Barry Irwin

Barry Irwin

Adjunct Professor of Law

Office: 1100 Eck Hall of Law

Barry Irwin joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 2012 as an adjunct professor teaching Patent Litigation and Advanced Copyright/Entertainment Law. Irwin is an intellectual property litigation practitioner.  He has been litigating mission-critical, high-profile intellectual property and technology matters in federal courts across the country for nearly 30 years.  Irwin began his legal career at a prestigious boutique intellectual property law firm in Chicago.  Three years later, he joined the Chicago office of one of the largest, most successful general practice firms in the world where he practiced for 18 years, the last 14 as a partner, and the last 10 as an equity partner. In 2014, he founded Irwin IP, a successful boutique intellectual property litigation firm.  

Irwin has been a first-chair intellectual property litigation attorney handling high-stakes, complex matters for major corporations, including Action Gaming, AMF Bowling, Avaya, Covidien, F.P. Rosback, International Game Technology, Kapsch, LKQ Corporation, Massarelli Lawn Ornaments, Motorola, Shuffle Master, Smiths Medical, Trading Technologies, U.S. Auto Parts and Wowza Media Systems.  For intellectual property owners, he has obtained massive verdicts and permanent injunctions; and for accused infringers, he has obtained complete defense verdicts on nearly billion dollar claims, many at the preliminary stages.  He also regularly litigates disputes with Customs and Border Protection, and has obtained several injunctions precluding the Government from taking certain actions (such as imposing bonding requirements) and requiring the Government to take other actions (such as either releasing his client’s seized goods or initiating proceedings beneficial to his clients).

Irwin has additionally been lead counsel in dozens of Patent Office review proceedings. For example, he successfully petitioned the PTAB to institute an IPR on a patent touted as the foundation for a billion dollar per year business that had withstood numerous challenges brought by others, including prior Patent Office reviews and several federal court litigations.

Irwin also frequently counsels clients on reexamination proceedings, and on strengthening intellectual property portfolios to protect key products by, for example, broadening existing intellectual property portfolios and securing rights to third-party intellectual property. 

In addition to Irwin’s high-stakes litigation practice, Irwin represents numerous bands and musicians, addressing music law related issues, including drafting partnership agreements, preparing copyright filings, negotiating recording contracts, litigating termination of recording contracts, and winding up band assets upon dissolution.  And, he has been a supervising attorney for numerous pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at a juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination; a trial of an aggravated assault charge resulting in acquittal; serving as guardian ad litem; and dozens of entertainment law matters.  Some of his pro bono efforts were featured in articles: Pro Bono Group Lends Helping Hand to Creative Arts (Chicago Daily Law Bulleting 2010) and For Art's Sake (The Deal Magazine 2010). In 2016, Chicago-based Lawyers for the Creative Arts, a not-for-profit organization that provides free and low-cost legal services to members of the various Illinois arts communities, awarded Irwin with its Distinguished Service to the Arts award.

In 2018, Irwin was selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the Top 100 lawyers in Illinois as part of its Super Lawyers selection process. Irwin was one of only eight intellectual property attorneys on the list, and the only one from a small (under 75 attorney) intellectual property boutique.  And, each year, for over 15 years, Irwin has been named a Leading Lawyer and a Super Lawyer.  Irwin also received Martindale Hubbell’s highest ratings (AV and AV+) in his first years of eligibility and each year thereafter, and was recently named a Best Lawyer.  In 2015, Irwin received the rare distinction of being named a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), LCA is an invitation-only honorary trial lawyer society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.  LCA Fellows are selected based on their legal excellence and accomplishments in litigation and superior ethical reputations.

Irwin lectures routinely on cutting-edge intellectual property issues. For 15 years, he was an instructor judge for Kirkland's Trial Advocacy program where, three times each year, Kirkland engages its associates in a mock trial program.

Irwin graduated from Notre Dame Law School, magna cum laude, and received his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Courses Taught

Patent Litigation

Advanced Copyright/Entertainment Law


Papers, Seminars, Teaching

  • Notre Dame Law School, Adjunct Professor, Patent Litigation and Advanced Copyright Law/Entertainment Law (2012-present).
  • Dayton School of Law, Program in Law and Technology Seminar, Trademark Enforcement at the Border: Customs Does Not Just Seize Counterfeits (2018)
  • LCA & The John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Registration Issues Critical to Copyright Litigation (2018)
  • School of the Art Institute, Speaker, Copyright Protection in the Digital Age (2018)
  • LCA, Presentation, Band Law for Bands (2017)
  • Intellectual Property Institute, Presentation, Preliminary Injunctions in IP Cases (2017)
  • LCA, Speaker, Emerging Issues in Music Law (2016)
  • The Presidents Forum, Speaker, Current Issues in IP Law (2016)
  • LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons for Musicians from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)
  • LCA, Blurred Lines and Bright Lines, Copyright Lessons from the Blurred Lines Trial (2015)
  • DuPage Community College, Copyright Law for Photographers (2014).
  • LCA Bootcamp, Music Law 101 (2014).
  • Joseph College, Will Copyright Survive in the Digital Age (2014).
  • Linn Inn, Presenter, Free Solo: Should You Scale the IP Mountain Alone? (2019); Vice Chair/Presenter, Section 203 Termination Proceedings Under the Copyright Act (2013); Speaker, Civility and the Practice of Law (2011); Presenter, Designing Around Patents (2011); Vice Chair/Presenter, Ethical Issues Arising from Client Pitches (2010).
  • Kirkland & Ellis, Kirkland Institute of Trial Advocacy, Instructor Judge (1999-2013, three times/year).
  • Kirkland & Ellis Technology Seminar, Speaker, USPTO Post Grant Review Proceedings (2013, 2012); Northern District of Illinois – The Newest Local Patent Rules (2010), Protecting Yourself from Willfulness (2008), Copyright v. Technology? (2002), Digital Millennium Copyright Act (2000), Recent Developments in IP Law (1999).
  • IPLAC, Copyrighting Trademarks: Misuse or Fair Use: Omega S.A. v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, CV 04-5443 (2012).
  • University of Notre Dame, 1st Annual Emerging Issues in IP Symposium, Presenter, Post Grant Reviews After the AIA (Ex Parte Reviews, Inter Partes Reviews, Post Grant Reviews, Supplemental Examination and Derivation Proceedings)(2012)
  • IPO, Paper, Impact of the Misjoinder Provision of the America Invents Act (2011).
  • Houston Intellectual Property Law Institute, Speaker, Top Ten Developments in IP Licensing (2011).
  • American Bar Association, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Judge (2011-present).
  • Illinois Math and Science Academy, Speaker, Protecting Your Ideas (2009).
  • Nevada Bar Association, Speaker, Green Claims in Advertising (2008).
  • Kirkland & Ellis Advertising and Trademark Seminar, Speaker, New Developments and Recent Trends (2008), In the Court’s Court (2003).
  • Kirkland & Ellis Annual Retreat, Speaker, Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation, Arbitration and Summary Jury Trials (2008).
  • Practicing Law Institute, Speaker, Key Issues in Patent Infringement Litigation (2008).
  • Society of Automotive Engineers, Intellectual Property Law for Engineers(passim).
  • Practicing Law Institute, Chair and Speaker, Understanding Basic Copyright Law (1999-2004).
  • John Marshall Law School, Speaker, Contemporary Problems in Computer Law (passim).
  • DePaul Law School, Speaker, Implications of Festo (2001).

Areas of Expertise

  • Copyright Law
  • Entertainment Law
  • False Advertising
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Litigation
  • Patent Law
  • Trademarks
  • Trade Secret
  • Unfair Competition