Kate is a creative problem-solver who secures and protects the intellectual property rights of innovative companies and individuals, with a focus on domestic and international patent prosecution. Clients rely on her extensive experience to help them develop and manage patent portfolios and provide opinions on the validity and enforceability of patents and freedom-to-operate issues. Drawing on her broad, hands-on knowledge of patent prosecution in the areas of medical device, mechanical, biotech, and electrical technologies, as well as previous experience with IP litigation, trademark, and copyright matters, she develops comprehensive IP strategies for clients across a range of industries. In addition to her legal experience, Kate has a strong technical background, including a degree in biomechanical engineering from Stanford University. In 2021, Kate was recognized by Profiles in Diversity Journal as a Women Worth Watching in STEM.
Kate enjoys contributing to the innovation process and prides herself on being open and candid about what patent law can and cannot do for a business. When a company or individual contacts her seeking IP protection for an idea, she makes an honest assessment of how she can provide the most value, including working with the inventor to determine whether or not a patent application is warranted at that stage of development. When a product or method merits protection, Kate develops comprehensive strategies that often include creative design-arounds to avoid infringing on issued patents and a thorough competitive analysis to identify go-to-market challenges and opportunities. She also identifies how a company can leverage its copyrights, trademarks, and other IP assets to further support business objectives.
Kate grew up in rural Iowa, where she developed an early interest in technology based on her experiences with her family’s farm. Her summertime job, which involved manually spraying weeds in the soybean fields with herbicide from a “bean buggy,” was made obsolete by the introduction of genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant crops that allowed quicker machine-assisted application. Witnessing the impact of that innovation helped Kate understand how technology can solve problems and improve peoples’ lives, setting her on a path toward a degree in engineering, as well as her current focus on patent prosecution.
- Developed a patent portfolio for a startup company
- Prepared and prosecuted patent applications relating to mechanical devices
- Drafted noninfringement opinions for medical device technology
- Counseled and advised an inventor during the creation of a virtual patent-marking website
- Obtained dismissal of a TTAB petition to cancel a trademark registration
- Performed essential litigation responsibilities for federal court cases, including drafting complaints and motions, preparing and responding to discovery requests, preparing infringement and invalidity contentions, and assisting with expert report submissions
Background and Credentials
While earning her bachelor’s degree at Stanford University, Kate completed two significant engineering internships: one in a photonics lab, where she worked on a laser coupler and biological fluids sensors, and another at 3M, where she collaborated with a team working with the Mayo Clinic to develop pathology lab equipment.
- Northwestern University (J.D., cum laude)
- Stanford University (B.S.)
- Biomechanical Engineering
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Publications and Presentations
- "3D Printing Innovation and Patent Protection During the Pandemic,” Med-Tech Innovation News, February 25, 2022.
- "Some U.S. Patent Law Basics for 3D Printing," 3Dprint.com, February 20, 2020.
- "PTAB Gives Hope For Patent Amendments Amid Reform Talk," Law360, April 2, 2018 (featured quotes).
- Kate Nuehring, Our Generation’s Sputnik Moment: Comparing the United States’ Green Technology Pilot Program to Green Patent Programs Abroad, 9 Nw.J. Tech. & Intell. Prop. (2011).
Community and Professional Involvement
Kate volunteers her time and provides pro bono legal counsel through the following organizations and committees:
- Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) – prepares and presents executive clemency petitions to the Illinois Prisoner Review Board on behalf of CGLA clients
- Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) – represents petitioners in adult guardian ad litem cases in Illinois state court
- Wills for Heroes Foundation – in partnership with the Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, assists veterans and first responders with essential estate planning documents
- Marshall Gerstein’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee
- Chicago Women in IP (ChiWIP)