• J.D., Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • PhD, Materials Science, Ohio State University
  • M.S., Metallurgical Engineering, Ohio State University
  • B.S., Metallurgical Engineering, Ohio State University


  • State Bar of Michigan
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
Mark Harper, PhD

Intellectual Property Attorney

Mark Harper’s years of experience in the metals industry make him a highly sought-after patent attorney for companies and inventors seeking patent assistance involving materials. Backed by a PhD in materials science, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in metallurgical engineering, Mark has the unique ability to understand the complexities of the science and real-world applications of metallurgy. This knowledge has led to him working on complicated innovations and inventions that require expert-level understanding of metals and alloys, among other related areas including welding, pigments, electronic materials, composite materials, optical fibers and sheet glass.

Mark focuses his practice on patent prosecution and appeals. He often finds himself applying his industry experience and his aptitude for research to successfully craft arguments that overcome prior art challenges. He also provides non-infringement and invalidity opinions to insulate clients from competitor challenges.

Whether his client is a Fortune 500 company or a start-up, Mark tailors his representation in a way that is best suited for each client. For smaller clients that may be new to the patent process, Mark provides ample education and counsel on the costs and benefits of patent protection as well as the general process required to secure a patent. Larger clients often turn to Mark for his technical and scientific knowledge, which he uses to develop strategies to fend off competition and protect the integrity of an invention by obtaining superior patents.

While Mark is now a highly esteemed IP attorney for the metals industry, his beginnings are humble. The son of a welder, Mark learned the family trade as a teenager. He worked as a certified welder in the nuclear industry for seven years after high school before pursuing a formal education in metallurgical engineering. He eventually applied his education to work as a research engineer for multiple metal alloy producers before deciding to become a patent attorney more than a decade later.

“From starting off as a welder to working in research and development in the metals industry, I believe my hands-on experience gives me a distinct advantage when working with inventors, drafting patent applications, and negotiating with U.S. Patent Office Examiners in order to obtain the broadest possible protection for a client’s invention,” says Mark. “I feel very comfortable talking with individuals across an organization, including mechanics, engineers, scientists, and business managers, and then translating their objectives into allowable subject matter with patent Examiners.”

Mark is an avid golfer. When he’s not at work or hitting the links, you can find him working in the yard alongside his wife and their German Shepard, Velena. He also has the distinction of being the 1992 winner of the Collegiate Inventors Competition.

Industry Experience

  • Before joining Burris Law, Mark was a partner with a national law firm serving clients in the steel, automotive and glass industries. Several patent applications he drafted and successfully prosecuted through the U.S. Patent Office have provided, and continue to provide, protection for high-profile, high-value commercial products developed by Fortune 500 companies and universities.

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