southern District of New York
  • US District Court, District of Delaware
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia
  • US District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • Member, Sedona Conference's Working Group 10 on Patent Litigation Best Practices

  • Adjunct Professor of Law (Trial Advocacy), Northwestern University School of Law

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