Rick Waterman’s practice includes patent litigation, post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB), patent prosecution, the preparation of a wide range of opinions, and counseling. His clients are in industries ranging from chemical companies to biological and pharmaceutical technologies concerns, as well as LED technologies. 

Prior to the inception of his legal career, Rick was awarded an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and has professional lab experience in chemistry, genetics, computer programming, and computational biology. He also served as a federal law enforcement officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. In that role, he enforced the regulations of more than 90 federal agencies to prevent smuggling, terrorist intrusion, immigration violations, and importation of restricted items. He has researched trademarks, copyrights, and licensing through cooperation with corporate intellectual property attorneys.

This background has given Rick an unusual boots-on-the-ground understanding of the impact of intellectual property law, as well as the specifics of its enforcement. This knowledge carries through to every aspect of his current practice. As a litigation associate, his responsibilities include drafting pleadings and infringement charts, preparing witnesses for depositions, and analysis of contracts and licenses. 

A significant portion of Rick’s practice is devoted to opinion work. This includes developing and analyzing patentability and freedom to operate search results, execution of searches for prior art, invalidity analysis, and contract analysis. 

This work has critical commercial locations.  The essence of opinion work is determining both risks and opportunities for commercialization of products or technologies. On the risk side, client need to understand the likelihood of competitors asserting patent infringement claims against them: this is freedom to operate analysis. On the opportunity side, clients also need to understand both the protections and strategic benefits patent protection of a product can offer. Patentability searches answer this question. The key to cost-effectively arriving at a workable strategy is development of an approach to research that balances cost, thoroughness, and risk.

As a practitioner, Rick excels at understanding new concepts and ideas rapidly, which allows him to grasp novel inventions and work with cutting edge technologies, even in fields beyond his formal technical background. He’s also skilled at explaining complex legal arguments and intricate technologies in a clear, understandable, and compelling manner. This ability, combined with a high level of emotional intelligence, allows him to create strong relationships, which facilitate his work. 

In a sentence, Rick is a versatile, capable, and highly adoptable legal professional whose ability to work with rapidly evolving technologies in a complex legal and business environment makes him a valuable asset both to Rothwell Figg and to the clients he serves.



J.D., The George Washington University Law School (high honors)

B.A., Washington University in St. Louis (summa cum laude)

Bar & Court Admissions

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • California
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