Pennsylvania Continues to Lead the Way in Natural Gas Production

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”), Pennsylvania has seen the biggest gain in U.S. natural gas production and production is expected to continue to rise.

The EIA’s Natural Gas Annual indicates that the marketed production of natural gas reached more than 4.8 million cubic feet in 2015, an increase from 4.2 million cubic feet the previous year. By the end of 2015, Pennsylvania had more than 68,000 producing gas wells, up by nearly a thousand from 2014.

There has been record natural gas production levels for five straight years, despite current low natural gas prices.

Click here to read the entire Pittsburgh Business Times article.



Congratulations to the New President of Duquesne University

Spilman is thrilled to congratulate Ken Gormley, J.D., on his installation as Duquesne University’s 13th president.

Ken has had a long and distinguished legal career and follows in the footsteps of other attorneys turned presidents including University of Pittsburgh’s Mark Nordenberg, West Virginia University’s E. Gordon Gee, St. Vincent College’s James Towey and John Murray, Duquesne’s 11th president.

With Ken at the helm, Duquesne is poised for continued growth and success.


Protecting a Precious Asset- Your Trademarks (or Your Brands): Part Three in Our Trademark Series

In our last article, we explained trademark filings for showing continuous use of a mark.

This third article in our trademark series explains renewal applications and practical suggestions for the trademark owner to avoid losing trademark protection for its marks.

Click here to learn about when you must renew, how to renew and the evidence you must provide for renewals.

By William P. Smith



Sharing a Bit of History – Spilman Guides Tour of Historic Baseball Sites

It was a beautiful day in Pittsburgh for the historical baseball parks tour Spilman Managing partner Ron Schuler led for Spilman clients and friends. Schuler was part of the team that brought PNC Park to life and provided a “behind the scenes” view of the site selection process for the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“We’re looking at Pittsburgh urban history as well as baseball history,” said Schuler.  “Where people have played and watched the game of baseball in Pittsburgh reveals a lot about what it has meant to the city over the last 150 years, and how it has been valued as an institution at various times in the city’s history.  Plus, there are a lot of fun stories to tell about ballplayers, owners and politicians, and their connections to these old sites.”

If you are so inclined, and you happen to be on Facebook, please consider giving the Grand Baseball Tour a “like.”


Ron Schuler Weighs in on Law Firms, Leadership and Pittsburgh

Ronald W. Schuler, Member in Charge of Spilman’s Pittsburgh office, was recently asked about the impact of Pittsburgh’s law firm leadership being located outside of the city. It’s a trend that has materialized with two of Pittsburgh’s largest law firms, but has been avoided by Spilman.

Schuler was interviewed by the Pittsburgh Business Times regarding his take on how outside leadership can impact the city. According to Schuler, “One of the inevitable consequences is leadership shifts outside of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh becomes de-emphasized to some degree.” He continues, “When the leadership of a law firm is in Pittsburgh, it’s more likely those firms will play a role in or have influence here. If it isn’t, it’s harder for that to occur. The things law firm leaders did in the 1980s and 1990s, participating in the birth of technology and starting business opportunities, were because they were in Pittsburgh. When firms become more nationalized or delocalized, that begins to fall away.”

Examples of the impacts can be seen with other industries. “You might have local leaders but leadership and influence run from the top of the firm and that’s the danger we face,” Schuler said. “I don’t say it’s the end of the world. But it’s akin to what happened to the corporate sector. You could see it in Pittsburgh that large CEOs felt a duty to collaborate. You don’t see that same paternal approach over trying to improve the city when leadership changes from local to national and international.”

So what do the largest firms have to say about this trend? Click here to read the entire article.

62 Spilman Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers 2017

We are pleased to announce that 62 of the firm’s attorneys were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2017 directory of leading attorneys.

The Best Lawyers in America, published by Woodward White, Inc., is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 55,000 leading attorneys cast more than 6.7 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. More information on the research process can be found at

A wide variety of Spilman attorneys from all of our locations were selected by their peers in their respective areas of practice. Click here to read the entire list.

Maintaining Your Trademark Registrations-Part 2

Once you have obtained a U.S federal trademark registration, you must take certain steps to maintain the registration or else you risk losing your trademark protection. We now discuss a key step in maintaining your federal trademark registration—showing use of your trademark.

Our last article explained that certain post-registration documents and fees are required to maintain a U.S. trademark in force. In this article, we discuss the requirements for filing the Affidavit of Use under Section 8, and the specimens that go along with the Affidavit of Use.

Click here to read the second part of maintaining trademark registrations.

By William P. Smith



How to Maintain Your Trademark Registrations

This article explains filing deadlines and document requirements for maintaining federal trademark registrations with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). The documentation for establishing proof of continued use of your mark, registration renewals and establishing the incontestability of your mark are all explained in this first article of the series. Special requirements for international registrations will also be discussed.

Click here to read the entire article.

By William P. Smith


Congratulations to the 2016 Athena Award Finalists

Congratulations to all of the finalists for the 2016 Athena Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development created the award to focus on three attributes – professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women.

The finalists for the traditional Athena Award are:

  • Audrey Dunning, CEO, Summa Technologies Inc.
  • Kelly Gray, senior vice president, Human Resources, FedEx Ground
  • Diana Reid, executive vice president, PNC Real Estate
  • Tracy Vitale, superintendent of schools, Seneca Valley School District
  • Yvette Williams, senior patient advocate/program manager, Allegheny Health Network/The Open Door Inc.

Finalists for the Athena Young Professional Award, presented to a woman age 35 or younger, are:

  • Marteen Garay, director of entrepreneurship programming, Urban Innovation21
  • Caitlin Green, vice president, PNC Bank
  • Katie Kopczynski, marketing analyst, Eaton Corp.

The annual luncheon ceremony will be held September 26.

You can read more about the Athena Awards by clicking here.


Post-Brexit: EU and UK Intellectual Property Protection

Many U.S. companies rely on foreign intellectual property protection for their inventions, including, of course, the European Union (“EU”).

European Patent Organization (“EPO”) President Benoit Battistelli issued a brief statement today on the U.K. referendum voted in on June 23, 2016. President Benoit’s statement indicates that the outcome of the referendum, i.e., the vote in favor of Brexit, has no consequence on the membership of the U.K. in the EPO. The Brexit vote will have no effect on European patents in the U.K. The EPO anticipates that the U.K. and EPO member states will resolve the Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court soon to allow full implementation of these long-delayed provisions.

European Community (“EC”) trademarks and designs are still valid in the U.K. There will be no immediate loss of protection. When the U.K. withdraws from the EU, trademark and design protection in the U.K. may be subject to validation or conversion procedures. There will be no loss of priority associated with such validation or conversion.

Please contact our Intellectual Property Group if you have legal questions with respect to European patent or trademark protection following the Brexit vote.

By William P. Smith