Jeanne Gills

Partner, Vice Chair of Foley & Lardner LLP's National IP Dept.; Member of Firm Management Committee

Foley & Lardner LLP



Member since:


Membership Type:


Jeanne M. Gills is a partner and intellectual property lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP and a member of the firm’s Management Committee. She also serves as vice chair of the firm’s national Intellectual Property Department focusing on Strategic Marketing & Business Development, and she previously served as vice chair of the Intellectual Property Litigation Practice.

Jeanne acts as lead trial counsel in complex patent, trade secret, trademark, copyright, and unfair competition litigation and appeals — including USPTO post-grant proceedings — in diverse industries ranging from electronics to biotechnology. Her trial experience includes “bet the company” cases with several hundreds of millions at stake, e.g., In re Certain Multi-Stage Fuel Vapor Canister Systems and Activated Carbon Components Thereof (Inv. No. 337-TA-1140) (ITC patent trial on automotive technology), TAS v. Cummins (jury trial on a license covering engine technology), and DeKalb v. Pioneer (jury trial on patents covering genetically engineered corn). Jeanne has likewise been lead counsel in over 25 PTAB proceedings, having handled IPRs, CBMs, and rare derivation proceedings, including defense of several PTAB decisions before the Federal Circuit (see e.g., IPR2013-00178 and IPR2013-00578).

Her litigation experience has dovetailed into counseling clients on global IP strategy, including work on the division of patent/technology assets for Kraft Foods’ 2012 split (into Kraft Foods and Mondelēz) and leading the IP side of M&A transactions, such as work on potential $4 billion acquisition in power technology space and recent $1.2 billion deal involving the creation on behalf of power technology companies two JV entities (one in the U.S. and one in Switzerland).

With her electronics background and given her attorney registration to practice before the USPTO, Jeanne’s broad-based IP experience also includes: counseling related to product configuration trade dress and use of color as a trademark; handling TTAB and UDRP matters; resolving copyright ownership disputes, particularly in the areas of computer software and associated documentation; handling contractual disputes concerning IP rights and the theft or use of IP by a company’s former employees, business partners and/or independent contractors; counseling clients on IP holding companies, including how to maximize value from an IP portfolio when certain assets are likely to be the subject of IP litigation; handling cases involving the intersection of trade dress, design patent, and utility patent protection for consumer and industrial products; and conducting discovery abroad throughout Europe, Singapore and Japan.


Jeanne has been recognized among: The Best Lawyers in America© (Food & Beverage, since 2015, and Litigation – Intellectual Property, since 2017) given her representation of many food/beverage and consumer products companies and work on IP matters; IAM Patent 1000 – The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners (since 2012); Benchmark Litigation’s Local Litigation Star (2018); Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation (2017); Managing IP’s Top 250 Women in IP (2013) & IP Stars (since 2013); The Legal 500 US (Patent/Trade Secret Litigation, 2007, 2010; Patent Transactional, 2014-2015); Leading Lawyers (Patent Law, 2012-2013); LawDragon 3000 for IP (2011); Leadership Excellence in the Law Award (National Diversity Council, 2014); the country’s “Top Minority IP Partners” by AIPLA & MCCA (2003); the Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 Award by NBA & IMPACT (2010); the less than 5% of Illinois attorneys selected for inclusion in Illinois Super Lawyers® (2005-2006, 2008–2018); the notable lawyers in Who’s Who in Black Chicago (1st/3rd eds); and by Crain’s Chicago Business’ (2017) inaugural list of “Chicago’s Most Influential Minority Lawyers.” In addition, Jeanne has been Peer Review Rated as AV Preeminent®, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system. An “AV” rating is given to those attorneys with very high to preeminent legal ability and ethics and is a testament to the fact that Jeanne’ peers rank her at the highest level of professional excellence. She was named among the 2015 Most Influential Black Lawyers by Savoy.*


  • The University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1994)
  • Michigan State University (B.S., with honors, electrical engineering, 1991


Professional Memberships

Jeanne has previously served on the firm’s Strategic Planning, Diversity, and Recruiting Committees and was the former chair and founder of the firm’s African-American Attorneys Affinity Group. She is a member (or participant in the activities) of several bar associations (or IP sections thereof), including AIPLA, ABA, INTA, CBA, NBA, CCWC, MCCA, IPLAC, BWLA, and CCBA. She is a staunch champion of diversity in the legal profession and is a founding member of the Black Patent Network and the Chicago Black Partner Alliance.

Affiliations and Community Involvement

Jeanne serves as a director with the Chicago State Foundation Board. She previously served on the board of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform and previously served for six years on the Evening Associates Board of the Art Institute of Chicago and mentored high school students through Links Unlimited.


Jeanne is admitted to practice in Illinois, the Federal Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and various federal district courts, in addition to the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

*The Illinois Supreme Court does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and no award or recognition is a requirement to practice law in Illinois.


The Chicago Network