Brian C. Riopelle Partner

Brian, former chair of the firm's IP Litigation/Patents Department and member of the Technology Oversight Committee, is recognized as one of the leading intellectual property litigators in the nation.

Brian is repeatedly included in The Best Lawyers in America for intellectual property and was named 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” in Litigation - Patent (Richmond). He has been listed in Chambers USA as one of America's Leading Lawyers for intellectual property since 2004, and has been described by clients in that publication as a "top-notch litigator" and as a lawyer who "can find a solution when others cannot." In 2015, The American Lawyer awarded a case on which Brian was lead trial lawyer, "Global Dispute of the Year: U.S. Litigation." In March 2012, Benchmark Litigation recognized Brian as the Virginia Litigator of the Year. The American Lawyer selected him as its Litigator in the Spotlight in its November 2011 issue, and he was named Litigator of the Week in the September 16, 2011 issue of Am Law Litigation Daily

He has litigated patent and other intellectual property cases across the country, and has considerable experience in the Eastern District of Virginia, commonly known as the "rocket docket," a favorite venue for intellectual property litigants.

In 2022, Brian was the lead trial lawyer for Sprint (now T-Mobile) in a trademark case involving the Nextel® trademark.  After a six-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict for Sprint on all counts.  Later in 2022, Brian was the lead trial lawyer for Belvac Production Machinery, which was sued for allegedly infringing three patents relating to machines for making aluminum beverage cans.  After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict of non-infringement for Belvac.

In previous notable cases, Brian was the lead trial lawyer for DuPont in its trade secret case against Kolon Industries. In that case, the jury awarded DuPont $919,900,000 - a precedent setting victory hailed as the "Global Dispute of the Year: U.S. Litigation" in 2015 by The American Lawyer.

Brian was also the lead trial lawyer for Verizon Wireless and other wireless carriers in a patent infringement case brought by DNT LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation. The jury returned a verdict of non-infringement in favor of the wireless carriers, and also found the plaintiff's patent to be invalid.

Brian was also one of the lead trial lawyers in Verizon's patent infringement case against Vonage. In that case, the jury awarded Verizon $58 million, and the court entered an injunction against Vonage. After appeal, the case settled with a $120 million payment to Verizon.

Before starting his career in law, Brian spent an internship performing research in immunology, and was also a supervisor in the datacenter for a major Wall Street investment bank. He was an adjunct professor of law at the T.C. Williams School of Law. His experience also includes serving as law clerk to the Honorable Stephen V. Wilson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.


Lead trial counsel for DuPont in trade secrets case involving Kevlar®. After eight-week trial, jury awarded DuPont $919.9 million, the largest verdict in Virginia history. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company v. Kolon Industries, Inc.

Lead trial counsel for Verizon Wireless and other telecommunications carriers involving alleged patent infringement of wireless aircards. After trial, jury found non-infringement and the plaintiff’s patent invalid. DNT, LLC v. Sprint Nextel Corp., et al.

Lead trial counsel for Purdue Pharma in patent infringement case involving pharmaceutical product. The case settled favorably for our client after claim construction and with summary judgment motions pending. King Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Purdue Pharma L.P.

Trial counsel for Verizon in its patent infringement case against Vonage involving Voice over Internet Protocol technology. After trial, the jury awarded Verizon $58 million, and the court entered an injunction against Vonage. After appeal, the case settled with a $120 million payment to Verizon. Verizon Services Corp. et al. v. Vonage Holdings Corp., et al.

Lead trial counsel for plaintiff in this patent infringement case involving wastewater treatment systems. After trial, the jury awarded damages and made a finding of willful infringement. American Manufacturing Company v. Lighthouse Treatment Systems, et al.

Trial counsel for Infineon in this patent infringement case involving SDRAM and DDR-SDRAM computer memory technology. Rambus, Inc. v. Infineon Technologies AG

  • California
  • Virginia

Selected for inclusion in “Legal 500 United States,” Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets (Litigation and Noncontentious Matters), 2021, 2022

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Intellectual Property, Southern Virginia, Chambers USA, 2004-2022

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Intellectual Property Litigation, Business Litigation, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2022

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation-Intellectual Property/Patent, 2006-2022; Trade Secrets Law, 2022, Woodward/White, Inc., 

Named to "Legal Elite," Intellectual Property Law, Virginia Business, 2009-2021

Named a Client Service "All Star," BTI Consulting, 2020

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Litigation - Intellectual Property, 2015, 2018; Litigation - Patent, 2016, 2019, Richmond, Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc.

Named a "Local Litigation Star," Intellectual Property, Benchmark Litigation, 2013-2016, 2018

Named an "IP Trailblazer," National Law Journal, 2016

Named to "The Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America," Intellectual Property, Lawdragon, 2012, 2013

Named “Virginia Litigator of the Year,” Benchmark Litigation, March 2012

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, Trial Lawyer Honorary Society

AV Rated, Martindale-Hubbell

  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, 1989
  • Yale University, BA, cum laude, with Distinction, 1984

Member, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Engineering Foundation Board, 2012-2018

Chair, Richmond Bar Association Continuing Legal Education Committee, 2001-2002

Member, Virginia State Bar Corporate Counsel Task Force, 2000-2002

Member, Richmond Bar Association Finance Committee, 2004-2006

Member, Richmond Bar Association Administration of Justice Committee, 2006-2007


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