David Fairbairn


1 (612) 337-9357


Professional Experience

Dave is President and a founding attorney of Kinney & Lange. For more than 30 years, Dave has guided clients on all aspects of intellectual property management and protection for patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. As a leader in his field, he has served as a President of the Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association and Chair of the Patent Law Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. His technology experience includes, but is not limited to, aerospace, data storage devices and systems, control systems, electrical and electromechanical, mechanical, medical devices, optical devices and systems, and semiconductor devices and processes.

Dave brings a measured and strategic approach to counsel of both domestic and international IP. He focuses on complex portfolio prosecution and infringement issues that require detailed drafting, thorough clearance and third-party opinions. Dave is also an accomplished litigator in all phases of IP protection, from pre-trial analysis and “Markman” hearings to settlement negotiations, injunctive relief, trials and appeals. Specific expertise includes trademark oppositions and cancellations and international trade commission proceedings. A highlight of his career was serving as lead counsel for SPX Corporation in a patent infringement lawsuit with Snap-On Tools involving automotive test equipment. The case spanned several years, and SPX received a damage award of $44 million in late 2001.

Dave is licensed to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Canadian Intellectual Property Office. He is a frequent lecturer on U.S. patent law and has served as adjunct faculty at local universities for communications law and marketing law. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu Engineering Honors Societies.

As a tournament fisherman, Dave qualified for both the 1994 and 1995 MWC World Walleye Championships. He also is a serious collector of baseball memorabilia. Dave has been ranked in SuperLawyers® every year since its inception.


  • Patent Freedom to Operate Searches, Opinions, Techniques, and Studies, (ABA, 2017), co-author
  • Alice Corporation Pty., Ltd., v. CLS Bank International: Computer Implemented Inventions, The IP Book, Minnesota IP Institute (12th Edition, 2014)
  • Today’s Claim Construction Framework at the Federal Circuit, The IP Book, Minnesota IP Institute (2nd Edition, 2004)
  • The “Written Description” Requirement: Recent Cases and Their Practice Implications, The IP Book, Minnesota IP Institute (2nd Edition, 2004)
  • Reclaiming the Grey Area: Recent Developments in the Recapture Doctrine for Reissue Applications, The IP Book, Minnesota IP Institute (2nd Edition, 2004)
  • Overview of Intellectual Property for Business Lawyers, Kinney & Lange, P.A. (annual)
  • Intellectual Property Law for Business Lawyers, Kinney & Lange, P.A. (annual)

Blog PostsSee All

Kinney & Lange congratulates its 2016 Super Lawyer David R. Fairbairn and Rising Star Austen Zue…

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Kinney & Lange congratulates its 2015 Super Lawyer David R. Fairbairn and Rising Star Austen Zue…

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Community Involvement

  • Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), Volunteer of the Year, 2005

Selected Presentations

  • Regular speaker at Intellectual Property Law Association and Kinney & Lange’s Intellectual Property for Business Lawyers seminar

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel in litigation of patent, trademark, copyright and unfair competition cases in U.S. District Courts throughout the U.S., Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and 8th Circuit and International Trade Commission
  • Prepared and prosecuted several thousand patent applications, including appeals and post-grant proceedings
  • Prepared and prosecuted trademark applications, including appeals, opposition and cancellation proceedings
  • Provided right to practice analyses and opinions related to non-infringement and invalidity of third party patents
  • Negotiated license and settlement agreements relating to intellectual property
  • Testified as expert witness in patent infringement cases