40 Under Forty 2023

T he PopSocket is a simple product: It’s a stand that people can stick on the back of their smartphones, an easy way to prop up these de- vices. But this simplicity hasn’t kept competitors from making their own knock-offs of the popular device made by the PopSockets company. Thanks to patent attorney Ryan Schermerhorn, though, PopSockets has been able to keep store shelves and online shopping carts free from many of these knock-off products. Schermerhorn has been an invaluable partner to PopSockets. The strength of the patents that he has drafted and obtained has kept PopSockets from being overwhelmed by knock-off brands. One of these patents even survived an invalidation proceeding before the U.S. Patent Office. This result Schermerhorn achieved for PopSockets is quite rare. “One character trait that stands out is Ryan’s ambition,” said G. Christopher Braidwood, attorney with Chicago’s Lempia Summerfeld Katz. “To me, his ambition is truly remarkable and unique. In 15 years, I have not once heard Ryan speak of income, power, influence or any of the other end goals most commonly sought by those of an ambi- tious nature. Ryan has consistently striven for more principled goals, like knowledge, excellence in craft and community building.” Schermerhorn also helped a dentist client who invented a wedge for dentists to use when filling cavities in adjacent teeth. Schermerhorn ad- vised his client to build a portfolio of patents in jurisdictions where den- tal work is a regular part of health care, which he achieved in the United States, the European Union, Japan and Australia. The strength of the patents was a key factor leading to a licensing deal between the dentist’s company, Burton Dental Innovations, and a major dental device manufacturer that should bring in more than seven figures in royalties for Schermerhorn’s client. Schermerhorn has also achieved great success at his firm, becoming a trusted leader. At Marshall Gerstein last year, he led the firm’s hiring committee, helping the firm increase its number of new summer associ- ates and expand the class’s diversity. Two of the five summer associates from the 2022 program are returning to the firm as full-time associates. “Ryan is even keeled, listens openly and is interested in learning all sides of an issue,” said Trevor Copeland, attorney with Chicago’s Crowell & Moring. “These characteristics, combined with his mastery of techni- cal patent prosecution skills, make him a unique and exceptional lawyer.” “The trust that clients place in Ryan are testaments to his skills in patent law,” said David Oberst, corporate counsel with Schaumburg, Illinois-based The Boler Company. “Ryan has helped these and other clients protect the intellectual property upon which their businesses are built.” While Schermerhorn has already made an impact in patent law, his peers say that they expect even more successes from this young attorney in the future. That’s because Schermerhorn displays all the skills that the most successful of attorneys boast.


AGE 3 8

FIRM Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, LLP

LAW SCHOOL DePaul University College of Law

AREA OF PRACTICE Patent prosecution


The trust that clients place in Ryan are testaments to his skills in patent law.”


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