Merchant & Gould

2023 Top Attorneys
Cybersecurity Law
Intellectual Property/Trademarks
Patent Law
Privacy law

When you’re working on the next big idea, the last thing you want to worry about is someone else profiting off your inventiveness. For that, and for all other manner of legal issues related to intellectual property, you have the law offices of Merchant & Gould, an innovation and technology law firm founded in 1900. Merchant & Gould offers comprehensive support for America’s innovators, brand owners, and authors, whether you’re a Fortune 500 corporation or a backyard tinkerer, leaving you free to pursue your creative work. 

“Merchant & Gould is an IP boutique with a particularly deep bench across seven offices,” says John Winemiller, the managing partner of the firm’s Knoxville office. “Most of our one hundred attorneys and patent agents have technical backgrounds, and our patent prosecution group has particular strength in electrical, mechanical, and life sciences fields.” He adds that the firm’s trademark group is a national leader in filings, and the litigation group handles all manner of IP lawsuits in jurisdictions across the country.

“We do extremely high-level work for clients with all types of technology needs, across all industries,” says partner Ian McFarland. “Our teams have the training and real-world experience to understand not just the law, but also the science and technology underlying our clients’ legal needs.” McFarland exemplifies this. In addition to his law degree from the University of Tennessee, McFarland has a degree in Biological Science from the University of Missouri and has experience working with clients in a variety of fields, from pet products to industrial safety equipment. “Chances are, someone at the firm will be a subject matter expert in whatever issue the client has,” McFarland adds. 

Winemiller, a former music history professor with an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, came to IP law through his academic research on copyright law and the creative process. “I think intellectual property is one of the most rewarding areas of law,” he says. “It’s immensely satisfying to help people who are driving the American engine of ingenuity protect their ideas in the marketplace.” 

Helping drive that engine takes many forms for the attorneys at Merchant & Gould. But they are equipped to handle whatever comes their way. While big court cases may be flashy, McFarland says that it’s not all about litigation. “A lot of our victories come on a smaller, more day-to-day level,” he says. The goal is to ensure clients’ work-product is so well-protected that they should never need to appear in court. But if push comes to shove, these veteran attorneys don’t back down from a fight. Both Winemiller and McFarland have substantial litigation experience and the backing of a world-class support team. “We’ve got the best people,” says McFarland. “We have the smartest group of people I’ve ever encountered, and the most enjoyable team to work with and be around.” 

Merchant & Gould has offices across the United States and handles cases from all over, but Winemiller’s and McFarland’s connection to the Knoxville community is of particular importance to them. The local office has been in operation since 2008, and all its Knoxville attorneys are graduates of University of Tennessee College of Law, where both Winemiller and McFarland serve as adjunct professors. Other UT law students work at the firm as summer associates and clerks. The firm’s commitment to Knoxville carries over to volunteer work. For example, Winemiller serves on the boards of several area nonprofits, including the Big Ears Festival and the Knoxville Symphony, as well as Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation. 

The firm is growing its Knoxville office; by the end of the year, the office will have almost doubled in size, demonstrating its commitment to the Knoxville market. “What’s most exciting about this is that we’ve got a group of young, super smart, innovative and entrepreneurial lawyers dedicated to the practice of intellectual property law,” Winemiller says. Couple this with the experienced attorneys who have been working in the IP field for decades and you have a team ready to serve clients across Tennessee and across the country. 

 “We’re all about protecting our clients’ brands, inventions, and creative works; helping them get positioned to monetize their intellectual property; and enforcing their rights against people who would seek to exploit their IP unfairly,” Winemiller says. “Our clients are awe-inspiring. Their inventiveness and creativity are what make our country work.” 

800 S. Gay Street, Suite 2150 | Knoxville, TN 37929 | (865) 380-5960

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