Kim A. Jacklin, JD, BSEE

Before joining HFZ, I managed the development of an international patent portfolio for The Nielsen Company. In that role, I oversaw patent prosecution, litigation and opinion drafting. I also drafted and negotiated technology licenses, and evaluated patent assets for merger and acquisition activities.


I have experience with a variety of technologies in the areas of software, electrical and mechanical engineering. Before law school, I worked as an electrical engineer in the Nuclear Power Industry where I developed and co-authored a paper about a technique for determining drift tolerance levels of instrument loop devices.

Derek J. Reynolds, JD, MBA, BSCS

As a patent prosecutor I feel it is a privilege to be able to work with a wide range of cutting-edge technologies on a daily basis. Prior to HFZ, I worked at Intel Corporation for 24 years in a variety of roles, including as a hardware engineer evaluating the performance and power characteristics of CPUs and GPUs, as a software engineer optimizing code to run more efficiently on Intel architecture, and as a Patent Attorney writing patent applications and strategically managing patent portfolios. Among all of my roles, helping inventors protect their ideas has been the most rewarding work.

My technical experience spans a wide cross-section of the high-tech industry, including CPU and graphics architecture, power delivery, thermal management, memory and storage subsystems, I/O interconnects and interfaces, semiconductor packaging, system software and firmware, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving, drones, client systems, mechanical form factors, and the Internet of things. Additionally, I have extensive experience filing design patents and I ran a worldwide training program to teach inventors how to spot patentable inventions and clearly articulate their novel aspects.

Robert A. Conley, JD, MSBME, BSBME

Prior to joining HFZ, I spent ten years representing plaintiffs and defendants in patent litigation proceedings conducted in Federal courts throughout the United States and in post-grant proceedings before the USPTO. In that capacity, I was responsible for all phases of the litigation process, including preparing and responding to discovery requests, taking and defending depositions, preparing expert reports, preparing and arguing motions of all varieties, preparing and arguing claim construction positions, preparing for trials, examining trial witnesses, and preparing post-trial motions and appellate briefs.


At HFZ, I leverage my extensive litigation experience to draft and prosecute enforceable patents that will withstand third party challenges and result in victories at trial.   I also utilize the insights gleaned from my years of experience in Federal court and post-grant patent office proceedings to provide legal counsel on infringement, non-infringement, validity, invalidity, and product clearance issues. My practice focuses on the mechanical and electro-mechanical arts. Representative technologies with which I have been involved since joining HFZ include outdoor cooking products, aircraft technologies, automotive technologies, industrial valves, process management systems, child care products, oilfield technologies, information gathering and measurement systems, cellular communication technologies, and computer software.


Andrew R. Varrenti, JD, MSEE, BSEE

Before joining the HFZ team, I worked as a senior electrical engineer at Schlumberger Oilfield Services in the Well Services and Coiled Tubing control system group. I designed, developed, and commissioned electrical control systems on next generation land and offshore mixing equipment for high pressure pumping fluid delivery applications. I have extensive experience in electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic control systems and a knowledge base in a wide array of commercial and industrial sensor technologies as well as programmable logic devices.

At HFZ, my practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting domestic, international, and foreign patent applications in the electro-mechanical, electrical, and software arts in a broad range of technologies including: aerospace, analog and digital circuit design, artificial intelligence, blockchain, cloud and edge computing, fluid control devices and systems, and network security. I leverage my industry experience in comprehensively developing invention disclosures to achieve both short and long-term patent portfolio management strategies and protection.

C. Taylor Grote, BSEE

Prior to joining the HFZ team, I studied Electrical Engineering Technology at Purdue University. Project and design work at Purdue included developing embedded control systems for digital washing machines and performing a design/build for an Atomic Force Microscope. Additionally, I interned with Grote Industries assisting in the design and manufacture of the newly emerging thin film LED technology for truck and trailer interior and exterior lighting. I also tested optical, electrical and mechanical compliances and specifications for LED technology within the industry. I was introduced to Intellectual Property working as a summer intern for an IP law firm.

