They represent a Blue Ash company that retrofits Saturn Sky sports cars with all-electric engines, medical researchers who improve cutting-edge devices and tinkerers inventing products from scratch in their garages.

Versed in all aspects of engineering, medicine and global trade, Wood Herron & Evans LLP could dress its offices with minimalist furniture in a glass-encased, modern skyscraper to tout a progressive image.

It could, but instead, the 42-member law firm, established 1868, moved in 1930 into the brand-new Carew Tower and never left, making it the last original tenant in the venerable landmark. They let their work do the talking.

“I wouldn’t say we are by any means a progressive firm, unapologetically,” says Keith Haupt, a member of the three-person executive committee that leads the firm. “Obviously, we embrace technology being a patent firm. But the fact that we’re here in the Carew Tower is symbolic of the stability of the firm.”

From its inception, when Colonel Edmund Wood began the practice by servicing inventors of mechanized farm equipment and horse and buggy components, Wood Herron has dealt exclusively in intellectual property law, creating and enforcing patents, trademarks and copyrights for individual inventors, giants like IBM and every size business in between.

The firm’s sole focus on intellectual property has enabled Wood Herron to blanket its niche with a consistently growing staff of specialized attorneys. To practice patent law, attorneys must pass the regular bar exam and a separate patent law exam administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Forty of Wood Herron’s 42 attorneys have done just that. Every patent attorney has at least an engineering or science undergraduate degree, and many have post-graduate degrees and work experience as engineers, chemists, metallurgists, computer and software scientists, biologists, microbiologists, biochemists and physicists.

“Considering the knowledge base of the attorneys here, their technology skills are second to none across the board. So the most progressive inventor can certainly find an attorney here,” says Tom Burger, a Cincinnati native who joined Wood Herron after earning engineering and law degrees at Notre Dame. Burger has watched the firm grow from 17 attorneys when he joined in 1986 to 42.

Wood Herron boasts an array of services for small and mid-size companies that are launching new developments and products. Because of their familiarity with engineering and other specializations, attorneys help evaluate the viability of products and concepts and advise clients whether to pursue patents, trademarks and copyrights.

“The small client thinks the world is going to beat a path to their door” once they’ve created a good product, Haupt says. But a marketable product or idea is just the first step toward a successful business venture, he says.

Business owners have to ward off future conflicts by drafting clear employment agreements as they develop their ventures, he says. Haupt cited one client, whose name he could not disclose for privacy reasons, whose employee left for a competitor, taking company secrets with him.

Fortunately for the client, the errant former worker had signed a confidentiality pact. “The employment agreement was a vehicle we were able to use to recoup a lot of that information. If they have created something through the fruits of their current employer, the current employer is entitled to that,” he says.

The firm has extensive business ties to marketing consultants and other experts who new entrepreneurs may need to tap to roll out a successful product.

In turn, Wood Herron gets a significant portion of its business through references from other law firms that don’t have patent lawyers. “Since we don’t do general legal work, we’re not competing. We’re clearly going to give that client back to the general attorney when we’re finished. So we’re partnered with both,” Haupt says.

Kate Smith, who specializes in trademarks and e-commerce, works directly with clients on trademarks and copyrights, guiding entrepreneurs new to intellectual property law past the pitfalls that can jeopardize the success of their ventures, including using trademarks and phrasing that infringe on existing products and services. Smith conducts research that reveals any potential conflicts.

Smith, whose grandfather, Edward B. Evans, lent his name to the firm’s masthead, says struggling economic conditions like today’s are a good time for businesses to invest in the future by redoubling efforts to enforce copyrights and trademarks.

The global economy has created the particular need for enforcement overseas, where laws differ and black markets thrive on knock-off manufacturing. When Wood Herron can’t provide a service in that department, it works with foreign partners who can.

The firm has the rare distinction of employing in-house illustrators to draft detailed graphics of new patent applications. Services like that, coupled with quality legal work, enable Wood Herron to compete with larger East and West Coast firms by offering quality service at better prices, Haupt says, because of Cincinnati’s lower cost of living.

“We don’t hire a handful and expect to fire somebody. We look for those interested in making Cincinnati their home for long term,” Haupt notes.

As a result, two-thirds have 10 or more years with the firm, and 30 percent have been there for 20 or more years.

Wood Herron grew beyond Cincinnati for the first time in 2007 when it opened a one-man Louisville office that it expects to expand as demand increases. Its attorneys plan to keep growing slowly and surely along with their clients’ imaginations.

“The self-starting company that becomes big knows what’s out there, solves the problem and makes the product a little bit better,” Haupt says.