Firm News & Announcements

Crowell & Moring Remembers Henry L. Brinks, Longtime Pillar of Nation’s Patent Bar

Chicago – June 29, 2022: Crowell & Moring is saddened to announce the passing of Henry L. Brinks, namesake shareholder emeritus of Brinks, Gilson & Lione, the premier 100-year old intellectual property firm that combined with Crowell in July 2021.

Henry joined Byron, Hume, Groen & Clement in the 1950s, which eventually was renamed Brinks, Gilson & Lione. He was 97 years old.

Henry was an elder statesman of intellectual property litigation, with a storied career that spanned more than five decades. He notched major victories in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals as well as numerous district courts. He was known as a forward thinker and persuasive advocate before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, where his experience as an examiner helped him make compelling arguments on behalf of clients.

Among his numerous achievements, Henry secured some of the first patents for the use of anti-skid devices in aircraft braking systems, similar to those still in use today. In the biotech industry, he secured the first patent for transgenic corn by winning a dispute with a foreign firm that claimed to hold prior rights in an earlier filed patent application, and the patent became the basis for other types of genetically-modified food products. 

“As a young lawyer, I had the privilege of working with Henry. He was a pillar in the IP community who fought hard for his clients in court,” said Gustavo Siller, co-chair of Crowell’s Technology & Intellectual Property Department and former president of Brinks Gilson. “Henry was a fierce litigator but was always a gentleman. He led many high-stakes cases always advocating hard for his clients while recognizing the importance of civility in the legal system.”   

Henry was born on December 22, 1924 in Grundy Center, Iowa. He was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis, in 2008. He is survived by his three children, his brother, and three grandchildren. Henry worked as a patent examiner at the USPTO while attending evening law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. As a young attorney, he and other attorneys, including his uncle Gerrit Groen (who worked at Brinks Gilson’s predecessor firm when Henry joined), founded the Christian Legal Society in 1961. 

A complete obituary can be viewed here.

About Crowell & Moring LLP

Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia. Drawing on significant government, business, industry and legal experience, the firm helps clients capitalize on opportunities and provides creative solutions to complex litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and corporate and transactional issues.  The firm is consistently recognized for its commitment to pro bono service and its programs and initiatives to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.  


Christine Elfmann
Senior Communications Manager
Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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