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JD Supra Readers Choice Top Author 2017

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Martha J. Engel

p (612) 604-6470   f (612) 604-6870 
William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., 2008
Marquette University, B.S., Mechanical Engineering
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Martha Engel is an intellectual property attorney who advises inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and companies of all sizes on protecting their intellectual property assets. She helps clients guard their competitive advantage and add value to their business by obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing intellectual property rights. Martha counsels clients on all matters related to intellectual property, including clearing trademarks, drafting and prosecuting patent applications, obtaining trademark registrations, conducting due diligence reviews regarding intellectual property in corporate transactions, enforcing trademark rights, and assisting with patent litigation.  

Martha is passionate about well crafted, smartly designed, and cleverly branded products. She has drafted and prosecuted patent applications on a variety of technologies, including mechanical and manufacturing devices, materials, medical devices, sporting goods, packaging, electronics, and software. She has experience working with foreign associates to prosecute applications both in the United States and abroad. Martha also has experience preparing patent infringement opinions.

Martha’s patent prosecution experience in combination with her practical engineering background enhances her interaction with clients to efficiently meet their business objectives. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, Martha worked at a major motorcycle manufacturer and later designed custom gear-reducers at a well-known gear manufacturer in Milwaukee, WI. Her knowledge of continuous improvement methodologies translates to her work, where she is consistent, logical, and trustworthy. 

Raised in a marketing family with significant exposure to the industry, Martha adds value and effectively counsels clients interested in protecting and enforcing their trademark rights. Martha has extensive experience assisting craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries regarding the protection and enforcement of their trademark rights.

Martha volunteers her time on a regular basis to numerous boards and committees. She’s actively involved in the local American Society of Mechanical Engineers section, where she enjoys engaging other engineers and learning about emerging technologies in the industry. Martha is an avid golfer and tennis player. She also enjoys visiting museums, attending car shows and air shows, trying new restaurants, and spending time outdoors in Minnesota.

Bar Admissions
U.S. District Court of the District of Minnesota
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Representative Cases
Assisted with William Mitchell College of Law’s amicus curiae briefs filed in Tafas v. Dudas, 541 F. Supp. 2d 805 (E.D. Va 2008) and In re Bilski, 545 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2008)(en banc).

Honors & Awards

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota Intellectual Property Lawyers Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    • Chair, 2014-2016
    • Vice Chair, 2013-2014
    • Secretary, 2012-2013
    • Executive Committee Member, MN Section, 2011-present
    • Board of Directors, MN Section
    • Leadership Training Conference attendee, 2012
  • Pink Boots Society, member, 2015
  • City of Saint Paul Capital Improvement Budget Task Force, participant, 2013
  • Highland District Council
    • Board of Directors, 2011-2013
    • Transportation Committee, 2011-2013
  • Convent of the Visitation School Alumnae Association
    • President, 2012-2015
    • Vice President, 2011-2012
    • Board of Directors, 2008-present

Collegiate Honors

  • Law Review, William Mitchell College of Law
  • William Mitchell College of Law Dean’s List
  • Giles S. Rich Intellectual Property Moot Court
  • Student Intellectual Property Association Executive Board member
  • William Mitchell College of Law IP Clinic development committee
  • Marquette University Dean’s List

Articles & Presentations
Faculty. "Brewery and Distillery Law." National Business Institute. Video Webcast. 11 December 2017.

Speaker. "Craft Beer, Distillery and Liquor Law: The Ultimate Guide." National Business Institute. National Webcast. 16 September, 2016. Rebroadcast. 27 June 2017.

Qtd. Pekow, Charles. "Legislative Draught: Winning The Name Game." American Brewer, 33(1). Winter 2017.

Qtd. Eggert, Andre. "Who Owns A Brewer's Recipes?." Twin Cities Business Magazine. 1 March 2017.

Speaker. "Selecting, Protecting and Enforcing Winery Trademarks." MN Grape Growers Association: Cold Climate Conference. 18 February 2017.

Speaker. "Trademark Considerations." CiderCon 2017. 9 February 2017. 

Qtd. Aschbrenner, Joel. "Toppling Goliath avoids trademark battle and breaks into the Chicago market." The Des Moines Register. 30 December 2016.

