Sara Tonnies Horton

Partner

Chicago
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
300 North LaSalle Dr.
Chicago, IL 60654-3406
T 312 728 9040
F 312 728 9199
shortonwillkie.com

Sara Tonnies Horton is co-chair of the Patent & Other IP Litigation Practice Group and focuses her practice on complex civil and intellectual property litigation in courts around the country, particularly patent and technology-related litigation matters.  Sara has represented clients in complex disputes involving a variety of technologies including pharmaceuticals, polymers, packaging, display systems, alloys and food manufacturing. In addition to patent matters, Sara has tried antitrust, actuarial malpractice, anti-dumping and transshipment, and other types of cases to juries. She also has experience before the PTAB and currently serves as co-chair of the Amicus Committee of the PTAB Bar Association.

Chambers USA (2022) recognizes Sara as among the leading practitioners in the area of Intellectual Property and states that "Sara's acumen in the courtroom well outpaces that of opposing counsel time and time again. Sara is an in-house counsel's dream – she is exceptional at framing complex legal matters in an easy to decipher manner." Additionally, in 2019, she was recognized by The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin as one of the 40 best lawyers under age 40 practicing in Illinois.

Sara is a member of the Children’s Research Fund's Board of Directors. In addition, Sara teaches trial advocacy at the Harvard Law School and is an active member of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court.

Sara Tonnies Horton is co-chair of the Patent & Other IP Litigation Practice Group and focuses her practice on complex civil and intellectual property litigation in courts around the country, particularly patent and technology-related litigation matters.  Sara has represented clients in complex disputes involving a variety of technologies including pharmaceuticals, polymers, packaging, display systems, alloys and food manufacturing. In addition to patent matters, Sara has tried antitrust, actuarial malpractice, anti-dumping and transshipment, and other types of cases to juries. She also has experience before the PTAB and currently serves as co-chair of the Amicus Committee of the PTAB Bar Association.

Chambers USA (2022) recognizes Sara as among the leading practitioners in the area of Intellectual Property and states that "Sara's acumen in the courtroom well outpaces that of opposing counsel time and time again. Sara is an in-house counsel's dream – she is exceptional at framing complex legal matters in an easy to decipher manner." Additionally, in 2019, she was recognized by The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin as one of the 40 best lawyers under age 40 practicing in Illinois.

Sara is a member of the Children’s Research Fund's Board of Directors. In addition, Sara teaches trial advocacy at the Harvard Law School and is an active member of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court.

Selected Significant Matters

Sara has significant trial experience, trying more than 10 cases to juries and judges in various Federal and State courts*:

  • Representation of generic pharmaceutical company in ANDA litigation in the District of Delaware related to a sedative. The district court ruled in favor of our client and the Federal Circuit affirmed (en banc).
  • Defended an industrial and farming equipment manufacturer in a patent infringement matter in the Southern District of Iowa. Secured a complete victory for the client after a 3 week jury trial. The Federal Circuit affirmed on all issues.
  • Successful representation of a global chemical manufacturer in a federal jury trial in Nevada in connection with multimillion-dollar claims arising out of equipment breakdowns at a chemical manufacturing facility.
  • Enforced patents for branded pharmaceutical client in ANDA litigation in the District of Delaware, judgement affirmed on appeal.
  • Represented a pro bono client in defense of murder charges in a two week jury trial in Illinois. During that trial, she handled direct and cross examinations of various forensic witnesses.
  • Successfully enforced patents related to ethylene polymer films and obtained a $61.7 million jury verdict for a major chemical company in the District of Delaware. The Federal Circuit affirmed this verdict on appeal.
  • Successful defense of a client against a $40 million patent infringement and tortious interference suit in the District Court for the District of Delaware.
  • Representation of branded pharmaceutical company in ANDA litigation in the Southern District of New York.

* Sara advised on these matters prior to joining Willkie.

Prior Experience

Sara was previously an equity partner at another major law firm in Chicago.

Selected Publications and Lectures

Publications

  • Co-Author, “SIPCO and Covered Business Methods – Courts Continue to Struggle with PTAB Regs,” Bloomberg Law, November 15, 2019
  • “Supreme Court Upholds, and Changes, IPR Administrative Patent Challenges in Oil States and SAS,” April 25, 2018

Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, "Learn About the PTAB Judicial Law Clerk Program," United States Patent and Trademark Office, August 19, 2021
  • Panelist, "Stopping at the PTAB - The Estoppel Effect of PTAB Decisions," The Power of PTAB: The New Authority in Patent Law, October 20, 2017
  • PTAB Bar Association Inaugural Conference, March 1, 2017 to March 3, 2017
  • "The Strategy of District Court Litigation vs. IPR in View of Recent Appellate Decisions," IP Strategy Summit, October 13, 2015
  • University of Chicago Law School Intellectual Property Law Society, February 11, 2015

Recognition, Honors & Awards

  • DePaul University College of Law’s Via Sapientiae Award for outstanding contributions to the university (2022)
  • Chambers USA – Ranked Up and Coming Lawyer for Intellectual Property in Illinois (since 2021)
  • Chicago Daily Law Bulletin "40 Under Forty" (2019)
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company - Leading Lawyers Network "Emerging Lawyer," Commercial Litigation; Intellectual Property Law (2015-2019)

Recognition, Honors & Awards

  • DePaul University College of Law’s Via Sapientiae Award for outstanding contributions to the university (2022)
  • Chambers USA – Ranked Up and Coming Lawyer for Intellectual Property in Illinois (since 2021)
  • Chicago Daily Law Bulletin "40 Under Forty" (2019)
  • Law Bulletin Publishing Company - Leading Lawyers Network "Emerging Lawyer," Commercial Litigation; Intellectual Property Law (2015-2019)
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