When it comes to dealing with the latest issues in intellectual property, from copyrights to patents to privacy, Cincinnati’s oldest law firm remains on the cutting edge.

Wood Herron Evans LLC has been specializing in the field of patent law since its founding 146 years ago. The firm was started just after the Civil War in 1868 by Col. Edmund Wood to specialize in mechanical inventions and patents.

The firm continued to expand its expertise under his son, William Wood, and grandson, Edmund P. Wood, who brought in partners Truman Herron and Edward Evans. In 1930, the firm was one of the first tenants of the new 49-story Carew Tower where it still has its offices.

Today, Wood Herron Evans is one of the Midwest’s largest boutique firms specializing in intellectual property issues with more than 50 attorneys, 112 employees and an office in Louisville as well.

The intellectual property landscape is constantly evolving. The Supreme Court, for example, has been active in recent terms defining what is considered patentable subject matter, something affecting everything from biotechnology to software.

Two years ago, the United States enacted its broadest patent reforms in decades with the America Invents Act, streamlining the patent process, bringing it in line with global practices and putting a premium on early patent filing.

In addition, knowledge is power in today’s economy and businesses are putting more emphasis on the value of their intellectual property.

“Companies face more and more pressure to leverage the assets they have,” says WHE attorney Timothy D. Ardizzone. “Intellectual property is one of the assets they can leverage through litigation and licensing, for example. It’s an untapped resource for a lot of companies.”

And what is considered intellectual property is expanding as well.

“We handled a case not all that long ago about the design of French fry containers of all things,” says Paul J. Linden, a WHE litigation attorney.

The concept of what is considered a trademark also is evolving, says Sean K. Owens, who specializes in copyright and trademark issues for the firm.

“Today we see more individual color marks and sound marks. The NBC chimes is a classic example,” he says. “We’re seeing more motion marks, something with animation or movement. The Google doodles are a classic example.”

The depth of Wood Herron Evan’s intellectual property expertise is reflected in the experience of its attorneys and their educational backgrounds.

“On the patent side, we have a wide range of specialists with expertise in a variety of technologies,” says Ardizzone, who specialize in biotechnology and holds a PhD in pharmacology.

In copyrights and trademarks, says Owens, “We have people with specialties in privacy law, advertising, the FTC and FCC. That’s what you don’t see often in a big general practice firm.”

Being in the Midwest gives WHE another advantage.

“We’re, comparably speaking, very affordable to New York, Chicago and Washington D.C., firms,” says Linden.