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John P. Sullivan, Jr.

John P. Sullivan, Jr.


Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA

How John Helps Clients

With a background in music and entrepreneurship, John combines his business acumen and legal expertise to help clients identify, protect, commercialize and enforce their brands, creativity and technological innovations. As an entrepreneur prior to becoming an attorney, John experienced first-hand the legal maze that must be navigated to successfully launch and scale a venture. With a wealth of experiential knowledge in hand, John integrates his expertise in the areas of intellectual property and corporate law with his creative background to provide clients with holistic and insightful legal counsel that achieves results.   

John is a tireless advocate for his clients and takes great pride in offering expert legal counsel without pretense. Just as comfortable in a pair of jeans and an old Pearl Jam t-shirt as he is in a suit, John takes the time to get to know his clients and understand their business objectives and aspirations. For John, the client relationship is always built upon trust. Such trust is cultivated over time by offering expert counsel and great service, all performed with a keen eye towards understanding and achieving the client’s overarching business objectives.  

With an extensive background in the areas of trademark and copyright law, in addition to commercial licensing and corporate strategy, John has helped clients ranging in size from early-stage start-ups to Fortune 100 companies develop and implement pragmatic business solutions to complex intellectual property and corporate law problems. John’s practice often crosses traditional practice area boundaries, whereby John understands that in an increasingly complex, globally interconnected economy, it is rare that a legal issue only pertains to one area of law. 

As a dual Irish citizen with significant experience counseling companies coming out of or expanding into the European market, John provides a valued international perspective for his clients. John regularly represents both U.S. and European entrepreneurs and clients looking to implement or scale trans-Atlantic operations. John’s highly respected position in both the U.S. and Irish legal and business communities allows him to offer unique insights and expert legal counsel informed by years of experience living and doing business in both Europe and the U.S.    

Clients also appreciate that John intimately understands the substantial role new technologies play for any business today. Whether discussing e-commerce platforms, social media, blockchain or cryptocurrency, John brings a unique technological expertise to bear when counseling clients on matters involving e-commerce and new media. John’s practice focuses, in part, on helping clients craft and protect their online presence, as well on the design and implementation of comprehensive online brand and copyright enforcement programs. John’s clients, which hail from a wide array of industries ranging from apparel and software to music and entertainment, value his expert command of the online space and the unique legal challenges it presents to any artist, entrepreneur or company today.      

John has substantial experience managing global trademark portfolios for clients, and relies upon this expertise to enrich his other areas of practice. Such areas also include extensive experience successfully leading negotiations for numerous commercial licensing, brand licensing, and software licensing deals. On the enforcement side, John’s background also includes representing clients in intellectual property, unfair competition, and false advertising litigation in state and federal courts, as well as before the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board and in Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings. In this fashion, John possesses unique knowledge and problem solving capabilities in the realm of both litigation and transactional legal counsel, which often dovetail into one another.

John was selected for the Irish Echo 40 Under 40 for 2020 and was also selected to be part of the 2020 Irish Legal 100,a listing of the leading figures in law across the United States. Most recently, John was selected for inclusion in the 2021 Pennsylvania Rising Stars® list.

What Clients Can Expect

John serves as a passionate champion for his clients. His legal counsel is enriched by his creative and international entrepreneurship background, and his down-to-earth approach and expert counsel is highly valued by clients. As a musician and entrepreneur, he’s walked in many of his clients’ shoes and intimately understands the frustrations and aspirations of any creative or company working to thrive in the world today. He gets results for his clients and does so without pretense. Clients can expect to hear an analogy or two along the way relating to Ireland, all of which likely involve horses, a poorly played round of golf or “that busker who used to play guitar on Grafton Street …”

Be genuine and always remain committed to learning new things. In a world moving at warp speed, it is more important than ever to stay curious.  The most effective legal solutions are found by asking thoughtful questions.

Outside the Office

John’s mother rode and trained showjumpers with the U.S. Equestrian Team, and he and his brother grew up on horse farms. John learned to speak Spanish and play guitar growing up, and he remains active in the music world. With dual Irish citizenship, he and his wife regularly get back to visit family and friends in Ireland. To this end, John is likely the best horseback-riding, Spanish-speaking, guitar-playing IP and corporate law attorney with dual Irish citizenship you will find this side of the Atlantic.

John always highlights that his greatest personal achievement by far was convincing his wife to marry him.  As John emphasizes, she is far more intelligent and better looking than he is, and she inspires him daily to reach for the stars.  As John’s Irish grandfather once described the moment when he first met his grandmother over in County Mayo, Ireland: “If lucky, once in a lifetime a blind squirrel will find a beautiful acorn.”  John’s wife never appreciates being called an acorn, but the overall sentiment holds true. 

Proof Points

  • Represented a Caribbean-based client whose product was being imported to the United States from China. The shipment was seized by U.S. Customs, citing the shipment lacked the requisite certificates of safety testing required for children’s toys. U.S. Customs was threatening to seize and destroy the product if the requested certificates were not provided within twenty-four hours. John initiated a dialogue directly with U.S. Customs and argued that the products were meant for adults and therefore should not be subject to the additional testing and certification requirements. After multiple discussions, John persuaded U.S. Customs and they agreed to immediately release the seized products for shipment to the originally intended retailers.  

  • Successfully design, implement and manage customized online brand management and trademark/copyright enforcement programs for Fortune 500 clients, including integration of latest enforcement technologies into the programs.

  • Extensive experience successfully leading negotiations for numerous commercial licensing, brand licensing and software licensing deals.
  • Draft and assist clients with the successful implementation of social media and data privacy policies and procedures.
  • Spearhead successful worldwide anti-counterfeiting program for Fortune 500 apparel company.
  • Successfully manage global trademark portfolios for multinational clients and lead management of maintenance program for same portfolios.
  • Conduct IP due diligence and manage and negotiate investment deals for angel investors and venture capital firms in the emerging venture space, including such counseling for both U.S. and European-based investors doing business in the U.S. market.
  • Represents many U.S. companies to evaluate the applicability of the EU General Data Protection Regulation to their current and future operations and to understand and modify the data processing agreements required by EU customers and vendors.