John S. Goetz is a first-chair trial lawyer with experience that includes jury trials, bench trials under the Hatch-Waxman Act, and evidentiary hearings at the U.S. International Trade Commission. In addition to helping his clients solve problems in the courtroom, John also provides strategic counseling services (including patent-portfolio development, management, and assessment) to his clients, leveraging Fish’s deep technical bench. 

Having been to trial nearly twenty times since his first cross-examination almost two decades ago, John’s practice encapsulates a vast range of technical disciplines from pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical devices to computer hardware, software, wireless communications, industrial chemicals, semiconductor manufacturing, micro-electro-mechanical systems, and consumer products. John's primary focus is patent cases, although his trial practice extends to trademark, trade dress, and trade secret cases as well. Versatility defines his practice as he represents both plaintiffs and defendants.  

John is well versed in initiating cases from scratch or seamlessly taking over from prior trial counsel. In either case, John focuses the efforts of his team on actions designed to win the case at trial and through appeal. Known for his tenacity in driving a case to a win and his ability to navigate effectively even the most complex cases, John brings a highly strategic, organized, and thoughtful approach to all his matters. He takes pride in leveraging the talent and technical know-how of his teams to achieve the best possible outcome for his clients.  

Beyond his trial practice, John provides his clients with strategic patent counseling services, drawing from his extensive trial experience and deep understanding of patent strengths and vulnerabilities. He guides both established and early-stage companies in formulating creative and successful strategies to safeguard and leverage their intellectual property assets. He also regularly counsels his clients on how to identify marketplace opportunities, create valuable IP, assess IP risks, and move their businesses forward with confidence.   

John was born and raised in Kansas City. After attending the University of Notre Dame on an ROTC scholarship, he served for four years in the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division (Fort Stewart, Georgia), where he earned the rank of captain. After his military service, John worked full-time as a patent examiner with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office while attending law school in the evenings at the George Washington University Law School. Also while in law school, John served as a judicial intern for the Honorable Randall R. Rader of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  

John enjoys reading and lives with his wife and four children in New Canaan, Connecticut. 

Professional associations

George Washington University Law School, Advisory Board 

Pro bono activities

John has an active pro bono practice. He was awarded the 2009 Harriet D. Goldberg Fair Housing Award for his pro bono work with Westchester Residential Opportunities combating discrimination and predatory lending.