Graham C. Phero



Graham C. Phero

Graham C. Phero is a director in Sterne Kessler’s Mechanical & Design Practice Group. He is always ready to learn and leverages his extensive technical and legal expertise on each new project. Clients appreciate his scientific yet creative approach to complex problems, but first and foremost, Graham understands his clients’ business needs.

Graham counsels on all aspects of the intellectual property spectrum from application filing through enforcement/defense and everything in between. His experiences at the PTAB, U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), and District Court inform his patent drafting, helping to immunize claims against future challenges. And as a pilot, Graham understands when to push the limits and when to change course.

Graham has extensive experience drafting and prosecuting patent applications in the medical, electrical, aerospace, and mechanical arts. His primary areas of technical experience include: aerial vehicles and systems, power generation and energy storage systems, clean energy systems, industrial powertrains, physiological monitoring systems, medical devices, drug delivery devices, biometric systems, additive manufacturing, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing, ultrasonic diagnostics, optical scanners, automotive systems, industrial equipment, textiles and apparel, sporting goods, toys and games, image forming devices, and control systems.

In the area of USPTO contested proceedings, Graham has served as counsel to some of the largest corporations in the world in their most important inter partes review, post grant review, and reexamination matters. In fact, his success against serial patent challenges resulted in a “bulletproof” patent portfolio that ultimately resulted in a favorable settlement.

Graham co-leads Sterne Kessler’s engagement in the PTAB’s Legal Experience and Advancement Program (LEAP), which provides associates with training and development opportunities in PTAB proceedings, including oral argument. He has served as an advisor to associates participating in the program.

Graham’s due diligence, valuation, and opinion drafting experience spans start-up and small scale venture capital investments to major corporate acquisitions valued at close to one billion dollars. Additionally, he has a "White Belt" in Legal Lean Sigma® and Project Management, and is a member of the Licensing Executives Society.

Graham is a contributing author of Patent Office Litigation, Second Edition, published in 2017. The book provides a fresh and comprehensive exploration of patent office litigation proceedings, including how the proceedings interact with other aspects of patent procurement and enforcement, while delivering practical analysis and advice. This second edition of Patent Office Litigation is the follow up to the first version of the book that was published in 2012 by Thomson Reuters Westlaw, which focused on the contested proceedings that were introduced under the America Invents Act that year. Graham is also a contributing author to the first edition of Patent Office Litigation.

Graham earned his B.S., magna cum laude, in mechanical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. During and after receiving his engineering degree, Graham innovated at Ethicon Endo-Surgery, part of the Johnson and Johnson family of companies. His engineering experience includes research and development of medical devices including the HARMONIC® Scalpel and the SEDASYS® Computer-Assisted Personalized Sedation System.  

Putting his engineering skills to work on the lighter side, Graham is also a creator of the "mini fridge beer cannon," a device developed in 2010 which was featured on BBC's The Graham Norton Show and in Popular Science magazine. 

In addition to his IP practice, Graham volunteers time providing pro bono legal services to veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. While in law school at The George Washington University, he represented indigent persons before the D.C. Superior Court in landlord-tenant actions, as a member of D.C. Law Students in Court.


  • Managing IP, "Rising Star" (2019)

Thought Leadership

Past Events

Contact Information

Phone Number


The George Washington University Law School
with Honors
Mechanical Engineering
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
magna cum laude


District of Columbia
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
United States Patent & Trademark Office


  • PTAB Bar Association
  • American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • Licensing Executives Society