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Christopher V. Carani


Christopher V. Carani, a partner and shareholder, has been at the firm since 1995. He practices in all areas of intellectual property law with particular emphasis on design law.

Chris has extensive experience litigating design patent cases, including representations before U.S. district courts, the Federal Circuit, U.S. Supreme Court and the ITC. In 2015, IAM Magazine included Chris in its IAM Patent 1000 referring to him as one of the U.S.’s “pre-eminent design law experts.” In the 2016, IAM Magazine noted that he “is one of the nation’s top design patent specialists.”

Chris has extensive experience in creating valuable design right portfolios. He represents some of the world’s most design centric companies, including the top filer of U.S. design patents. He has procured thousands of strategic design rights, both in the U.S and in over 70 countries around the world. He counsels a wide range of clients (big and small) on design protection and enforcement issues and is often called upon to render infringement, validity and design-around opinions. 

In the landmark design patent case Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa, Chris authored amicus briefs on behalf of the AIPLA at both the petition and en banc stages, taking positions which were ultimately adopted by the Federal Circuit and thereby reshaping U.S. design patent jurisprudence. In Calmar, Inc. v. Arminak & Assoc., Chris authored a brief on behalf of the Industrial Design Society of America in support of a petition for writ of certiori to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Chris is currently the chair of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) Design Rights Committee. He is the former chair of the American Bar Association’s Design Rights Committee, and also the American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) Committee on Industrial Designs.  Chris is currently serving a 3-year appointment to the Board of Directors for the U.S. chapter of AIPPI.

Chris is on the faculty of the Northwestern University School of Law as an Adjunct Professor of Law teaching Intellectual Property Law & Policy, a course which covers patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret law. Chris is also an Adjunct Professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law teaching a course on Design Law, which is one of only a few such courses in the U.S.  

Prior to joining McAndrews, Chris served as a law clerk to the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Chris was conferred his Juris Doctorate from The Law School at The University of Chicago.  He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Marquette University.

He is licensed to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and other U.S. District Courts. He is a registered patent attorney licensed to practice before the USPTO. Chris has received numerous awards and accolades, including IAM Patent 1000 (2015-18), Super Lawyers (2007-2018), IP Stars (2018) and Leading Lawyers Network (2012-18). In 2018, Chris was named one of the “Top 100” attorneys in Illinois by Thomson Reuters in its Super Lawyers publication.

He has published and lectured extensively on the topic of design law, including presentations at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (Washington D.C.), the World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva, Switzerland), the Korean Patent Office (Daejeon, Korea), the Chinese Patent Office (Beijing, China) and the European Union’s Office of Harmonization of the Internal Markets (Alicante, Spain). Chris is the author and editor-in-chief of the book “Design Rights: Functionality and Scope of Protection,” which was published in September 2017 by Wolters Kluwer N.V.

He is a frequent contributor to CNN and Bloomberg TV on intellectual property law issues, and often is called upon to provide comment to other media outlets, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, PBS TV, CNBC TV, BBC, Reuters, InformationWeek, Fast Company, ComputerWorld, PCWorld, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, Fortune, and FoxBusiness TV. Away from the law, Chris is a studied jazz musician playing upright bass on the Chicago jazz circuit.

Related Experience

  • Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Northwestern University, School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Chicago, Illinois (2015-present)
  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Adjunct Professor, Chicago, Illinois (2018)

Honors & Awards

  • Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Patent 1000 - The World's Leading Patent Practitioners (Individual - Intellectual Property Litigation) (Illinois 2015,-18)
  • Super Lawyers (Intellectual Property Law) (Illinois, 2014-18) (Rising Star 2007-2013)
  • Leading Lawyers (Intellectual Property Law) (Illinois, 2013-18)
  • IP Stars (Patent Litigation, Patent Prosecution, Designs) (2018)
  • American Inn of Court, Outstanding Program Award (2011), Night at the Museum of Designs, Co-Chair
  • Chicago Law Bulletin, the nation’s oldest daily law bulletin, “Top 40 Attorneys Under 40” (Illinois)
  • Chick Evans Scholarship issued by the Western Golf Association (4-year full-ride scholarship)

