Paul Brinkman is an intellectual property partner in the Washington, D.C., office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Paul focuses his practice on Section 337 litigation before the U.S. International Trade Commission. He has won 17 of 19 trials at the ITC and won or favorably settled many more prior to trial. He is described in Chambers 2017 as a “first chair trial attorney with a distinguished track record in handling false advertising, patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets cases,” while the current edition applauds his “calm, practical and reasonable demeanor which works well with ITC judges.” His work for plaintiffs has led to orders excluding competitors’ products from the United States and high-value settlements and license agreements. On the defensive side, he has a near perfect track record of wins following trial, has caused several complainants to abandon their cases prior to the hearing and has even persuaded the ITC to decline to institute an investigation.

Paul has been profiled twice by Law360 as an “International Trade MVP”—first as a key participant in the global smartphone patent wars and more recently for creatively pushing the ITC’s jurisdictional boundaries into new types of claims. He has worked in a wide variety of technologies, from faucet designs, table saws and bed linens to GPS systems, gyroscopes and semiconductors. Chambers called his work “unflappable, measured, and technically superb,” while IAM Patent 1000 praised his “calm demeanor—a serious strength in the fast-paced confines of ITC litigation.”

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Paul came to the ITC from a trade-law background, and has worked extensively over his entire career with Customs and Border Protection, the agency charged with enforcement of the ITC’s exclusion orders. Paul has tried several customs disputes before the Court of International Trade, and is also skilled in working informally with Customs to secure enforcement against his adversaries’ products and safe passage for his clients’ redesigns. He served as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Customs Law Committee from 2007–2009 and on the Steering Committee of the D.C. Bar’s International Section from 2006–2009.

Paul began his legal career at Kirkland, and previously led Quinn Emanuel and Alston & Bird’s ITC practices before returning to the firm in 2017. Paul is a life fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and is currently listed in Who’s Who Legal, Super Lawyers, IAM, and The Best Lawyers in America.

Paul serves as board chair for Education For Hope, a charity providing educational assistance to West Africa and on the board of the Scholarship Fund for Alexandria and the Legal Aid Justice Center’s advisory council. Prior to his legal career, he worked for two U.S. senators.



Recognized by The Legal 500 United States as a Leading Lawyer for Patent Litigation: International Trade Commission, 2018

Recognized by Law360 as an International Trade MVP, 2013, 2016

Nationally ranked by Chambers & Partners as a leading Section 337 practitioner, 2008–Present

Listed in Who's Who Legal, Patent and Trade & Customs, 2009–Present

Ranked in The Best Lawyers in America®, 2009–Present

Recognized by Washington D.C. Super Lawyers, 2012–Present

Listed in the International Who's Who of Patent Lawyers, 2012–Present

Named to IAM's The World's Leading Patent Practitioners 1000, 2012–Present

Memberships & Affiliations

Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2009–Present

Barrister, The Lyles Rich Inn of Court, 2014–Present

Co-Chair, American Bar Association, Customs Law Committee, 2007–2009

Member, The District of Columbia Bar—International Section, Steering Committee, 2006–2009


Admissions & Qualifications

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia (inactive)


  • University of Virginia School of LawJ.D.1993

    Editorial Board Member, Virginia Law Review, 1992–1993

    Editorial Board Member, Virginia Journal of International Law, 1992–1993

  • Cambridge UniversityM.Phil.1989
  • Yale UniversityB.A.1988