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David Hanson is an experienced litigator who believes persuasive storytelling is the key to winning trials. As a shareholder and former co-chair of Reinhart’s Litigation Practice, he translates complexity into clarity to ensure lay juries and judges fully understand his client’s position. Dave handles patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret cases as well as Taft Hartley and ERISA litigation, including withdrawal liability matters. According to Chambers USA, one of the nation’s leading attorney peer review services, “He is very intelligent and a great litigator."

His nationwide practice spans many industries, including engineering, mechanical and electrical technology fields. Dave has represented clients involved in materials handling, mining, cloning and gene sequencing, construction, manufacturing and various consumer product industries. He partners with clients to understand how technical and intellectual assets drive their business and their position in the competitive landscape.

Dave is skilled presenter and confident speaker with first-chair presence. His trial strategies are pragmatic, straightforward and consider long-term costs and benefits beyond the immediate dispute. He’s also creative in resolving conflicts short of trial when it makes good business sense. Dave continually hones his litigation and teaching skills while investing in others:

  • As an Adjunct Professor at Marquette University Law School since 1997, Dave developed the IP Litigation Workshop, an upper-level course covering all facets of a patent case from investigation to trial.

  • As a guest lecturer at Northwestern University Law School, Dave participates in mock trial exercises for Masters of Science in Law students as part of the course, “Communicating Scientific Information: Technical Professionals and Expert Witnesses.”

  • Leading Reinhart’s Associate Trial Skills training program, which uses NITA-style forensic exercises Dave created. He also teaches the firm’s annual writing skills workshop.

  • Speaking often, combining substantive legal topics with his interests in design and visual learning to create memorable presentations. Recent talks include “Trends in Patent Royalty Damages” and “Intellectual Property and the Professional Engineering Firm.”

  • As an AAA arbitrator, Dave was retained by two national firms to preside over a dispute over the scope of an inventorship contract.

  • As an expert witness, Dave was retained by a large peer firm to give opinion testimony on the reasonableness of attorney fees in a patent infringement case.

Away from the office, David enjoys spending time with his family and reading, playing trumpet in a local brass ensemble, and outdoor activities like boating, hiking and camping.

Education

  • J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
  • B.A., with honors, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Economics with mathematical emphasis and Political Science)

Bar Admissions

Wisconsin

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Matters

  • Won federal jury trial vindicating personal reputation of scientist against claims of trade secret misappropriation in cloning technology case

  • Won federal jury trial and six-figure fee award for manufacturer of collectibles in copyright infringement suit against importer and reseller

  • Won federal court trial and near-seven-figure fee award representing inventors of patented steel building components in bet-the-company inventorship dispute

  • Represented global mining equipment manufacturer in “clash-of-titans” patent and trade secret suit, reaching settlement

  • Successfully policed client’s two federally protected trademarks for ultrasonic cleaning equipment

  • Successfully policed client’s federally protected trademark for physical therapy services

  • Represented publicly traded toy and entertainment company in copyright dispute with freelance photographer

  • Won six-figure award as appointed pro bono counsel in Section 1983 prisoner civil rights case

  • Won summary judgment defeating claim of false patent marking for manufacturer of well-known child’s toy

  • Successfully argued before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in Washington, D.C.

  • As a Public Service Special Assistant District Attorney “on loan” from the firm to Milwaukee County, tried nearly two dozen criminal jury and bench trials

  • Served as local counsel, including at jury trial, in patent cases in both the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin

Honors & Affiliations

Honors

  • Best Lawyers in America 2021 "Lawyer of the Year" (Litigation - Intellectual Property)

  • Benchmark Litigation: Wisconsin Litigation Star

  • Best Lawyers in America (Litigation - Intellectual Property; Litigation - Patent; Advertising Law)

  • 2015 Reinhart "Pro Bono Attorney of the Year"

  • Selected for inclusion in Wisconsin Super Lawyers

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006 - 2020)

  • Wisconsin Top Rated Lawyer Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Affiliations

  • State Bar of Wisconsin (former chair of the IP Section)

  • American Bar Association

  • Eastern District of Wisconsin and Seventh Circuit Bar Associations (former liaison)

  • Western District of Wisconsin

  • Federal Circuit Court of Appeals

  • Northern District of Illinois (member of Trial Bar)

  • Literacy Services of Wisconsin (LSW) (former Board President and member 2009-2019)

  • Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee (former Board member, 2006 to 2014)

  • Academic tutor to at-risk middle school students in Milwaukee’s inner city

  • Law Review, University of Wisconsin Law School)

News & Insights

Presentations

  • “Your Move: Motion Practice and Real Brief Writing,” 20th Annual Eastern District Bar Association Meeting (May 2022)

  • “Wisconsin Defamation Law and News-Reporting Issues” (with Elizabeth Elving, April 2021)

  • “Toward 2025: Trends in IP Litigation,” Trending Topics in Business Litigation (December 2021)

  • “The Kovel Doctrine and Attorney-Client Privilege” (December 2020)

  • “Intellectual Property: News and Trends for the Non-Specialist,” Reinhart CLE Seminar (November 2016)

  • Participant in mock U.S. Supreme Court argument at the 11th Annual Door County IP Academy. Dave took the side of the Petitioners in SCA Hygiene v. First Quality, a case headed for the Supreme Court in the October 2016 term, arguing that the doctrine of laches should not be available to shorten the six-year damages period Congress wrote into the Patent Act. (July 2016)