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Our Team 

Deborah A. Laughton


Debbie Laughton counsels clients in a wide range of intellectual property areas. She provides guidance on patent application preparation, prosecution and portfolio management. She has extensive patent litigation experience, counseling clients through all phases including pre-suit investigation, fact and expert discovery, claim construction, summary judgment, trial, post-trial, and appeals before the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She is also heavily involved with due diligence investigations and frequently provides intellectual property guidance for corporate transactions.  Additionally, Debbie has represented clients before the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board as part of Inter Partes Review proceedings.   

Debbie has worked with such diverse products and technologies as orthopedic implants and components, surgical suction irrigators, swimming starting blocks and timing systems, drug-eluting stents, pediatric hospital beds, playground equipment, self-sealing valves, nerve imaging technology, climbing walls, vertebroplasty and balloon-assisted vertebroplasty, and medical image capture systems.  

For every client, Debbie learns and understands the client’s business and technology so she can provide ongoing analysis, as well as thorough legal arguments, to best protect and further develop the client’s investments. Recently, Debbie represented one of the world’s most innovative medical device companies in a major patent infringement lawsuit that resulted in a favorable jury verdict of $70 million in lost profits, a finding that all asserted patents were valid and willfully infringed, and an injunction and treble damages following post-trial motions. Her involvement in the case also helped to secure an affirmance of patent validity, infringement and lost profits from the Federal Circuit. She was additionally part of the team that successfully represented the client before the United States Supreme Court as the Supreme Court reviewed the standard for awarding enhanced damages for patent infringement. Debbie also serves as the strategic patent advisor for clients that range from a leading provider of playground equipment and recreational products to a privately held software company serving radiation oncology centers worldwide.

Related Experience

  • Nuclear Engineer at Exelon, Nuclear Fuel Management Group

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Board Member, The Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms
  • Advisory Board Member, University of Illinois Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering
  • Member, American Nuclear Society – National and Chicago Section Branches
  • Member, Alpha Nu Sigma National Honor Society

Honors & Awards

  • University of Illinois Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering Advocate Award, 2013 Recipient
  • University of Illinois Alumni Association Loyalty Award, 2010 Recipient

Areas of Practice


Bar Admissions / Registrations

  • Illinois
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, J.D. High Honors, Order of the Coif
  • University of Illinois, B.S. Nuclear Engineering