Working at HFZ has allowed me to grow my knowledge and passion for new and emerging technologies while working alongside intelligent, seasoned patent attorneys. I strive to help our clients attain their Intellectual Property rights which contributes to the overall health of our economic system.

Justin R. Lizalek, BSEE

Before I joined the HFZ team, I studied electrical engineering at Marquette University. While at Marquette I worked in the power electronics lab assisting in the design of power electronic converters. Additionally, I interned at S&C Electric designing control systems for power converter test fixtures.  I also interned at Johnson Controls in the Power Solutions division. Here, I conducted design verification of a solid-state relay for use in lithium ion battery control. Throughout these roles, I worked alongside skilled engineers and production staff to further the goals of innovating new products and systems.


At Hanley, Flight, and Zimmerman, I am able to utilize my technical background and interest in new and innovative technologies in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications for our diverse client network.

Sophia P. Pilipchuk, Ph.D BME, MSBME, BSBME

Having over 10 years of experience working with engineers and scientists in university-based research laboratories, I appreciate the effort and dedication that goes into the development and validation of novel technologies. As a doctoral student, I authored and co-authored research and review articles in Advanced Healthcare Materials, Dental Materials, and Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, obtaining substantial practice in the communication of novel concepts. I also worked as a Tech Transfer Fellow at the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer (OTT)—evaluating a wide range of invention disclosures, assessing prior art, drafting marketing abstracts, and identifying potential licensees—which significantly strengthened my interest in patent law. After completing a doctoral thesis, I worked with engineers and surgeons as a Biomedical Innovation Fellow in UM’s Pediatric Surgery Section to identify medical device needs through clinical immersion. This process inspired design and development of new product solutions to fulfill the needs and expectations of the Michigan Pediatric Device Consortium (MPED) program. This work expanded my knowledge of medical device technologies and commercialization strategies.

At HFZ, I work together with patent attorneys and patent engineers to help clients secure protection for their innovative ideas and maximize the economic value of their patents. At HFZ, I can utilize my previous experiences to help advocate for inventors and assist in securing the full extent of intellectual property protection to which they are entitled.

Brandon D. Furdock, MSCE, BSCE

My path to HFZ began at Northwestern’s Innovation Lab. There, I worked in an interdisciplinary team of engineering and law students who developed an AI-based oral argument analysis tool for an Am Law 100 firm. This sharpened my interest in law, leading me to a career in patents. However, I’ve always enjoyed writing technical documents and giving oral presentations on my work. As an academic researcher, I focused on the design and analysis of parallel computing systems. I’ve also worked in the healthcare industry as a software engineer—experience I leveraged when developing a finger vein recognition system during my graduate studies.

I am currently studying law in the evening division at Chicago-Kent. I am excited to contribute to HFZ’s deep well of leadership, talent, and expertise in patent prosecution.

Aswini S. Madugula, BSCS

Prior to joining HFZ, I studied Computer Science at The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and minored in Criminology, Law, and Justice. Outside of regular coursework, I worked on developing many wearable technology devices such as a COVID smart mask, a continuous ECG monitor, and a typing glove to assist the visually impaired. During my time at UIC, I was involved in the Society of Women Engineers, Girls Who Code, and the Pre-Law Society, all of which allowed me to explore the union between technology and the legal field that is Intellectual Property Law. I also interned for the Chicago Tenants Rights Law Group and assisted the firm’s attorneys with court preparations and client intakes.


As a Patent Engineer at HFZ, I have the unique opportunity of leveraging my technical background in Computer Science to help drive innovation across all fields, by way of the preparation and prosecution of patents.


Adam G. Popper, BSEE

Before I joined the HFZ team, I studied Electrical Engineering at Purdue University. During this time, I worked as a teaching assistant for several electrical and computer engineering courses. I also had internships at Grayhill Inc., Morey Corporation, Argonne National Laboratory, and Collins Aerospace. I first took an interest in intellectual property law during my junior year during a communications law course. This course introduced me to the idea of being able to take my passion for technology into the world of law.

At HFZ, I am looking forward to continuing to learn about intellectual property law from experienced attorneys. During my time with HFZ, I look forward to working with inventors and companies to build strong portfolios and protect innovative product solutions.