Name: Bradley Walz
Title: Partner, Barnes & Thornburg
Education: B.A., business economics, University of St. Thomas; J.D., University of St. Thomas School of Law
Bradley Walz’s work with clients developing software, devices, beverages and food products inspired the partner in Barnes & Thornburg’s Minneapolis office to do some inventing of his own.
His creation is an app for conducting preliminary trademark searches.
The app, at TrademarkBob.com, enables users to search multiple names for proposed products or companies, Walz said, where the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office site limits searches to one name at a time.
“It’s definitely beneficial for companies that are engaging in the naming process to get results quickly so they can identify problems and get to a new name sooner,” Walz said.
Walz specializes in trademark prosecution and enforcement, corporate work with copyrights, patents and trade secrets, and data protection and security compliance counseling.
He joined Barnes & Thornburg in November 2018 after 12 years at Winthrop and Weinstine.
Walz, an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, works with students to address trademark-related issues for clients who can’t afford to hire an attorney.
An undergraduate law and economics class got Walz interested in the law, and a mentorship program with attorneys Timothy Kenny and Michael Collyard influenced his intellectual property focus.
Q: What’s the best way to start a conversation with you?
A: I’m pretty approachable. Coming up, saying hi and introducing yourself is the easiest way. I enjoy meeting new people.
Q: What books are on your bedside table or e-reader?
A: I have a 5-year-old, so I don’t have much time for casual reading. I’m a huge Minnesota Vikings fan and season ticket holder. I played hockey as an undergraduate at St. Thomas and follow the Wild closely. If the Twins get a pitcher I’ll probably follow them. I try to keep up on all the Minnesota sports.
Q: What is a pet peeve of yours?
A: If you’re having a discussion with someone and they say they’re going to do something and they don’t follow through or it takes them a long time to follow through without a good explanation, that kind of bothers me.
Q: What are your favorite aspects of being an attorney?
A: I enjoy helping people out and not just their legal problems. Whether they’re looking to raise money, do some marketing, looking for a customer, if I can use my network to help people with their business or what they’re trying to achieve, I enjoy that.
Q: Least favorite?
A: More on the enforcement or litigation side I don’t like people who treat the rules lightly and take a position that the rules are there as guidance or suggestions. I respect attorneys that approach their practice with a high degree of professionalism and technical capabilities.
Q: What’s a favorite activity outside your job?
A: I enjoy golfing. Spending time with my daughter. I coached her soccer team in the fall, and seeing her become more involved in the sport was fun.
Q: If someone visits you in your hometown, what would you take them to see or do?
A: I grew up in Bloomington. The obvious thing would be the Mall of America. The Japanese Garden at Normandale Community College is a nice place to go.
Q: Is there an attorney or judge, past or present, whom you admire most?
A: Mike Collyard … showed me early on what it means to practice appropriately. When I was at Winthrop and Weinstine on the litigation side Peter Gleekel, who is now at Larson King, was influential in helping me further develop my skills. On the transactional side Michael Olsen, who still is at Winthrop, helped me understand that … in a corporate setting while there’s still zealous advocacy the parties typically want to do business together so it’s not as adversarial as it is in litigation.
Q: What is your favorite depiction of the legal professional in popular culture?
A: “My Cousin Vinny.” Who doesn’t like Pesci?