Rory P. Pheiffer, Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP Photo

Rory P. Pheiffer

Deputy Chair, Intellectual Property Department / Boston


Rory P. Pheiffer is a partner and the Deputy Chair of Nutter’s Intellectual Property Department. He is also a member of both the Emerging Companies and Life Sciences and Medical Devices groups. His practice covers a broad spectrum of intellectual property issues, including domestic and international patent prosecution, patent litigation, patent opinion and clearance matters, domestic and international trademark prosecution and enforcement, and technology licensing matters.

Rory focuses primarily on the patent-related aspects of intellectual property law, with additional expertise in trademarks. In 2018, Rory was named a leading IP lawyer in World Trademark Review’s prestigious “WTR 1000.” According to the guide, Rory “keeps you abreast of the latest legal developments, provides thorough and easy-to-comprehend explanations of complex filing procedures, and executes trademark applications that are appropriately suitable for your situation. On top of all that, he knows how best to collaborate with foreign counsel to tackle international issues.”

Clients rely on the expertise Rory continues to develop while protecting client’s inventions in the following technical areas, among others:

  • Medical instruments and devices
  • Biotechnology
  • Microfluidic applications
  • Thermovoltaics
  • Electronics and lighting
  • Printing devices
  • 3-D printing
  • Image scanning and detection devices
  • Digital cameras
  • Software and mobile applications

In view of the mechanical engineering training that Rory obtained earning his degree at MIT, Rory often describes his technical versatility as extending to “anything that moves and isn’t alive.”

Rory’s notable experience includes:

  • Building large portfolios of utility and design patents for clients related to the following medical device technologies:
    • Surgical staplers and clip appliers
    • Trocars, retractors, and seal elements
    • Tissue cutting and sealing devices
    • Sutures, suture anchors, and related surgical methods
    • Ligament repair devices and procedures
    • Electrochemical meters and cells
    • Gastric bands and bypass procedures
    • Spinal implants, including anchors, rods, cages, cross-connectors, and instrument to insert the same
    • Bone plates and adhesives
    • Anastomotic and occlusion devices
    • Hydrocephalus valves
    • Nucleic acid analysis devices and methods
    • Photodynamic therapy
  • Filing many new applications for a client directed to various 3-D printing devices and methods
  • Using expedited patent prosecution strategies for clients to obtain patents in under one year
  • Drafting a patent application for a bike storage solution for contestants of American Inventor that was patented and successfully licensed to a Fortune 500 company
  • Successfully negotiating a license for a child safety lock to a leading child safety company
  • Conducting IP due diligence analyses of the patent portfolios of small medical device companies for a Fortune 100 company prior to investments by the Fortune 100 company
  • Drafting substantive motions, claim charts, expert reports, formulating deposition strategies, and conducting 30(b)(6) depositions for a patent litigation related to software
  • Performing trademark searches and preparing opinions related to the same to provide clearance for product names prior to clients’ product releases
  • Working with over a dozen food-and-beverage clients to build their trademark portfolios and brand to achieve successful product launches
  • Working with companies in the automotive industry and the instrument measurement and calibration industries to successfully protect their well-established brands by strategically filing US and foreign trademark applications

Never content to stand on the sideline while others are doing, Rory is a leader both in the firm and in the community. Examples of his leadership include:

  • President of the Boston Patent Law Association (BPLA), one of the oldest, continuously active IP-based law associations in the country; the BPLA has over 1,000 members, and during his tenure Rory is seeking ways to collaborate both within the BPLA and with outside Bar and industry-based associations to carry out the BPLA’s mission of providing educational programs and a forum for the interchange of ideas and information concerning patent, trademark, and copyright laws
  • Former President-Elect of the BPLA, where he oversaw 25 committees in the BPLA as he led the association to one of its most active years in its 93-year history, hosting, on average, more than one event or meeting per week (62 total) and filing four amicus briefs—two each at the Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Former Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of the quarterly BPLA newsletter, for which in 2016 he led a complete redesign to make it more accessible and readable to readers across all platforms (computers, tablets, and mobile devices)
  • Member of the 2014 Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) Public Interest Leadership Program (PILP), which is a leadership program with a public interest focus that has gained prominence in the Boston legal community since it was introduced by Chief Judge Mark Wolf in 2002
  • Member of the Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) Corporation, following his continued involvement in raising money for GBLS’s family law unit, including being a two-time recipient of an award for his “Outstanding Contributions to Legal Services for the Poor"
  • Lead author of a white paper dissecting the advantages and disadvantages of the various U.S. post-patent proceedings that was presented at the AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute
  • Founding and continuing member of the editorial board that produced Nutter’s IP Bulletin from September 2009 through June 2015 and for the IP Law Bulletin blog, which debuted in July 2015, both of which provide practical advice about IP issues
  • Visionary and lead author of Nutter’s “How To” series on branding that published in Nutter’s IP Bulletin and IP Law Bulletin blog
  • Frequent guest lecturer at Suffolk University Law School for a patent litigation course
  • Mentor at the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), where he advises emerging companies on IP issues



  • Shawmut Corporation

    Nutter represented Shawmut Corporation, a developer of high-performance composites, in its joint venture with the automotive headliner and specialty industrial fabrics business of Glen Raven Technical Fabrics LLC, a global provider of innovative technical fabric solutions.

News & Insights


Speaking Engagements


Blog Posts



  • Boston Business Journal, "40 under 40", 2018

  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013-2018

Education & Admissions


Suffolk University Law School, J.D., with distinction

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., Mechanical Engineering


  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

In the Community

Rory serves as visionary and lead author of Nutter’s “How To” series on branding that published in Nutter’s IP Bulletin and IP Law Bulletin blog. He is also a frequent guest lecturer at Suffolk University Law School.


BPLA President, 2017-Present

BPLA Board of Governors, 2011-Present

Massachusetts Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2013-2018

WTR1000 Individual Recipient – “Prosecution and Strategy”

Boston Business Journal, "40 under 40", 2018

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