When Leydig, Voit & Mayer’s founder, Luther Miller, filed his first patent application, Grover Cleveland was in his second term, the Ferris wheel was exciting crowds at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and Katharine Lee Bates was writing the poem that would become the song “America the Beautiful.”
The year was 1893, and Miller was a solo practitioner in Rockford, Illinois. His first patent application issued as U.S. Patent 503,250 on August 15, just three months after its filing. Since then, more than 7 million U.S. patents have issued, and the firm has continued to practice intellectual property law.
Many great lawyers have practiced at Leydig, Voit & Mayer since its beginning, and these men and women have collectively defined the firm’s enduring spirit. As one of the senior partners observed almost half a century ago, “A partnership ceases to exist legally upon the death or withdrawal of one of its members,[but] in a very real sense the life of The Firm has continued to exist over the years as a distinct entity…”
Leydig, Voit & Mayer has always demonstrated an abiding commitment to provide clients with cutting-edge legal advice and the stability of time-honored practicality. The vitality of this mix has proven its worth in enabling the firm and its clients to weather the Great Depression, two world wars, the cold war and a host of other challenges.
Leydig, Voit & Mayer established preeminence in intellectual property law early in its history, and has continued to influence the development of the patent system as it exists today. For example, the firm filed the case of Linde Air Products v. Lincoln Electric Co. and Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. in 1945. The case was ultimately won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1949, with a decision that has become one of the most-cited cases in patent law history.
As time passed, Leydig's lawyers developed separate, and equally well-recognized, trademark and copyright practices. In one of its most visible engagements of the 1970s, Leydig, Voit & Mayer was retained by a major brewer in the industry-wide dispute involving Miller Brewing Co.’s attempt to preempt the terms “Lite” and “Light” for lower-calorie beers. Ultimately, Miller was unsuccessful, in part due to Leydig's efforts.
Today Leydig, Voit & Mayer remains committed to developing cutting-edge practices surrounding trade secrets, patents, trademarks and copyrights in an international arena that encompasses the Internet as well as the globe.
The firm has grown from a solo practitioner to more than 90 attorneys and technical advisors, along with 100 staff professionals, adapting to shifting laws and culture throughout. During its growth, and still today, Leydig, Voit & Mayer has always been guided by its commitment to its clients, its vision for the future, and its rock-solid foundation.