Skip to main content

About me

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.


Languages spoken: Afrikaans

Photos and videos

1703237 1374181554

1703237 1374181360

1703237 1374181278

Contact info

1871 Riverview Tower
Po Box 1871
Knoxville, TN, 37901

Practice areas


  1. Intellectual Property: 20%
    22 years, 1 thousand cases
  2. Patent Application: 20%
    22 years, 500 cases
  3. Trademark Application: 20%
    22 years, 300 cases
  4. Trademark: 10%
    22 years, 30 cases
  5. Other: 30%
  6. More 



Hourly ($200-400/hour), Fixed (always), Free consultation (15 minutes)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

4 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Jonathan David Gonce

    I have enjoyed working with Rick for many years. He is very capable and experienced in all areas of intellectual property law, and especially in patent prosecution. He is an honest and efficient advocate for his clients and their interests. Therefore, I am happy to give Rick this endorsement.


    Jonathan Gonce Patent application Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker

  • Mark Paul Crockett

    I have been privileged to practiced law with Rick for over 15 years. He is very knowledgeable in all aspects of intellectual property law. He is particularly adept at securing patents for his clients in some very challenging technology areas. He is my go-to guy when I need advice on patent prosecution. I gladly submit this endorsement for Rick.


    Mark Crockett Patent application Attorney
    Relationship: Co-worker


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Top AttorneyCityView Magazine2014
Excellence In Trial PracticeAmerican Jurisprudence1993
Excellence in Trial PracticeUniversity of Tennessee1993
Excellence in Trial PracticeTennessee Attorney General1993
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyLuedekaNeely1993 - Present
Engineering ManagerLeeds & Northrup1986 - 1991
Development EngineerRaytheon Co.1985 - 1986
Thin Film/Photolithography EngineerSignetics1983 - 1985
Association namePosition nameDuration
Knoxville Bar AssociationN/A1994 - Present
American Intellectual Property Law AssociationN/A1997 - 2013
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Cotter v. Christus GardensJudgment for plaintiff (client), including statutory damages and attorney fees
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Knoxville Bar Association - DictaTechnically Speaking: Purchasing A Law Firm Telephone System2005
Knoxville Bar Association - DictaTechnically Speaking: Wireless Networking2004
Knoxville Bar Association - DictaTechnically Speaking: Software Billing Systems2002
Knoxville Bar Association - DictaTechnically Speaking: Personal Digital Assistants2002
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Tennessee College of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1994
Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law SchoolChemical EngineeringBS - Bachelor of Science1983
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Tech ExpoLaw Firm Telecommunications2008