Mark Rawls’ practice consists of a mixture of patent prosecution and litigation, as well as technology-related work such as the preparation of opinions, licensing, and post-grant work. His clients are in a wide range of industries, including such diverse fields as software, telecommunications, energy, medical devices, artificial intelligence and machine learning, and farm equipment manufacturing, and come from all over the world, such as Europe, Japan, and the United States. These companies run the gamut from very small, startups to sophisticated global concerns with large patent portfolios.

Prior to his legal career Mark was a computer scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies, focusing on applying artificial intelligence/machine learning to speech recognition and machine translation technologies. This work also included working carefully with large language models to improve the accuracy of the speech recognition and machine translation models. This industry experience has given him a particular facility with software and software-adjacent technologies, including with artificial intelligence/machine learning. 

In his patent prosecution role, Mark focuses on drafting new patent applications as well as prosecuting existing ones at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and instructing foreign associates in other jurisdictions. Drafting involves working closely with inventors, and, if available, in-house IP counsel, to ensure claims are appropriately tailored to each client’s strategic objectives as well as incorporating the commercial realities of the marketplace. Mark has prepared numerous patent applications dealing with artificial intelligence/machine learning. These include, for example, applications involving different types of machine learning (e.g., deep learning, unsupervised/supervised learning, reinforcement learning, federated learning, split learning, transfer learning, ensemble learning, distributed learning) and neural networks (e.g., artificial neural networks (ANN), convolutional neural networks (CNN), recurrent neural networks (RNN)).

The fundamental undertaking involved in this process is obtaining and organizing the information from the client required to draft a patent. This seemingly-straightforward task is frequently a challenging one, and Mark’s role is to act as a kind of interpreter between stakeholders who speak, and think, in very different ways. Inventors, engineers, and other innovators often don’t understand the legal landscape into which their work must fit, and it is Mark‘s job to harmonize the different voices.

Mark also frequently works with patent examiners during the patent prosecution process. This is an ongoing, complex, and nuanced process of negotiation, adjustment, evaluation of strategy, and communication. For example, in the course of a prosecution, he may be required to determine when and how to amend a claim, when to escalate it, or begin planning for an appeal.

Doing this efficiently is frequently challenging, yet essential to prevent prolonged prosecution. Spending years slowly working through the prosecution process is in nobody’s interest, particularly not the clients. Accordingly, a key part of Mark’s work is determining when, and how, a claim (or claims) should be amended or narrowed in order to facilitate a final determination.

As a litigator, Mark likewise plays a variety of roles at every stage of the proceedings. He is involved in drafting and filing pleadings, conducting research, discovery, and dealing with expert reports on topics such as infringement and validity. As with his prosecution work, litigation requires the strategic integration of execution with a client’s more high-level objectives. One client may seek rapid resolution of a dispute in order to facilitate a transaction or minimize distraction. Another may want to litigate an allegation aggressively, for the sake of setting a precedent or establishing a baseline principle that’s important to the business.

His technical sophistication allows him to assist small companies with the diligence required to obtain funding, and counsel larger companies who are attempting to develop licensing programs or strategic patent portfolios. In this, as in all his work, Mark’s combination of technical knowledge, legal expertise, and strategic thinking make him a valuable contributor to every client’s success. 

Honors & Recognitions

Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2020-2023)


Speaking Engagements


The evolving cryptocurrency patent landscape: who is winning the race?, Financier Worldwide (March 2018)

Fixing Notice Failure: How to Tame the Trolls and Restore Balance to the Patent System, 5 Wm. & Mary Bus. L. Rev. 561 (2014)


J.D., William and Mary Law School (magna cum laude)

M.S., Mathematics, University of Virginia

B.S. Computer Science and Mathematics, University of Virginia (magna cum laude)

Bar & Court Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Court Admissions

  • Department of Veterans Affairs
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
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