Photograph of William H. Frankel

William H. Frankel


Bill Frankel is a co-chair of Crowell & Moring's Patent and ITC Litigation Group. Clients and colleagues alike recognize Bill for his extraordinary range of experience and his effective advocacy in intellectual property disputes. His litigation practice encompasses patent, trademark, copyright, trade secrets and unfair competition litigation; he also counsels clients on evaluating, protecting, procuring and transferring IP rights. Bill is known for helping clients navigate litigation with an eye toward achieving their business objectives, exploring strengths and weaknesses of all parties, and identifying cost-effective exit strategies and resolution opportunities. His maxim is, “I believe in continuous two-way communication with clients, remaining flexible and open to different ideas and approaches, and consciously trying to avoid unpleasant surprises.”

In over three decades of practice, Bill has earned a reputation for his uncompromising ethics and dedication to client needs. He has been honored as an Illinois Super Lawyer in Intellectual Property Litigation since 2005, has been named in Euromoney’s Guides to the World's Leading Patent and Trademark Law Experts, and has been recognized by Chambers USA, The Best Lawyers in America, and Who’s Who Legal, among other accolades. He is also a trained mediator, using his judgment and experience to help both clients and litigants resolve intellectual property disputes outside the courtroom.

Bill represents clients in leading cases in federal trial and appellate courts, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the International Trade Commission and alternative dispute resolution fora. His engineering background and communication skills have helped him distill complex fact patterns into compelling arguments involving medical devices, packaging materials, consumer and kitchen electronics, navigation systems, telecommunications, Internet and e-commerce matters, social media, software applications, automotive technologies, oil and gas drilling technologies, and cargo restraint apparatus.

Businesses with global aspirations rely on Bill for worldwide IP protection, as well as the coordination of legal strategies and litigation in multinational IP disputes. He has worked with clients throughout Europe, as well as in Canada, Israel, Australia, Japan and China, and has represented domestic and foreign companies before the International Trade Commission.

Prior to joining Crowell & Moring, Bill was a shareholder at Brinks Gilson & Lione, where he served as chair of its Copyright Group. Bill maintains an active copyright practice and he continues to handle a range of cutting-edge issues in this space.

Bill is a past president and active board member of Lawyers for the Creative Arts, an association that provides pro bono legal assistance to artists and arts organizations in the Chicago area.

Representative Experience

  • Bill regularly handles business-critical patent infringement litigation for a worldwide medical device company.
  • In a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Bill represented a worldwide offshore drilling contractor in a patent infringement case involving an offshore drilling rig. The case made two trips to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, and then settled on appeal to the Supreme Court after to the Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for review and comment.
  • Staying on the leading edge of copyright litigation, Bill has represented both a major airline and a consumer products company in cutting edge copyright disputes and in litigation with the record companies over the use of music in inflight entertainment and in videos posted on social media.
  • As part of his recent ITC practice, Bill represented a Chinese manufacturer and its U.S. subsidiary in a Section 337 case relating to microprocessors in wireless communication devices. After a five-day hearing, the ITC found the patent not infringed and refused to issue an exclusion order against the client.
  • In a record-breaking Illinois case, Bill and his colleagues won a $102 million jury verdict for a global food packaging company in a patent infringement case relating to heat-shrinkable plastic films. The case settled on appeal.
  • Bill co-authors a number of influential IP law publications, including Designing an Effective Intellectual Property Compliance Program (West Group); Copyright Litigation Strategies (ABA); Copyright Permissions (Copyright Committee of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago); and the Intellectual Property Law Handbook (Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education).


  • Tulane University, B.S. mechanical engineering (1977) cum laude
  • Tulane Law School, J.D. (1980) cum laude



  • American Bar Foundation
    Fellow, 2018
  • American Bar Association
     Patent, Trademark & Copyright Section
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • Seventh Circuit Bar Association
  • Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago
    Secretary, 2001-2003
    Board of Managers, 1999-2001
    Copyright Committee
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association
  • International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property
  • International Patent and Trademark Association
  • International Trade Commission Trial Lawyers Association
  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts
    President, 2004-2008
    Board Member, 1985-Present
  • Richard Linn American Inn of Court
  • The Copyright Society of the USA, Trustee


Admitted to practice: Illinois, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), U.S Supreme Court, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

View More

Longtime Copyright Office Leader Marybeth Peters Dead At 83 Law360 (September 30, 2022)
Press Coverage
The Best Lawyers in America 2023 Recognizes 54 Crowell & Moring Attorneys, Three Selected as Lawyer of the Year (August 18, 2022)
Firm News / Announcement
Chambers USA 2022 Ranks 70 Crowell & Moring Lawyers and 37 Practice Areas Among Best in U.S. (June 1, 2022)
Firm News / Announcement
"“Thank you . . . for trusting us!” Commercial Software Licensor Has a Valid Claim for Copyright Infringement Under 28 U.S.C. § 1498 for Government’s Over-Installation of Copies," (May 19, 2022). Contacts: Nicole Owren-Wiest, John E. McCarthy Jr., Jonathan M. Baker, William H. Frankel, Michael E. Samuels
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Intellectual Property for Government Contractors: What’s New for 2022?" Back Together Again for OOPS 2022, Washington, D.C. (May 16, 2022). Speakers: Jonathan M. Baker, William H. Frankel, Astor Heaven, and M. Yuan Zhou.
"Will the Supreme Court More Clearly Illustrate Fair Use?," Retail Law Alert (March 31, 2022). Contacts: William H. Frankel, Preetha Chakrabarti, Suzanne Trivette
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Unicolors v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz: A Copyright Dispute," The Patent Lawyer (February 3, 2022). Authors: William H. Frankel, Preetha Chakrabarti.
SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments In Unicolors v H&M Intellectual Property Magazine (November 9, 2021)
Press Coverage
SCOTUS Justices Brush Aside 'Troll' Concerns In Copyright Registration Case The National Law Journal (November 8, 2021)
Press Coverage
Justices Express Frustration Over Question Presented In Unicolors v. H&M, But Lean Toward Preserving Copyright Registrations IP Watchdog (November 8, 2021)
Press Coverage

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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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