David Kelly has represented clients in trademark, copyright, and unfair competition issues for more than 30 years, with a focus on litigation, disputes, and strategic counseling. Dave is consistently recognized as one of the country’s top trademark lawyers. In June 2017, The Legal 500 U.S. named Dave as a Leading Lawyer, Legal 500’s top category, in both trademark litigation and non-contentious trademark matters for the tenth consecutive year. This highest honor was bestowed upon only 9 lawyers across the country in each category, and during the past decade Dave was either the only U.S. trademark lawyer or one of only two lawyers named a Leading Lawyer in both categories. In March 2017, Dave was named to the inaugural Legal 500 Hall of Fame, a recognition reserved for lawyers recognized by Legal 500’s as one of the elite leading lawyers in a practice area for six consecutive years. Only 11 trademark lawyers in the US were recognized for trademark litigation and for trademark non-contentious, and Dave was the only lawyer named to the Legal 500 Hall of Fame in both trademark categories. According to Legal 500, clients describe Dave as “an outstanding trademark litigator” and “an exceptionally bright and thoughtful advocate.” Clients also look to Dave for strategic advice based on his reputation for being “full of business savvy” and “a source of much practical advice…that understands our business in a way that most lawyers don’t.” In 2018, World Trademark Review 1000 (WTR 1000) named Dave one of the top 10 lawyers nationwide for trademark enforcement and litigation, and one of the top 9 lawyers nationwide for trademark prosecution and strategy. Dave was one of only three lawyers named to both categories in WTR 1000’s top national band of trademark lawyers. According to client feedback in WTR 1000, Dave is “arguably the best trademark practitioner in the country”; a lawyer who “maintains strong relationships with massive brands and has built a stunning firm around him”; "fantastic and practical"; a "superb lawyer" with a "transnational reputation" who "is massively experienced, has a fantastically clear grasp of things and is an eminently practical and skilled negotiator" and whose "substantial proficiency and estimable business acumen single him out in the field” and "his real-world advice doesn't elevate law above business." Dave has been similarly recognized by Managing Intellectual Property, IP Stars, Legal Media Group, WIPR, Super Lawyers, and others.

Before joining Kelly IP, Dave practiced trademark and copyright law for 26 years at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P in Washington, D.C. He served as chair of Finnegan’s Trademark and Copyright Practice Group for most of his 20-plus years as a partner.

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  • Enforced AstraZeneca’s single-color “purple” trademark against two generic pharma companies, obtaining TROs and preliminary injunctions on both infringement and dilution grounds along with a fame finding for AstraZeneca’s mark (D. Del.)

  • Represented Aston Martin in multiple litigations to enforce its iconic grille and side vent designs (C.D. Cal.)

  • Obtained summary judgment on cybersquatting claim resulting in transfer of the domain name TRAVELLERS.COM to Travelers (E.D. Va.), affirmed by Fourth Circuit

  • Obtained cancellation of registration for MONSTER MEMORY AND MORE for “memory cards” based on likelihood of confusion with Monster Cable’s MONSTER mark while earning first fame ruling for MONSTER mark (TTAB 2013)

  • For Harley-Davidson, obtained TRO and preliminary injunctions against a trademark licensee’s unauthorized use of the licensed marks in Europe (E.D. Wis.), affirmed by Seventh Circuit

  • Defeated preliminary injunction motion filed by the owner of the mark SOOTHIES for breast feeding pads to enjoin the sale of SOOTHIE baby bottles and nipples (E.D. Va.)

  • Defeated preliminary injunction motion filed by Wells Fargo subsidiary H.D. Vest, Inc. to enjoin defendant from using his personal name H.D. Vest in business names (N. D. Tex.)

  • Successfully opposed an application for the mark INQUEST for database and research software based on likelihood of confusion with the registered mark PROQUEST for information retrieval products and services.

  • Obtained a reversal of a refusal to register the certification mark CERTIFIED THERAPEUTIC RECREATION SPECIALIST for recreational therapy services on the grounds that the mark was generic or descriptive without secondary meaning.

  • Following a jury verdict that use of the mark CITIZENS BANK infringed the senior user’s rights in the mark CITIZENS for banking services, obtained a reversal on appeal of the district court’s refusal to enjoin the infringer.

