The Intellectual Property Venture Clinic at Case Western Reserve University School of Law is one of 10 clinics under the umbrella of the Kramer Law Clinic. It is staffed by two intellectual property law practitioners and third-year law students who are certified as legal interns by the Supreme Court of Ohio.
Professors John Yirga and Maria Ianiro, who have a combined 34 years of experience practicing intellectual property, started teaching the IP Venture Clinic in 2022. Learn more about them below.
John Yirga focuses his practice in all areas of intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights, trade secrets, trademark protection and litigation surrounding intellectual property matters. Yirga has experience in preparing and prosecuting both domestic and foreign patent applications with an emphasis in the mechanical and electrical arts, trademark preparation and prosecution, and international patent (PCT) protection practice. Throughout his practice, Yirga has provided numerous opinions, including freedom-to-operate, non-infringement, and patentability for his clients’ products and inventions and registrability and clearance opinions for his clients’ trademarks and service marks.
Yirga’s practice also involves enforcement actions to protect clients’ intellectual property rights and proprietary information, including both litigation in various U.S. federal courts and before the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Yirga successfully enforced patents held valid through litigation that he drafted and prosecuted to issue.
Yirga’s knowledge and experience in litigation combined with his versatility in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secret law allows him to maximize protection for each of his client’s unique circumstances relating to their intellectual property and/or inventions. Over the years, Yirga has drafted and negotiated numerous licensing and settlement agreements as a cost-effective alternative to litigation.
Maria Ianiro is counsel in her firm's Intellectual Property Practice and focuses on patent matters in a wide variety of areas including computer and software arts, system applications, and smart technologies such as self-driving software, health monitoring systems, augmented reality, infotainment, machine learning, vehicle mechanical systems and cloud connectivity.
Ianiro has prepared and prosecuted hundreds of United States patent applications for entrepreneurs, international corporations and individual inventors and has niche expertise in computer-related technologies within the automotive industry. She conducts patent searches and analyses including patentability, infringement, and state-of-the-art searches and opinions. Her real-world computer programming experience and formal education in computer science and the law provide unique value and perspective to her clients.
In addition to patent counseling, Ianiro’s practice includes trademark prosecution and IP-related contract drafting. She often works with small businesses and supports the development of minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Ianiro is an adjunct professor of law at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining Potomac Law Group, Ianiro was Partner at Ranking, Hill & Clark LLP. She previously worked as a programming analyst for Quadax, Inc., a leading technology company serving the healthcare industry.