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William H. Needle, Esq.

T: 404-588-0900


Available to hear cases nationwide.
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William H. Needle, Esq. is a registered patent attorney who has been exclusively practicing all aspects of Intellectual Property law for over 44 years. Mr. Needle began his legal career at the first IP boutique firm in Atlanta (Newton, Hopkins & Orsmby) from 1970-1983 when he then founded the IP boutique Needle & Rosenberg which, in 2008, merged into Ballard Spahr LLP. He served as the first Chair of Ballard’s Intellectual Property Department from 2008 – 2012 and currently remains a partner in the firm.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

Mr. Needle is an effective IP mediator and arbitrator with a unique confluence of attributes and background. These include expertise in the subject matter, communication skills honed through managing his own firm and later Ballard Spahr's IP Department, more than 20 years' service as an adjunct professor at several law schools, and experience in developing alternative business solutions for his clients.

Since 1995, Mr. Needle has been mediating and arbitrating cases dealing with a wide array of intellectual property matters, including:


  • Patent infringement in such diverse arts as printed electronic wiring boards, road-working machines, long distance calling cards, mining equipment and fishing line;
  • Trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices, counterfeit goods, cybersquatting and dilution, with such matters as a name dispute between two universities and trademark infringement involving dietary supplements;
  • Copyright infringement cases involving product packaging and software programs;
  • Breach of contracts, including software purchase agreements and patent and trademark licensing agreements; and
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets, including those associated with an energy accounting and scheduling system.


  • Current Chair of an arbitration panel which has issued a Markman Order on patent claims directed to the mining industry; 
  • Served as the Arbitrator in a matter involving theft of trade secrets and claims under the Securities Act for breach of fiduciary duties; and
  • Chair of an arbitration panel which dealt with the validity and infringement of several patents relating to beverage containers and including the entry of a Markman Order

Special Master

Mr. Needle has been appointed by several federal judges to serve as a Special Master in several patent infringement cases, including one in which his recommendations on validity and infringement of the patents-in-suit were adopted by the Judge and affirmed by the Federal Circuit which referred to the “thorough and exhaustive recommendations of the special master.” Recently, finding his recommended Markman Order to be "well-founded, consistent with the evidence presented and supported by the law," Senior Judge Charles A. Pannell, Jr. adopted it as the Court's order in UCB, Inc. et al. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (N.D. Ga.).  

Additional Experience

His litigation experience includes being counsel in the copyright and trademark litigation for the CABBAGE PATCH KIDS® dolls and the State of Georgia in infringement cases involving the VIDALIA® onion trademark, as well as patent infringement actions involving diverse technologies. Mr. Needle served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Georgia for intellectual property law issues for more than 30 years

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

  • Recipient of the 2015 IP Legends Award which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to intellectual property, including in business law and education. It is jointly awarded by Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, the IP Section of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association.
  • Chair, committee that drafted model trademark jury instructions for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (appointed by Judge William S. Duffey, N.D. Ga.), 2011–2012 
  • Member, committee that formulated Local Rules of Practice for Patent Cases before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 2003–2004
  • Founding Board Member and Co-Chair, IP Law Section of the Atlanta Bar Association, 2007-2008
  • Received the highest ranking as a first-tier intellectual property attorney in Georgia in Chambers USA America's Leading Business Lawyers, annually from 2003-present, where he has been referred to as: being “widely recognized as a leader in dispute resolution. He has extensive experience across patent, trademark and copyright litigation, and is sought after as a mediator and arbitrator” (2011 Edition); and as “an expert in patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law, as well as an active teacher on the subject, with adjunct professorships at two universities.” (2010 Edition).
  • Selected by his peers as one of the Best intellectual Property Lawyers in Atlanta, The Best Lawyers in America, annually since 1992 
  • Named a Georgia “Super Lawyer,” Atlanta Magazine, annually since 2004
  • “Highly Recommended Individual,” Intellectual Property, Which Lawyer, Practical Law Company (PLC), annually since 2008
  • Best of U.S. Intellectual Property Attorneys in Georgia, annually since 2007
  • Named an "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine, April 2013
  • Who’s Who Legal, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, Patent Law, annually from 2007-present
  • Named one of Georgia Trend magazine’s “Legal Elite,” annually since 2003
  • "Highly Recommended Individual, Intellectual Property", Which Lawyer, Practical Law Company (PLC), annually since 2008
  • Who's Who Legal, The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers, Patent Law, annually from 2007-present
  • Academy of Court-Appointed Masters
  • Fellow, Lawyers Foundation, State Bar of Georgia
  • Master, Atlanta IP Inn of Court, 2010 to present
  • Certified "Memphis in May" Barbecue Judge 

Teaching Positions (Adjunct Professor)

  • Patent Law (1983-1997) and Licensing Law (1998-2009), Emory University School of Law
  • Patent Law, Georgia State University School of Law, 1991-2011
  • Patent Law, University of Georgia School of Law, 1985-1987
  • Intellectual Property Law, Charleston School of Law, 1996

Advisory Boards

  • Technological Innovation: Generating Economic Results (TI:GER), a collaborative program between Georgia Tech and Emory Law School, 2006-present
  • School of Biomedical Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2005-present
  • College of Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2005-present
  • School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2008-present
  • Emory Law School's IP Society, 2010-present


Background and Education

  • J.D., Emory University School of Law, 1970
  • B.S. in Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1967