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About me

Nathan Smith is a partner at McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Orange County office. 

Nathan focuses his practice on intellectual property portfolio management, competitive market strategies, offensive and defensive intellectual property due diligence, licensing, and domestic and foreign patent prosecution for both utility and design protection.  He shapes IP strategies for startups and large cap corporations alike.

His technical experience encompasses a wide range of technologies, including medical devices such as cardiovascular devices and interventions, drug delivery therapies, orthopedic devices, dental devices and procedures, bone fracture fixation devices, spinal devices and procedures, endoscopic devices and procedures, agricultural products and grain management, eyewear, personal electronics, software, automotive, aeronautics, and various mechanical technologies.

Nathan was a judicial extern for Chief Judge Randall R. Rader at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

While earning his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University, Nathan was inducted into Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.  He later earned his J.D. from Brigham Young University Law School, where he was the Senior Editor of the BYU Law Review.

Nathan has authored several articles relating to issues surrounding intellectual property, including utility and design patents, and its enforcement.  In addition, he has spoken individually and on panels to public and private groups, including university and medical technology associations, regarding international IP filing strategies, IP portfolio management, the technical aspects of the America Invents Act and procedures before the US Patent and Trademark Office, such as Post-Grant Review.

Representative Intellectual Property Due Diligence Projects

Conducted IP due diligence on behalf of medical device client in connection with its successful $85M initial public offering abroad

Conducted IP due diligence on behalf of AqueSys, Inc., in $43.6 million in Series D financing led by an undisclosed investor, with participation from Accuitive Medical Ventures, The Carlyle Group, Longitude Capital, Rho Ventures and SV Life Sciences

Conducted IP due diligence on behalf of ArtVentive Medical Group, Inc., in a $3M-$5M financing led by an undisclosed investor

Conducted IP due diligence for medical device client in acquisition of another medical device company for over $70M

Conducted IP due diligence for medical device client in acquisition of target cardiovascular device company

Conducted IP due diligence for medical device client to validate IP portfolio of target cardiovascular device company

Conducted IP due diligence for medical device client preliminary to investing in target medical device startup

Memberships & Associations

Nathan is a member of the California State Bar and is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

He has served on Boards of Directors and is a member of various organizations, including AIPLA, OCTANe, and the Orange County Bar Association.

Honors & Awards

Selected as a Top Attorney in intellectual property by the OC Metro Magazine for four consecutive years, 2011–2014

Recipient of the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services by the State Bar of California, 2013

Pro Bono

Nathan is committed to providing representation to those individuals and institutions who cannot afford to hire lawyers. His pro bono work has included representing victims of domestic violence and their families, assisting a foundation that provides therapy to children whose families are unable to afford treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder, and assisting a foundation that provides therapeutic activity for individuals diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.  He also serves as a Supervising Attorney for UC Irvine School of Law’s Pro Bono Program.


Languages spoken: Portuguese, Spanish

Practice areas


  1. Intellectual Property: 40%
  2. Patent Application: 25%
  3. Patent Infringement: 25%
  4. Licensing: 5%
  5. Trademark Application: 5%

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Contact info

McDermott Will & Emery

4 Park Plaza
Suite 1700
Irvine, CA, 92614


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Rising StarSuperLawyers2016
Rising StarSuperLawyers2015
Top AttorneysOrange Coast Magazine2015
Top OC Patent AttorneyOC Metro Magazine2014
Top OC Patent AttorneyOC Metro Magazine2013
Top OC Patent AttorneyOC Metro Magazine2012
Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal ServicesState Bar of California2012
Top OC Patent AttorneyOC Metro Magazine2011
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
PartnerMcDermott Will & Emery2012 - Present
AssociateKnobbe Martens Olson & Bear2006 - 2012
AssociateStetina Brunda Garred & Brucker2004 - 2006
Association namePosition nameDuration
Orange County Bar AssociationN/A2010 - Present
OCTANeN/A2008 - Present
Orange County Patent Law AssociationMember2004 - Present
J. Reuben Clark Law Society (Orange County chapter)N/A2004 - Present
J. Reuben Clark Law SocietyBoard Member2008 - 2011
Publication nameTitleDate
MWE Intellectual Property UpdateProceed with Caution: Navigating the Intersection Between Trade Secret and Patent Law2014
Intellectual Property TodayVerbal Description of Patented Design Is Critical to Support Obviousness Holding2013
Daily JournalThe Big Business of Patent Minutiae2010
IP Law 360The Latest On Patent Eligibility For Process Claims2008
Brigham Young University Law ReviewThe Shrinkwrap Snafu: Untangling The ‘Extra Element’ In Breach Of Contract Claims Based On Shrinkwrap Licenses2003
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law SchoolLawJD - Juris Doctor2004
Brigham Young UniversityMechanical EngineeringBS - Bachelor of Science2001
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
MedTech Insight ConferencePatent Update for Medical Device Companies2011
MBA LectureInternational Intellectual Property Tools and Their Strategic Use in Business2011
MBA LectureMaximizing International IP Value and Avoiding Pitfalls2010
Intellectual Property WorkshopIntellectual Property2007