Theresa A. Orr

Theresa A. Orr
Of Counsel

Theresa Orr is an experienced intellectual property law adviser with many years of honed skills in transactional, litigation, and regulatory matters. Before joining the firm, she worked in-house for two companies, where she developed legal know-how and managed business considerations, such as strategic planning and budgeting. Her current role at the firm focuses on serving clients by producing outstanding legal advice and work product and managing the firm’s operations in client service, administrative processes, and one-on-one training and mentoring of the next generation of attorneys.

As general counsel and chief patent counsel at the international headquarters of a consumer products manufacturer, Theresa honed her talents in management, corporate governance, and business strategy development and brought this first-hand expertise and perspective to firm clients. Because the company relied on third-party manufacturers in China, she was quickly initiated to counterfeiting and developed an anti-counterfeiting program to stem the influx of counterfeit products at the border.

Later, as vice president and general counsel for a Tier 2 automotive manufacturer, Theresa led an industry association anti-counterfeiting committee, presenting to and joining in raids with both U.S. and international Customs and Border Protection agents, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, FBI, Homeland Security, and Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers throughout North, Central, and South America. She co-authored the U.S. Bearing Brand Protection Handbook and spearheaded the World Bearing Association’s StopFakeBearings.com campaign. Moreover, Theresa served as co-chair of the State Bar of Michigan in-house counsel committee and hosted and participated in many legal and business seminars.

As an advocate, Theresa offers trial experience throughout the country and in Canada, Mexico, and South America. As an advisor, Theresa’s acute business acumen results from her extensive drafting and negotiation experience, including multilevel contracts, sales and purchase agreements, trade secret provisions, and the whole gamut of IP protections. She has implemented numerous internal programs focused on IP, warranties, product quality control, and human resources, as well as compliance with NHTSA, consumer product safety, ITAR, EAR, and Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act regulations.

Along with her firm responsibilities as a mentor and business manager, Theresa is fluent in the language and essential role engineers and developers fill as major assets to their companies. Having worked as an engineer before practicing law, Theresa is appreciated for taking the time to work with such innovators and helping them understand the value of their IP and the position creativity plays in the company’s bigger picture strategy. Because of her background in engineering, Theresa knows how to support engineers in a way that leverages their full potential. She continues to work diligently with all constituents to understand each other’s unique contributions by developing related best practices at the executive and attorney levels.

Notably, Theresa’s legal career began in line at a movie theater. She struck up a conversation with a woman who hired her the next day as a clerk at an IP firm. Theresa remained at the firm for 12 years, advancing from law clerk to associate to partner and building a practice that included patent, trademark, and copyright prosecution; litigation in federal courts across the U.S.; and counseling corporate clients to leverage their IP portfolios through joint ventures, acquisitions, and licensing.

Areas of Practice

  • IP Strategy and Counseling
  • Patents
  • Trademarks and Copyrights

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan
  • United States Patent & Trademark Office

Education

  • Michigan State University College of Law
    • Juris Doctor, cum laude, 1989
  • Western Michigan University
    • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, 1982

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Member, Intellectual Property, International, and Master Lawyers Sections
    • Former Co-Chair, Business Law Section In-House Counsel Committee
  • Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics
    • Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional
  • American Bearing Manufacturers Association
    • Former Vice Chair, Anti-Counterfeiting Committee
  • World Bearing Association
    • Board Representative

Presentations

  • “Key Opportunities and Concerns for Legal Departments in an Evolving Industry” (moderator), Autolex Autonomous Vehicle Legal Forum, 2018
  • “ABMA Efforts to Stop Fake Bearings Presentation,” Bearing Specialists Association Winter Meeting, 2015
  • “General and In-House Counsel Roundtable” (panelist), Crain’s Detroit Business Summit, 2014
  • “A Comprehensive Approach to Protecting Designs: The Overlap of Patent Design, Trade Dress, and Copyright Protection,” University of Toledo College of Law, 2011

Publications

  • StopFakeBearings.com (anti-counterfeiting website and campaign), World Bearing Association, 2018
  • U.S. Bearing Brand Protection Handbook (co-author), American Bearing Manufacturers Association, 2016