Rick was born in California in 1958 and attended high school in Midland, Michigan - worldwide headquarters for The Dow Chemical Company. Thus, when Rick entered Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah in the fall of 1976, it was with the intent of becoming a chemical engineer - just like everyone else he knew.
It wasn't until the beginning of his senior year in college that Rick realized that a traditional career as a chemical engineer in either the chemical industry or petroleum industry didn't interest him.
Fortunately, he was required to take an elective course in electrical engineering that first semester of his senior year. The elective course that he took in semiconductor processing sparked an intense interest in the field of integrated circuits. At the end of that fall semester, Rick knocked on the door of Signetics, an integrated circuit fabrication company that had a facility in Orem, Utah, and got his first job in the industry there before he graduated from college. Rick graduated from Brigham Young University the next semester in 1983 with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering.
Rick worked for about two years at Signetics, primarily as a process engineer. His first responsibilities were in the photolithography group. As a photolithography engineer, Rick was responsible for a wide variety of tasks. One responsibility was to research and develop the recipes that were used to dispense the proper amount of photoresist onto the silicon wafers, set rotational ramp up times, speeds, and hold times for the photoresist spinners, and set times and temperatures for soft bakes and hard bakes. Rick wrote specifications for wafer alignment procedures and recipes, and also developed alignment structures. Responsibilities also included failure analysis for photolithography-related defects.
Rick also worked as a thin film engineer for Signetics. Most of the depositions were conducted using evaporation techniques. At the time, Signetics mostly used CHA high vacuum equipment, with a variety of mechanical pumps, diffusion pumps, cryogenic pumps, and turbomolecular pumps. A variety of barrier metals were used, and aluminum was the predominant conduction layer metal at the time. However, sputtering processes were also being developed. Rick had responsibilities for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) processes, including low temperature chemical vapor deposition (LTCVD), low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD), and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD). Rick also worked extensively with ion implantation processes, which were moved into the thin film process group from the old diffusion process group.
Rick next took a job with Raytheon Company, working with their new high-speed, radiation-hardened gallium arsenide devices group, where he was one of the development engineers operating a pilot plant facility. One purpose of the facility was to reconfigure the basic processes developed by the Raytheon research department into production-capacity processes. Another aspect of this job was to develop the budget and specify equipment and facilities for the state of the art microelectronics center that was built in Andover, Massachusetts.
Rick's final position in the microelectronic industry was with Leeds & Northrup in St. Petersburg, Florida. Rick was in charge of the new thin film sensor group, which made silicon strain pressure sensors and platinum RTD temperature sensors. In this capacity, Rick was responsible for everything from raw materials coming in the door to finished sensors going out the door, and everything in between. During the first year he was with Leeds & Northrup, he brought the line from a production of zero thermal sensors to over 63,000 thermal sensors per week. Through a variety of statistical process control techniques, including statistical experiment designs - which he had been interested in for years, Rick brought process yields up to over 99% during the time that he was employed with Leeds & Northrup.
Rick entered law school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in the fall of 1991, and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1994. During that time Rick clerked for both the general practice law firm of Frantz, McConnell & Seymour, and the intellectual property law firm of Luedeka Neely Group, where he would eventually be employed full-time. However, the job that paid the bills more than anything else during that time was a computer consulting business that Rick had started while living in Florida. As a part of that business, Rick installed and maintained local area networks (which were just starting to become popular with small businesses), built and sold computers and computer peripherals, and did contract computer programming in a variety of languages and environments.
Rick became an associate with Luedeka Neely Group in 1994 and a shareholder in 1999. His early practice emphasized software licensing for relatively large-fee, royalty-bearing software packages for a client that was the creator and leading solution provider in their market - network management. In addition, the licenses were somewhat different from a standard shrink-wrap-type contract. Thus, most of the licenses were individually negotiated over a period of time. This afforded Rick an opportunity to learn negotiation skills that were beneficial in a number of different areas. Rick successfully negotiated approximately two-hundred different license agreements during that time. Licenses were signed with many of the largest companies in the computer, data services, and telecommunications industries.
Rick has been helping clients with copyright matters for many years, including the identification of copyright works, filing and prosecution of federal copyright registrations, and the successful litigation of copyright matters through the appeals court level. Rick also maintains an extensive trademark practice, which has included identifying client trademarks, counseling with clients on the proper use and protection of trademarks, filing and prosecuting federal (and state) trademark registrations, and successfully representing clients before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Rick has drafted and successfully prosecuted hundreds of patent applications to issuance. Many applications have required successful prosecution through the appeals process before they were granted with the breadth of claims to which the client was entitled. A wide variety of technologies are represented in his work, including mechanical devices, chemicals and chemical processes, textiles, business and financial methods, optics, software, and a broad array of electronic devices. Drawing from his work as an engineer and manager in the semiconductor industry, Rick has predominantly drafted applications relevant to the many different sub-fields within the integrated circuit fabrication industry, including applications directed toward instruments and equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits.
Rick is a licensed attorney in the states of Tennessee and Utah, and is admitted to practice as an attorney before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
27 years, 300 cases
27 years, 500 cases
27 years, 1,000 cases
27 years, 150 cases
|Award name||Grantor||Date granted|
|Top Attorney||CityView Magazine||2014|
|Excellence In Trial Practice||American Jurisprudence||1993|
|Excellence in Trial Practice||University of Tennessee||1993|
|Excellence in Trial Practice||Tennessee Attorney General||1993|
|Attorney||LuedekaNeely||1993 - Present|
|Engineering Manager||Leeds & Northrup||1986 - 1991|
|Development Engineer||Raytheon Co.||1985 - 1986|
|Thin Film/Photolithography Engineer||Signetics||1983 - 1985|
|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Knoxville Bar Association||N/A||1994 - Present|
|American Intellectual Property Law Association||N/A||1997 - 2013|
|Knoxville Bar Association - Dicta||Technically Speaking: Purchasing A Law Firm Telephone System||2005|
|Knoxville Bar Association - Dicta||Technically Speaking: Wireless Networking||2004|
|Knoxville Bar Association - Dicta||Technically Speaking: Software Billing Systems||2002|
|Knoxville Bar Association - Dicta||Technically Speaking: Personal Digital Assistants||2002|
|Brigham Young University||BS - Bachelor of Science||1983|
|Tech Expo||Law Firm Telecommunications||2008|
|Cotter v. Christus Gardens||Judgment for plaintiff (client), including statutory damages and attorney fees|
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