Professional & Community Involvement

  • International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (Chair of Design Rights Committee, 2015-present) (Member of Board of Directors for AIPPI-US, 2014-present); Chair of AIPPI’s 2016 Resolution on the issue of Design Functionality
  • American Bar Association, Chairperson of Committee on Design Rights (2010-2013); liaison to World Intellectual Property Office Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (2010-present)
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association, (Chair Committee on Industrial Design, 2006-10; Vice-Chair, 2004-2006)
  • Advisory Design Council for The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (2010-present)
  • Richard Linn American Inn of Court, Barrister Member
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association (Design Rights Committee Member)
  • International Trademark Association (Design Rights Committee)
  • Industrial Designer’s Society of America (Ambassador of Excellence Member; Affiliate Member)
  • Justinian Society of Italian-American Lawyers
  • Former Federal Law Clerk Society


  • Apple and Samsung face off in the Supreme Court today — here's why that matters, CNBC, TV Interview, October 2016
  • Google Prevails as Jury Rebuffs Oracle in Code Copyright Case, New York Times, May 26, 2016
  • Oracle-Google Trial Over Android Has Software Industry on Edge, CNBC, TV Interview, May 2016
  • Ahead of the Curve, IDSA Expert Witness Seminar, IDSA Newsletter, April 2015
  • Designing Within the Four Corners of the Law, Beyond Design, April 2015
  • IBM Ranks Top in Annual U.S. Patents Granted for the 22nd Straight Year, Bloomberg TV, TV Interview, January 2015
  • Design Patent Functionality: A Sensible Solution, American Bar Association, Landslide® Magazine, Featured Article (November-December 2014) View File
  • Christopher Carani, Partner at IP law firm McAndrews, Held & Malloy Ltd. and Former Law Clerk for U.S. District Court, Discusses T-Mobile’s Accusation that Huawei Stole Robot-Testing Technology (September 8, 2014) View File
  • IP Law and Sound Business Practice, Today's General Counsel (April/May 2014) View File
  • Lawyer Carani Discusses Apple-Samsung Patent Cases, Bloomberg West (August 9, 2013) View File
  • Apple’s very busy day in court, CNET (August 8, 2013) View File
  • Apple-Samsung spat may ignite tech patent war, NBC News.com (August 5, 2013)
  • 7 Open Questions In The IP World, Inside Counsel Magazine (February 2013) View File
  • Design Patents Take Center Stage, Landslide Magazine, Feature Article, American Bar Association (January-February 2013) View File


  • “Design Patents & E-Commerce,” 2016 Design Law Conference, Washington D.C., October 2016
  • “IP & Fashion,” AIPPI World Intellectual Property Congress, Milan, Italy, September 2016
  • “Protecting and Enforcing Design IP in the Global Marketplace,” Global Intellectual Property Academy, U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, Alexandria, Virginia, August 2016
  • “Designs – Into the Future: Leveraging the Value of Design Rights as Key Protection & Enforcement Tools,” Joint INTA and AIPPI Conference, Singapore, February 2016
  • “Design Patents: Patent Law’s New Frontier,” Fourth Annual Patent Law Experts Conference, Naples, Florida, February 2016
  • “Design IP for Medical Devices,” Industrial Designers Society of America, Medical Design Conference, Tampa, Florida, October 2015
  • “Ornamental Does Not Mean Non-Functional,” International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, Swiss IP Day, Berne, Switzerland, May 2015
  • “Design IP for UX Design,” New York Technology Council, New York, New York, May 2015
  • “The Intersection of Design Patent and Trade Dress Law,” American Intellectual Property Law Association, Spring Meeting, Los Angeles, California, May 2015
  • "Chinese Design Patents: How to Build a Strong Portfolio," IP in Asia Forum 2014, Managing Intellectual Property Conference, Cupertino, California, May 2014
  • “Advanced Strategies for U.S. Design Patent Litigation,”  Brazilian Association of Intellectual Property, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 2013

Areas of Practice


Bar Admissions / Registrations

  • Illinois
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • University of Chicago, J.D.
  • Marquette University, B.S.