Author. "Four Ts at Four: What a brewery needs to know about its IP before considering a sale." Craft Brewing Business. CBBMedia LLC. 17 October 2016.

Speaker. "Craft Beer, Distillery and Liquor Law: The Ultimate Guide." National Business Institute. National Webcast. 16 September, 2016.

Speaker. "Crafting a Beer Brand: Strategies for Effectively Protecting & Positioning Your Brand." 2016 Midwest Craft Brewers Conference. 1 August 2016.

Qtd. Eggert, Andre. "Lawmakers Consider Amending Angel Tax Credit Law." Twin Cities Business Magazine. 31 March 2016.

Speaker. "Trademarks & Intellectual Property." MN Grape Growers Association: Cold Climate Conference. 11-13 February 2016.

Qtd. Gallegos, Anna. "With Open Source Patents, Risks Run High for Tesla and Interested Automakers." LXBN. 23 June 2014.

Author. "Why Tesla’s Patent Move May Standardize Electric Cars, Not Patent Strategies." JD Supra. 16 June 2014.

Qtd. Gallegos, Anna. "Health Department Gets to Dumb Starbucks Before Trademark Violations Do."  LXBN.  11 February 2014.

Speaker. “Patents for Engineers.” American Society of Mechanical Engineers – MN Section. Plymouth, MN.  9 May 2012.
Press Releases

Client Alerts

Martha is an author for the firm's trademark and brand blog, DuetsBlog, and frequently rates as a top legal blogger on the LexBlog network. Follow the links below to read her posts.


Dedicated to bridging the gap between creativity and the law.

All That Glitters is Not One to Mold
Posted on Dec 14, 2017 by Martha Engel
To me, one of the most exciting aspects of intellectual property law is when patent law and trademark law intersect in product or packaging design.  Last week, I had the hono...

Tasting Notes: When Alcohol Goods and Services Descriptions Matter
Posted on Nov 22, 2017 by Martha Engel
On December 11, I will be presenting a CLE on Brewery and Distillery Law, discussing trademark issues affecting breweries and distilleries.  One of the topics that I’ll...

Long Trail Brewing Tells Burton to TAKE A HIKE!
Posted on Sep 13, 2017 by Martha Engel
What happens when a clothing manufacturer starts selling graphic t-shirts and sweatshirts, perhaps without doing a proper trademark search?  Sometimes a lawsuit. A trailblazi...

The End Times for Brands?
Posted on Jul 12, 2017 by Martha Engel
Several years ago I wrote a post about Selfridges’ “No Noise” campaign, featuring de-branded items from brands like Heinz, Clinique, and Levi’s.  In t...

THE SLANTS Decision Affects More than a 2(a) and an (R)
Posted on Jun 21, 2017 by Martha Engel
In Monday’s decision in the newly minted Matal v. Tam case, the Supreme Court affirmed the Federal Circuit decision that the Trademark Office’s refusal to registe...

On Flag Day, What Flag Can You Protect?
Posted on Jun 14, 2017 by Martha Engel
Today is Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the Stars and Stripes as our national flag 240 years ago.  Although maybe more obscure than Fourth of July or Memorial D...

Cover The Earth…With a Brand Refresh
Posted on May 10, 2017 by Martha Engel
I spent much of Saturday morning watching Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting.  I have previously made the pilgrimage to Om...

The Muddy Waters of Use for Beer Brands
Posted on Apr 12, 2017 by Martha Engel
The Craft Brewers Conference is an impressive affair. Between the number of brewers I’ve met from across the country as well as internationally, and the colossal trade ...

Pass the…Creative Work
Posted on Mar 15, 2017 by Martha Engel
I laughed when I saw yesterday’s Adweek article about Heinz adopting Don Draper’s “Pass the Heinz” pitch from the hit show “Mad Men.”  Giv...

Who Will Own New Designs in a Jetsons-like Era?
Posted on Feb 15, 2017 by Martha Engel
While on my flight back from speaking on trademarks & the alcohol industry at this year’s CiderCon, I listened to a fascinating TedTalks podcast on advancements in ...

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