Appellate litigator Frank Porcelli has been achieving IP appellate wins in high-stakes, precedent-setting cases for decades and is a co-chair of Fish’s Appellate Group.
Frank has argued 20-plus intellectual property appeals, including several of the most important patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret appeals of the 20th and 21st centuries and has played a critical role in 30 other IP appeals. Frank argues cases for those fighting to overturn unfavorable rulings and those seeking to have their victories finalized on appeal. His cases run the gamut of technologies from chemistry to pharmaceuticals and medical devices to electrical and computer inventions.
Frank’s successes include some of the highest-profile and most legally significant patent and copyright appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit since that court’s inception in 1982. He led two victorious en banc appeals at the Federal Circuit that established important patent law principles regarding the doctrine of equivalents and willful infringement. He also successfully argued an appeal that established reasonable royalty as a measure of federal copyright “damages” in the Federal Circuit and a trade secret appeal in the Supreme Court of Connecticut that effectively established the right to a jury trial in trade secret cases brought under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act that seeks damages.
When cases are particularly complex, involve novel issues, or require defining or clarifying the law, clients are confident in Frank’s tremendous knowledge of patent law and policy, his mastery of the facts, and his exceptional advocacy skills. He also excels in assessing cases at trial, distilling what is most important, and advising on the strongest arguments to overturn a loss or preserve a win on appeal.
In his spare time, Frank is an avid Latin and ballroom dancer and enjoys watching and listening to opera.
Representative appellate cases
Johnson & Johnston Assoc. v. R.E. Service Co (Fed. Cir. 2002 en banc). Obtained complete reversal of a jury verdict against R.E. Service Co. after Fish was retained to take over the appeal from trial counsel. In its 12–1 en banc decision, the Federal Circuit established the doctrine of dedication as a limitation on the doctrine of equivalents.
Bard Peripheral Vasc. v. W.L. Gore & Assocs.(Fed. Cir. 2012 en banc) .After Fish was retained to take over the appeal after the panel decision, obtained en banc vacatur and remand to panel of $206 million willfulness penalty against our client W.L. Gore. Panel then held that the objective prong of the Seagate willfulness test is a question of law for the district court, not the jury, and vacated and remanded to district court for reconsideration.
3M v. Johnson & Johnson Orthopedics (Fed. Cir. 1992). Represented 3M in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota against Johnson & Johnson Orthopedics on four 3M patents covering polyurethane-impregnated fiberglass orthopedic casts for setting bone fractures. 3M also alleged a trade secret violation relating to the polyurethane impregnant. The Minnesota district court ruled in favor of 3M, finding all four patents valid and infringed, three of them willfully, and theft of 3M’s trade secret, and doubled the patent damages award for willfulness, for a total award of $129 million. Successfully defended the judgment on appeal before the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992. This case represented the largest willful infringement penalty on record ($53 million) as of 1990. For the first 25 years of the Federal Circuit, it remained the largest known district court damages award in a patent case to be affirmed by the Federal Circuit. The case was featured in articles in Time and Business Week.
Gaylord v. United States (Fed. Cir.2012). Obtained favorable decision that established reasonable royalty as a measure of federal copyright “damages” in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the Federal Circuit.
Becton, Dickinson v. Tyco Healthcare (Fed. Cir.2010). Obtained outright reversal of a $58 million jury verdict based on erroneous claim construction and lack of substantial evidence of infringement of patent on hypodermic needle guard.
Evans v. General Motors (Conn. 2006). In trade secret case, obtained 5-0 reversal in the Supreme Court of Connecticut of trial court’s denial of clients’ demand as plaintiffs for jury trial. Ruling effectively set a national precedent for the right to jury in cases under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) seeking damages. UTSA has been adopted in 48 states.
Raytheon Company v. Roper Corporation (Fed. Cir.1983). Defended Roper Corporation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in a patent declaratory judgment action brought by Raytheon involving a combination microwave and conventional range. Took appeal, and in a seminal decision the Federal Circuit reversed the lack of utility and lack of enablement (inoperativeness) invalidity judgment while upholding the lower court’s finding of infringement. On remand, district court awarded $2.5 million in damages to our client; case subsequently settled favorably.