  • Obtained a TRO for Yahoo! enjoining the defendants from using the domain name 21yahoo.com for a website at which it was offering free stock in 21Yahoo.com, Inc.

  • Obtained a TRO against the mark SMALL LEADING HOTELS OF THE WORLD for hotel-marketing services based on the mark SMALL LUXURY HOTELS OF THE WORLD for the same services.

  • Defeated a motion for preliminary injunction against the mark ALTAVISTA for Internet search-engine services based on the mark ALTAVISTA for publishing services.


Professional Recognition

  • Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. as one of the top 10 Leading Lawyers in the U.S. for both trademark litigation and non-contentious trademark law (2008-2015), the only lawyer named on both lists during 2009-2013 and one of only two lawyers named during 2014-2015.

  • Recognized by World Trademark Review 1000 as one of the top 22-27 trademark lawyers in the U.S. for contentious work (2012-2016); and one of the top 5-9 trademark lawyers in Washington DC area for contentious work (2011-2016) and non-contentious work (2016).

  • Recognized as an "IP Star" by Managing Intellectual Property (2014-2015).

  • Shortlisted for Managing Intellectual Property's 2016 "Outstanding IP Litigator Award" in the Washington DC area (Dave was one of only seven lawyers shortlisted for this award, and one of two trademark lawyers).

  • Recognized by Super Lawyers as one of the top IP Litigation lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area (2013-2015).

  • Recognized for filing the second highest number of UDRP Complaints with the National Arbitration Forum by attorney (2013).

  • Recognized among top 25 U.S. trademark experts in Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides to the Leading U.S. Lawyers—Best of the Best USA (2007, 2009, 2011).

  • Recognized among top U.S. trademark lawyers in the Guide to the World’s Leading Trademark Law Practitioners (Top 10—2006, Top 25—2008, Top 15—2010).

  • Recognized as one of the top 15 Leading Trademark Law Practitioners in the world in Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Trade Mark Practitioners (2010).

  • Recognized by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the top IP lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area (2009, 2011, 2014).

  • Recognized by Chambers USA as a top intellectual property lawyer in the Washington, DC area (2015)

  • Recognized by Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) Magazine as one of 300 leading IP Strategists worldwide (2009-2012).

  • Recognized by Legal Times as one of the top 10 “Leading Lawyers” in trademark and copyright in the Washington, DC area (2008).

  • Recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the top 3 IP lawyers in the Washington, D.C. area (2008).

  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal for Trademarks (2002-2015)

  • Recognized by Who’s Who Legal for Information Technology (2014)

  • Three-time recipient of the Burton Award for excellence in legal writing (2002, 2005, 2010).

  • Selected to serve on the Panel of Neutrals assemble by WIPO at the inception of the Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy

Professional Activities

  • District of Columbia Bar

  • American Bar Association

  • International Trademark Association


Select Publications

  • Case Study: GoPets v. Hise,” Law360, Nov. 15, 2011.

  • Coauthor. “Twenty Years of Rogers v. Grimaldi: Balancing the Lanham Act with the First Amendment Rights of Creators of Artistic Works,” The Trademark Reporter, Nov./Dec. 2009.

  • Coauthor. “Why Trademark and Copyright Counsel Should Heed the Patent Precedent of the Supreme Court,” Landslide, Nov./Dec. 2009.

  • Coauthor. “Has the Law of Fair Use Caught Up with Keyword Litigation?” Advertising Age, May 20, 2009.

  • Coauthor. “2008 Trademark Decisions of the Federal Circuit,” American University Law Review, April 2009.

  • Coauthor. “Statutory Damages Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act,” BNA’s Electronic Commerce and Law Report, June 11, 2008.

  • Coauthor. “Wikipedia: More than Just a Footnote for Lawsuits,” Law360, Jan. 15, 2008.


Bar and Court Admissions
  • District of Columbia

  • Louisiana

  • Pennsylvania


  • Duquesne University School of Law, J.D., 1983

  • University of Pittsburgh, M.S., Civil Engineering, 1980

  • University of Pittsburgh, B.S., Civil Engineering, 1979