C. Erik Hawes serves intellectual property clients in patent litigation and pre-litigation counseling, patent prosecution, management of patent and trademark portfolios, trade secrets and confidentiality issues, due diligence concerning IP issues in transactions, and day-to-day counseling concerning IP issues of every size and shape. While he has a strong background in other industries, Erik works extensively with clients in the oil & gas industry.
In the field of upstream oil & gas, Erik has experience in a wide variety of technologies, including those relating to exploration (seismic surveys and imaging, hydraulic fracture imaging), drilling (rotary steerable drilling tools, power sections, directional drilling systems, downhole monitoring and measurement (LWD/MWD), mud-pulse and EM telemetry, drill bits, rig control and power systems) completions and production (hydraulic fracturing, perforating technology, wellhead isolation, plugs and packers, and artificial lift systems), and OCTG (tubulars and connections).
His offshore-specific work has included flexible joints, tension leg platforms, tapered stress joints, SCR connectors, elastomeric components, and other HPHT applications.
Erik has also worked in the midstream sector, including experience with produced water handling systems and pipeline inspection technologies.
Erik has drafted and prosecuted hundreds of patents in the oil & gas industry. His familiarity with the industry and its commercial realities enables him to protect his clients' valuable IP by obtaining patents that are enforceable notwithstanding oilfield-specific challenges such as extraterritoriality, patent-eligible subject matter, and divided infringement.
Beyond the energy industry, corporate clients from the consumer products, retail, e-commerce technology, and computer hardware and software industries seek Erik’s counsel.
In the arena of IP disputes, Erik handles all aspects of patent cases in jurisdictions from California to New York and from Texas to Minnesota. He has also handled numerous matters at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, including appeals from the PTO and IPR proceedings as both patentee and petitioner. He has managed numerous patent disputes between direct competitors, as well as large, multidefendant suits brought by nonpracticing patent owners. He has tried multiple patent cases and argued eleven Markman hearings.
In addition to patent prosecution and litigation, Erik has experience with complex commercial contract matters relating to intellectual property, including the negotiation, interpretation, and enforcement of agreements concerning confidentiality, licensing, and indemnity. He also handles cases involving trade secret misappropriation, as well as trademark and copyright infringement.
A frequent author and speaker on IP-related issues, Erik’s recent speeches include a presentation entitled “Guarding the ‘Crown Jewels’ – Confidentiality and Trade Secrets of Production Data” during the Third Annual Data Driven Production Conference in June 2017, and a presentation entitled “Drafting Enforceable Patent Claims in the Oilfield” during the Energy Industry Intellectual Property Law Conference presented by the Institute for Energy Law in March 2017. Other recent speeches have covered topics such as indirect infringement, divided infringement, claim construction, inequitable conduct, licensing, business method patents, venue and forum selection, and patent-related damages. He also frequently presents client training sessions concerning IP issues such as patent and trademark portfolio strategy, trade secret protection, and recent legal updates.
Erik worked at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where he helped to design and test structural components for the space shuttle program before going to law school.
University of Minnesota, 1992, B.S.
University of Minnesota Law School, 1995, J.D.
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
US Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit
US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
US District Court for the Southern District of Texas
US District Court for the District of Nevada
US District Court for the District of Minnesota
Texas Supreme Court
Nevada Supreme Court
Minnesota Supreme Court
US Supreme Court
US Patent and Trademark Office
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association
Member, Litigation and Intellectual Property Law Sections, American Bar Association
Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association
Member, Federal Circuit Bar Association,
Member, Houston Intellectual Property Law Association