Alcide Corp. v. Ecolab and Advanced Bovine Sciences Global (Fed. Cir. 2000). Represented Ecolab and Advanced Bovine Sciences Global (ABS Global) in a patent infringement suit brought by Alcide Corp. of Seattle in the Western District of Wisconsin. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb granted summary judgment of non-infringement under the doctrine of equivalents for Ecolab and ABS Global with respect to Alcide’s U.S. patent on a gelled teat dip to prevent bovine mastitis in cow udders. This decision followed a favorable Markman construction of the patent claims and a grant of partial summary judgment of no literal infringement shortly after the Markman hearing. Obtained affirmance of the judgment by the Federal Circuit for our client.
Frink America, Inc. v. Champion Road Machinery Ltd (2nd Cir. 2002). Represented Champion Road Machinery, Ltd., in a trade secrets and related tort action brought by Frink America, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. The plaintiff had accused our client of stealing drawings and instructions for making snowplows. The court granted summary judgment in favor of Champion Road Machinery, Ltd. The Second Circuit affirmed in part, but remanded the sole issue of conversion for trial. After trial and a verdict in favor of Frink, the district judge granted JMOL on the sole remaining claim for our client, which was affirmed by the Second Circuit in 2002.
Sunny Fresh Foods, Inc. v. Michael Foods, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2005). Secured full affirmance by the Federal Circuit of a jury verdict of noninfringement of liquid egg pasteurization process in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota won by another firm in favor of client Sunny Fresh Foods (a Cargill company). The plaintiffs had sought over $160 million in damages but ultimately obtained none.
Recognitions & awards
Guide to the World's Leading Patent Law Experts
Best Lawyers in America
AV Preeminent Lawyer
Lawyer of the Year
Top Rated Litigator
American Lawyer (AmLaw)
IAM Patent 1000
Leading Lawyer in America
Chambers USA: Nationwide
Laywer of the Year
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Top 20 Federal Circuit Appellate Advocates
World's Leading Patent Litigators
Best Lawyer in America for Intellectual Property Law
American Lawyer (AmLaw)
International Whoâs Who of Patent Lawyers
Top 25 Patent Experts in the USA
Legal Media Group
Top Lawyers in Massachusetts
Linn Alliance of Intellectual Property American Inns of Court, particularly in Boston (member of Founders Committee, Executive Committee, and a Master of the Inn), New York City (Conner Inn), and Washington (Giles Rich Inn); formerly active in Northern District of New York (IP & Innovation Inn) and Philadelphia (Ben Franklin Inn)
Federal Circuit Bar Association (1996 to present)
Federal Circuit Historical Society (since its founding in 1999 to present)
Hispanic National Bar Association (2019 to present)
President of the Boston Patent Law Association (1990-1991)
Committee Chair, AIPLA Chemical Practice Subcommittee on Legislation (1987-1989)
Committee Chair, AIPLA Chemical Practice Subcommittee on Judicial and Administrative Decisions (1989-1991)
Committee Chair, AIPLA Chemical Practice Committee (1991-1992)
Pro bono activities
Led Federal Circuit appeal in Gaylord v. U.S. on copyright damages
Education & teaching positions
Co-instructor for Patent Litigation Workshop at Harvard Law School, Spring 2013-Spring 2015, with Bob Hillman and Larry Kolodney of the Fish Boston Office, and Spring 2016 and Spring 2018 with Larry Kolodney and Chris Dillon of the Boston office.
Instructor on Pharma and Biotechnology Litigation in Patent Resources Group Continuing Legal Education course “Pharma & Biotech Strategies” (2000 to 2010)
The Harvard Law School John A. Reilly Visiting Professor from Practice in Intellectual Property Law (academic years 1998-1999 and 2000-2001) and Visiting Professor of Law from Practice (academic year 2001-2002), teaching Patent Law