John B. Farmer

Phone: (804) 343-3221

Subscribe to John Farmer’s Substack here. John writes a monthly newspaper column on breaking legal issues, usually focusing on IP or technology. That column is space limited to about 750 words. In the Substack version, you get the full version before it gets cut down to newspaper length – more information and insights.

John wears some unique hats.

  • He created, and operates and oversees, our firm’s practice dedicated to watching for and policing mark infringements. LELG has built (and constantly improves) unique practices and methods for conducting this work, which methods and practices it treats as a trade secret and uses to serve its watching/policing clients.
  • Since 1998, he has written a monthly column, Leading-Edge Law, for the Richmond Times-Dispatch on breaking legal issues in fields of intellectual property, technology, high-tech, and related fields. To our knowledge, he is the only lawyer in Virginia who writes such a column for a general circulation newspaper.
  • For many years, John has taught an annual update in developments in trademark law. Virginia CLE last presented this as a stand-alone program in October 2023. It is available on replay here.
  • He was the co-founder and moderator of the annual Virginia Intellectual Property Legal Institute, which was the flagship program by Virginia CLE on intellectual property and information technology law. The 22nd annual program occurred in October 2021. This program is taking a break for the indefinite future.
  • He is the author and presenter of the flagship program by Virginia CLE on the basics of trademark law: Essentials of Trademark Law. The program was last presented in May 2020.
  • For Virginia CLE, John taught a seminar on the new Trademark Modernization Act in January 2022. This seminar is viewable online here.
  • For Virginia CLE, John taught a seminar on best practices and commonplace mistakes in launching a new brand and rebranding in January 2022. The program is available as a video replay here.
  • For Virginia CLE, John Farmer taught in April 2021 a two-hour seminar on the intersection of trademarks and social media. The program is available for video replay here.
  • He is the co-author and co-presenter of the flagship program by Virginia CLE on the basics of licensing law: “Intellectual Property and Information Technology Licensing for Transactional Attorneys.” The latest iteration of this program was presented live on June 15, 2016.
  • He is the co-author and co-presenter of the flagship program by Virginia CLE on the practical application of IP Law: “Analyzing Commonplace IP Scenarios.” The latest renewal of this program was presented on April 28, 2017.

John devotes his practice entirely to intellectual property and technology issues. He works exclusively with corporate clients to identify, form, protect, and license intellectual property.

John’s practice has included the following matters:

  • Representation of companies of all sizes (publicly traded to funded start-ups) in nationally watching and policing of their mark rights.
  • Representation of corporate clients, including advertising agencies, in trademark strategizing, trademark infringement monitoring, trademark policing, clearing potential trademarks, prosecuting federal trademark registration applications, maintaining registrations, and coordinating foreign trademark registration applications and maintenance.
  • Representation of large, publicly traded companies in the drafting and negotiation of over 100 software licenses, software development, application service provider, technology services, employee confidentiality/intellectual property, and other e-commerce agreements.
  • Representation of a software company in commercializing its software worldwide, including preparation of a comprehensive scheme of license agreements.
  • Representation of a large, publicly traded company in outsourcing to an Indian technology services firm.
  • Representation of corporate clients in corralling intellectual property rights in its new products, strengthening those intellectual property rights, and licensing them or the products utilizing them.
  • Representation of corporate clients in maximizing and registering copyright protection for websites and other creative works, and fending off copyright infringers.
  • Counseling corporate clients regarding open-source software issues.
  • Advising corporate counsel on intellectual property issues in mergers and acquisitions and assisting in due diligence in such transactions.

In intellectual property and technology litigation, John’s practice has included numerous cases in federal court and in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. These cases have included the following subject matters:

  • Trademark and service mark infringement, and unfair competition.
  • Copyright infringement and copyright abuse.
  • Web domain name cybersquatting.
  • Internet access provider agreements.
  • Trade secret misappropriation.
  • ERP software implementations.
  • Software license breaches.

John has served in the following leadership positions in the bar:

  • Past Chairman, Trademark Public Advisory Committee of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (2008-2011; appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce).
  • Past chairman, Board of Governors of the Intellectual Property Section of the Virginia State Bar.
  • Past president, Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Law Association.
  • Past vice chairman and section council member, Virginia Bar Association Intellectual Property & Information Technology Law Section.
  • Former member, the Advisory Committee on Intellectual Property Issues to the Virginia General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Technology and Science.
  • Past founding member and past master, Thomas Jefferson Intellectual Property Inn of Court.
  • Former member, Virginia State Bar Special Committee on Information Technology.
  • Past chair, Judicial Selection Committee of the Virginia State Bar.

John is frequently called upon to teach other lawyers in the areas of intellectual property and e-commerce. His past and upcoming speaking engagements include the following organizations:

  • Virginia CLE (the continuing legal education arm of the Virginia State Bar); frequent speaker, and co-founder and co-moderator of its Information Technology Legal Institute.
  • Virginia State Bar (at its Annual Meeting) and the Fall Weekend Seminar for its Intellectual Property Section.
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association (twice at its Annual Meeting, including a plenary session).
  • Direct Marketing Association, Richmond Chapter.
  • Caucus Annual Meeting (an association of technology procurement professionals).
  • Georgetown University Law Center’s Annual Advanced Computer and Internet Law Institute.
  • Greater Richmond Intellectual Property Law Association.
  • Richmond Bar Association, including its Corporate Counsel Section.
  • University of Virginia School of Law, Society of Law and Technology.
  • University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce, for its masters program in the Management of Information Technology.
  • University of Virginia Darden School of Business.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University’s Office of Technology Transfer.
  • American Marketing Association, Richmond Chapter.
  • John also frequently does in-house talks on trademark issues for advertising and branding in-house departments and outside agencies.

John is regularly listed in publications that recommend lawyers based on peer surveys, such as Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Virginia Business’s Legal Elite.

Educational Background and Clerkships:

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Virginia, 1985.
  • Juris Doctor, University of Virginia, 1988.
  • Clerk, for the Honorable Donald H. Kent, the Honorable Donald M. Haddock and the Honorable Alfred D. Swersky of the Circuit Court for the City of Alexandria, Virginia, 1988-1990.
  • Clerk, for the Honorable Donald S. Russell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1989-1990.
  • Clerk, for the Honorable James C. Cacheris of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 1990-1991.

Prior to founding this firm in 2002, John was a partner in the Richmond law firm Mezzullo & McCandlish, PC.