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Erika Harmon Arner
+1 571 203 2754

Two Freedom Square
11955 Freedom Drive
Reston, VA 20190-5675

+1 571 203 2700
Fax +1 202 408 4400

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • Washington and Lee University School of Law
    J.D., cum laude, 1999
  • College of William and Mary
    B.S., Computer Science, 1993

Erika Harmon Arner


Erika Arner chairs Finnegan's patent office practice. She focuses on patent office trials, patent prosecution management, client counseling, and litigation, with an emphasis on electronic technology, computer software, and the Internet.

Ms. Arner has served as lead counsel for both patent owners and petitioners in more than 50 post-grant review (PGR) and inter partes review (IPR) trials before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She has also argued and won appeals from PTAB trials to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, many of which involve issues of first impression in this emerging area of patent law.

In addition to her extensive experience in patent office practice, Ms. Arner is a well-known authority in the area of business method patents and patent-eligibility jurisprudence. She represented the petitioners before the U.S. Supreme Court in Bilski v. Kappos, and has advised clients on issues related to patentable subject matter before the Federal Circuit, U.S. district courts, and the USPTO. Ms. Arner is a frequent author and lecturer on business method and computer-related patents and practice before the PTAB.


  • Square, Inc. v. Cooper (PTAB). Represented petitioner Square, Inc. in three IPR proceedings; argued and won decisions finding unpatentable all claims challenged by Square.
  • Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. v. Fifth Market Inc. (PTAB). Represented CME as petitioner; PTAB issued final written decision finding unpatentable all of the claims challenged in CBM petition.
  • SAP v. Versata Software (Fed. Cir., PTAB). Lead counsel for SAP in the first PGR review of a covered business method (CBM) patent; argued and won Federal Circuit affirmance of PTAB ruling that all claims challenged by SAP were invalid under 35 USC § 101.
  • Bilski v. Kappos (S. Ct.). Represented Bilski as petitioner; coauthored successful petition for a writ of certiorari and petitioner's merits briefs resulting in Court's ruling that business methods cannot be excluded from patenting per se.
  • Research Corp. Techs v. Microsoft (Fed Cir.). Represented patent owner RCT as appellant; reversed summary judgment of invalidity, with court ruling that RCT patent claimed patentable subject matter of processing digital images.
  • Serves as a member of the firm's management committee.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. for patent prosecution for utility and design, 2013-2015.
  • Recognized by Managing Intellectual Property as an "Outstanding IP Litigator—Virginia", 2014-2015; one of the "Top 250 Women in IP", 2013-2014; and "IP Star" in Reston, VA, 2013-2015.
  • Recognized as a leading patent prosecutor in the D.C. area, 2013-2015; and nationally for post-grant procedures by Intellectual Asset Management, 2014-2015.
  • Recognized by Law360 as a rising star in intellectual property, 2011.

Professional Activities

  • Intellectual Property Owners Association (vice chair, Patent Office Practice Committee, 2012-2014; vice chair, Software and Business Method Patents Committee, 2009-2011)
  • American Bar Association (patents editor, Landslide® magazine,
    2012-2014; lead patents editor, Annual Review of Intellectual Property Developments, 2010-2012)
  • Virginia State Bar (Intellectual Property Section Board of Governors,
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association (Amicus Brief Committee, 2014-2015; Professional Programs Committee 2014-2015)

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