Barry Irwin

Adjunct Professor

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 has practiced in the area of intellectual property litigation for 23 years. He is the founder of Irwin IP, a boutique intellectual property litigation firm. Before forming Irwin IP, for almost 20 years, Irwin was a partner in the intellectual property department of Kirkland & Ellis. Each year, for over a decade, he 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. Recently, he received the rare distinction of being named a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), an invitation-only honorary trial lawyer society dedicated to promoting superior advocacy, professionalism and ethical standards among trial lawyers. Irwin'€™s trade secret practice received high praise from the 2008 edition of The Legal 500 U.S., who noted that "€œin Chicago, Barry Irwin comes in for praise as 'superb.'"€ He has been the first-chair trial attorney in numerous high-stakes patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret, and unfair competition litigations for major corporations, including Covidien, International Game Technology, Kapsch, Massarelli Law Ornaments, Motorola, Shuffle Master and Smiths.

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. 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.

Irwin is the vice president and member of the Board of Lawyer's for Creative Arts. He is active in pro bono matters involving a broad range of issues and hundreds of attorney hours annually, including matters involving: the confinement conditions at the Chicago juvenile detention facility; employment discrimination; and a trial of an aggravated assault charge (resulting in acquittal). He has also supervised numerous associates serving as guardian ad litem. 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). 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


  • 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).
  • St. Joseph College, Will Copyright Survive in the Digital Age (2014).
  • Linn Inn, 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