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Robert Burns
+1 571 203 2736

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
  • Illinois
  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • John Marshall Law School
    J.D., cum laude, 1995
  • Purdue University
    B.S., Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, 1990

Robert Burns


Robert Burns concentrates on patent litigation. He has amassed experience in more than 100 litigations in the federal district courts, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He regularly litigates in the most popular patent venues in the country, including the E.D. Virginia, E.D. Texas, N.D. California, and the D. Delaware.

The technologies involved in these litigations run the gamut. He regularly deals with complicated issues involving the Internet and web technologies, semiconductors, airplane engines, automobiles, consumer electronics, smartphones, voice (VoIP) and data-networking systems, medical devices, sporting goods, jewelry, paper and woven fibers, beverages, lottery, gaming and gambling systems, motion-picture films and digital-sound systems, and consumer appliances.

Mr. Burns has considerable trial experience as a first- and second-chair litigator, as well as recognized proficiency in handling discovery, oral argument, and trial management. He manages the day-to-day operations of patent litigations and develops and implements litigation strategies. His diverse practice includes experience with post-grant proceedings including inter partes review (IPR) proceedings, covered business methods (CBMs), and reexaminations. He also regularly handles nonpracticing entity defense cases for clients. Of his cases, more than 30 have entailed successfully defending against nonpracticing entities seeking compensation for their patents. In the international arena, he has successfully enforced intellectual property rights in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Germany.

Mr. Burns serves as a professor at the National Trial Advocacy College where he instructs junior lawyers on trial technique and at George Mason Law School where he lectures on patent litigation each spring. He also serves as the director of the U.S. Patent Litigation Training Program for Asian Corporations where he teaches attendees on all aspects of patent litigation.

Before joining Finnegan, Mr. Burns worked as an aerospace engineer for General Dynamics and Boeing. He served as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Computer and Information Law.

He also served as the research assistant for the Honorable Howard Markey, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Mr. Burns regularly represents clients pro bono in both civil and criminal matters, including espionage and homicide cases.


  • Interval Licensing v. AOL, Inc. (W.D. Wash.). Successfully defended AOL against patent infringement allegations involving Internet email and instant-messaging (IM) systems. Plaintiff is appealing an adverse claim construction and indefiniteness ruling.
  • Site-Update Solutions v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car (N.D. Cal.). Successfully defended Enterprise against patent infringement allegations by Acacia involving an Internet reservation system for car rentals. Plaintiff dismissed the case after the judge declared his intention to invalidate the patent claims for indefiniteness at the claim construction hearing.
  • Rolls-Royce PLC v. United Technologies Corporation (d/b/a Pratt & Whitney) (E.D. Va.). Successfully defended UTC in a $3.4 billion lawsuit involving fan blades for gas-turbine engines. Developed and pursued the winning noninfringement defense and won the case on summary judgment.
  • Netscape v. ValueClick (E.D. Va.). Successfully enforced an Internet cookies patent in the online advertising space.
  • Biax v. Intel (E.D. Tex.). Successfully enforced processor patents against Intel Pentium chips. Case settled during trial for a confidential amount.
  • Courtesy Products v. Royal Cup (D. Del.). Successfully enforced design and utility patents against coffee makers distributed by Royal Cup and its manufacturer.
  • Maytag v. LG (S.D. Iowa). Successfully defended LG against patent infringement allegations involving LG's washing machines and dryers.
  • Drexler Technology Corp. v. Sony Corp. (N.D. Cal.). Successfully defended Sony and 28 motion-picture studios and theater chains against patent-infringement allegations involving digital-sound technology used in films. Case won on summary judgment.
  • Hyundai Electronics v. Siemens (E.D. Va.). Enforced semiconductor patents. Case settled for a confidential amount.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as a Virginia "Super Lawyer" in Intellectual Property Litigation, Super Lawyers published by Thomson Reuters, 2006-2008.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Computer Law Association

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