Spotlight – Member Firm

Parks Wood LLC, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C.

By: Susan Koval — Nemeth Law, P.C., Detroit, Michigan

Parks Wood is an intellectual property boutique focused exclusively on securing and protecting its clients’ intellectual property assets. To that end, the firm’s attorneys are skilled and experienced in patent and trademark law, as well as in counseling, dispute resolution, portfolio management and licensing.

1. When was the firm founded?

Parks Wood (formerly Parks IP Law and Parks Knowlton) was founded in 2004, and was immediately retained by its first corporate client. Since its founding, the firm has gone on to represent a number of Fortune 500® and Fortune Global 500® pace-setting organizations, along with universities, and mid-size and smaller companies. The firm lives its core values of respect for one another and for clients, professional fulfillment, integrity, and expertise. These values have served us well, as the firm has earned the position of preferred counsel for multi-national corporations with considerable intellectual property holdings and highly active portfolios. Today the firm has ten attorneys, a patent agent, a technical specialist (Bioengineering Ph.D.), and a dedicated staff. In the Fall of 2014, the firm celebrated its 10th anniversary and was renamed Parks Wood.

2. Who are the founding shareholders?

Cynthia Parks is the founding shareholder of Parks Wood. After 15 years in the power systems, software, and consulting industries, Cynthia completed her law degree and entered private practice in the intellectual property group of Kilpatrick Stockton LLP (now, Kilpatrick Townsend). She left that firm for an in-house position with Cingular Wireless (now AT&T), where she helped to continue the development of that company’s intellectual property portfolio by prosecuting patent applications and licensing technology related to wireless hardware, software, and networks. Although the in-house role with the leading telecommunications carrier was challenging and rewarding, Cynthia returned to private practice in 2004 for the opportunity to chart her own course by starting a new firm. Parks Wood is currently led by partners Cynthia Parks, Theodore Wood, Collen Beard and Mickki Murray.

3. What makes the Parks Wood team so special?

The Parks Wood firm places service and quality first. One of the catalysts for founding the firm was the recognition that attention to the objectives of clients, and emphasis on quality of assets and outcomes makes for a more fulfilling practice and more satisfied clients and employees, so profits will follow. We take the time to get to know our clients’ businesses and industries, and tailor our advice to help in-house counsel generate value.

Parks Wood attorneys bring mature and varied insights to the firm, most having worked in a variety of industries, which yields a well-rounded experience base. The firm’s attorneys have held management, engineering or life science related positions with entities such as AT&T/Lucent Bell Laboratories, Repligen, Florida Power Corporation, Georgia Power, Johnson Controls, Eli Lilly, 3M, Caterpillar, Duke Power, General Motors, and the United States Air Force. Several also have worked as in-house IP counsel, or in temporary secondments with corporations such as BioCure, The Coca-Cola Company, and General Electric. Two of the firm’s attorneys have served as Examiners with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Our firm also has a strong commitment to its community. Each year, we gather to mark the Martin Luther King Day of Service by undertaking a project that benefits a local cause. Firm attorneys have worked with local theater companies, as Guardians ad Litem in custody matters, and with the Georgia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts.

With backgrounds ranging from soap opera sets to the U.S. military, the integrated teams at Parks Wood blend the accomplished abilities of attorneys and paralegals who have earned decades of intellectual property law experience with the fresh perspectives of patent agents and younger attorneys.

4. What are the firm’s significant areas of practice?

Parks Wood’s practice is focused entirely on intellectual property, an area of the law developed to protect the product of creative imagination as well as intensive research and development. The umbrella of intellectual property chiefly encompasses the broad categories of trademark, patent, and copyright law. Trademark law is focused on the regulation and protection of source indicators, such as product brands or company names. Patent law protects inventions or discoveries, while copyright law protects the fixed expression of creative works of authorship.

5. How did your firm become involved in NAMWOLF? Why did you join?

The firm became aware of NAMWOLF within the first few years of its founding. As soon as the firm reached the 5-year mark required by NAMWOLF’s qualification standards, admission to NAMWOLF became a priority. We knew how beneficial membership would be for our practice, particularly, the ability to share with and learn from similarly-situated law firms who also work with world-class corporations.

6. Why is diversity important to your firm?

Parks Wood is a WBENC-certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified with the National Minority Supplier Development Counsel (NMSDC) through its Georgia affiliate – GMSDC. The firm was founded by diverse lawyers with a singular purpose of providing skilled attorneys a hospitable and positive environment in which they can develop extraordinary careers and reputations as they diligently serve sophisticated clients. The firm is proud of the diversity of attorneys and other professionals who have chosen to join the team. Their diverse talents contribute to the firm’s success in providing the most comprehensive, apt and effective solutions to the variety and complexity of legal issues that our clients face. Their diverse backgrounds furnish a rich spectrum of perspectives that improve the quality of counsel that we render.

7. What has been your involvement with NAMWOLF? For how long?

The firm joined NAMWOLF in 2014. Since joining NAMWOLF, firm members have attended the 2014 business meeting in Miami, the 2014 annual meeting in Philadelphia, the 2015 business meeting in San Antonio, and will also attend the 2015 annual meeting in Hollywood. Parks Wood is an active member of the Intellectual Property PAC, has submitted a proposal for one CLE so far, and regularly contributes articles to the NAMWOLF newsletter.

Susan Koval is an accomplished trial attorney who represents management in employment law matters. Entering her 30th year practicing law, Ms. Koval has attained the Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent© rating and has been selected to the Michigan Super Lawyers list in the employment litigation practice area for many years. She is a partner at Nemeth Law, the largest woman-owned law firm in Michigan to exclusively represent management in the prevention, resolution and litigation of labor and employment disputes.