Mark P. Kesslen Partner and Chair, Intellectual Property Section of Tech Group, Co-chair, Intellectual Property Litigation Practice

New YorkNew Jersey
T 646.414.6793/973.597.2330 | F 973.597.2331



Mark Kesslen loves innovators but loathes patent trolls. He applies that passion to bringing much-needed critical strategic guidance to tech-based companies. Mark devotes his practice to clients engaged in creating businesses, launching new products, and conducting M&A and venture capital transactions.

Mark’s admiration for innovators was sparked during his years as a client of several law firms, including Lowenstein Sandler. He served as Chief IP, Technology & Sourcing Lawyer globally for JPMorganChase, a job he liked, but not as much as he likes working with startups and growth companies. During Mark’s eight years at JPMC, he settled multibillion-dollar patent litigation against trolls, handled multibillion-dollar outsourcing agreements, oversaw the merging of J.P. Morgan’s intellectual property portfolio with Chase Bank’s, and presided over the firm’s growing and ambitious patent portfolio.

During his tenure at JPMC, as finance and technology evolved, Mark helped develop a legislative agenda for IP issues involving the financial services industry. His testimony before Congress has influenced a number of patent laws enacted since 1999. In 2005, Mark realized that his greatest professional satisfaction came from serving as IP strategist for the tech companies created at Lab Morgan, JPMorganChase’s incubator (several of which had successfully gone public). In that role, he co-counseled with his friends at Lowenstein Sandler on an emerging tech company, Dialogic. Lowenstein Sandler ultimately represented the company in an IPO and then an $800 million sale to Intel. When Mark decided to return to a steady diet of tech startups, he spoke with only one law firm…and Lowenstein became his new home.

As chair of the firm’s IP group, Mark is heavily involved in issues relating to software, digital and social media, big data, fintech, open source, virtualization/cloud, collaborative consumption, SaaS, creative commons, enterprise, and hardware (including medical-related hardware). He continues to manage and assess a wide range of process, software, and business method patents, and provides strategic advice on issues ranging from litigation assessment to patent scope, open source, trademarks, privacy, and ownership risks.

Mark also leads several groups focused on startups. He is co-founder and program chair of VentureCrushFG, which provides a formal mentoring program and peer group for high-potential tech entrepreneurs (read about it in the WSJ Accelerators here). He also co-founded GrapeArborVC, an angel investor team composed of friends who pool their personal finances and expertise to back promising tech startups. He is program chair of VentureCrushAV, a New York City group of founders, tech industry angels, venture capitalists, and senior executives with an interest in funding and supporting early-stage ventures.

An electrical engineer by training, Mark started his career at a shoe factory in New Hampshire, his home state, performing a series of jobs that subsequently moved offshore, underscoring the need for America to innovate.

Outside the office, Mark bikes as much as he can. He enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, jumping in lakes, and cooking with his family. He serves on the board of directors of Camp Belknap, a YMCA-affiliated summer camp in New Hampshire–where he was both a camper and a counselor (and sometimes wishes he still could be)–and serves as a trustee of his alma mater, the School of Engineering at Tufts University. Go Jumbos!

Representative Engagements

Represented Knewton, a New York-based educational technology company, in a $33 million Series D round led by Founders Fund and an education publisher. Concurrently led the IP team in negotiating a complex commercial alliance between Knewton and Pearson for the commercialization of online educational products incorporating Knewton's technology in the North American higher education market.
Represented Buddy Media, Inc., in its sale to salesforce.com, inc. Led the transaction team in connection with various IP, open source and privacy issues.
Represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in Twitter. The investment required extensive IP diligence.
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Other Distinctions

  • IAM Patent 1000 - The World's Leading Patent Practitioners (2013) - Recognized among leading patent practitioners.  The publication notes "Mark Kesslen thrives at the intersection of technology and intellectual property. He acts as a counsellor to his clients, deploying his experience as a prosecutor and litigator to great effect."

  • IP Law & Business magazine (2008) – Named among the nation’s top 50 IP attorneys under age 45, for work on behalf of venture-backed companies: “...helping the little guy strike a great bargain.”

  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2006-2013) – Recognized as a leading intellectual property attorney: "'Mark's pragmatism is key to his practice — he doesn't waste time dealing with theoretical concerns, he just gets issues resolved,' report clients."

Publications

Open Source Software A Core Competency For Effective Tech M&A
IP Watch, December 9, 2016
Mark Kesslen, John Wintermute
Ed Zimmerman & Mark Kesslen: When Patent Trolls Interrupt Your M&A or VC Deal
The Wall Street Journal- The Accelerators, October 17, 2013
Mark Kesslen
The Nuances of the America Invents Act of 2011
Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, June 2011
Mark Kesslen, David Toma
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Press Mentions

Mark Kesslen comments in Technology Transfer Tactics’ monthly newsletter on the various approaches TTOs may consider for managing patent annuity. , Technology Transfer Tactics , August 2017
In an article on CNET.comMark Kesslen comments on why Apple has brought patent lawsuits against Android handset manufactures rather than Android architect, Google. , CNET , August 15, 2012
Mark Kesslen comments on the motivation behind Kickstarter's suit against ArtistShare to invalidate the patent behind their technology, which allows artists to connect with fans to participate in and fund their work. , Crowdfunding 360 , February 6, 2012
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Related Areas

Corporate
Outsourcing
Patent Counseling & Prosecution
The Tech Group
Trademark Prosecution and Enforcement

Education


Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( J.D. , 1989 )
Tufts University ( B.S. , 1986 ) ,  Electrical Engineering

Bar Admissions


New York
New Jersey
United States Patent and Trademark Office

Affiliations


  • Member and Secretary of the Advisory Board of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program at Tufts University, 2007-present
  • Member of the 2010 Editorial Advisory Board of IP Law360
  • Co-Founder and Program Chair of VentureCrushFG, 2009-present
  • Member, Grape Arbor VC, 2006 - present
  • Member of the Advisory Board of Pro Bono Partnership
  • National Venture Capital Association, Patent Group Advisory Board Member
  • President, Community Chest of Englewood, Englewood Cliffs and Tenafly, 2006-present and Member 2002-present
  • VentureCrushAV, member/leadership team since 2006
  • Board Member, Intellectual Property Owner’s Association ("IPO"), 2000-2005
  • Chair, Patents Working Group, Financial Services Roundtable, 1999-2005
  • Board of Directors, YMCA Camp Belknap, Wolfeboro NH