Management

Ann McCrackin - President

Ann McCrackinAnn McCrackin is Black Hills IP's President as well as a patent prosecution process expert and a highly accomplished patent attorney with extensive experience in both U.S. and international patent prosecution.  Before becoming President of Black Hills IP Ann was a Professor of Law and the Director of the nationally recognized Patent Prosecution and Procedure Program at Franklin Pierce Law Center (now the University of New Hampshire School of Law).  At Franklin Pierce, Ann directed the program and taught courses in advanced aspects of practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Ann has also taught dozens of continuing legal education courses and seminars on various aspects of patent process and prosecution and has edited and authored a number of legal texts on patent law.  Ann is also attorney of record for several Amicus Briefs filed in patent cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Ann was a Shareholder at the Minneapolis patent firm Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, P.A. for eight years and now is of counsel at the firm.  Ann has an undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and a law degree from Franklin Pierce Law Center.

Mark Muller - Chief Operations Officer

Mark Muller is Black Hills IP's Chief Operations Officer, as well as a registered patent attorney and registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. His technical expertise is concentrated in the areas of telecommunications, computer circuit design and programming, environmentally hardened electronics, and high-speed data acquisition. Mr. Muller graduated as a President's Endowed Scholar from Texas A&M University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. He obtained his juris doctor degree, with honors, from St. Mary's University, where he was inducted into the John M. Harlan honor society, and won a place in the Texas State Mock Trial competition. Mr. Muller worked as a Senior Research Engineer in the Department of Space Systems at Southwest Research Institute, where he managed programs for NASA, SDIO, and the oil and gas pipeline industry. He also taught Corporate Intellectual Property (IP) Management as an adjunct professor of law at St. Mary's University. Mr. Muller has been involved in the world of IP as an inventor, and as a patent agent/attorney for more than 20 years.

Jim Brophy - Vice President of Sales

Jim BrophyJames (Jim) P. Brophy II has over twenty-five years of sales experience, and was instrumental in introducing the first successful web-based IP management system to the intellectual property industry. He also was instrumental in the early growth of the IP outsourcing industry at his prior company. Over the last ten years, Jim’s experience in the IP management and outsourcing business has given him a strong understanding of the patent and trademark process as well as the current needs of the industry. Jim’s outstanding abilities and reputation for honesty have been rewarded by his customers.

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Leon Steinberg - Chairman

Leon SteinbergLeon Steinberg chairs Black Hills IP’s board of directors. Steinberg has an extensive background in the legal support industry.  Mr. Steinberg was the CEO of Intellevate, one of the world’s largest legal process outsource organizations.  He was the CEO of FoundationIP, a work process and management system for intellectual property firms and legal departments.   He was also a member of CPA Global’s senior management team. Mr. Steinberg was the founder and former CEO of Meritas, the world’s second largest affiliation of law firms.  Leon is a former partner at the Maslon law firm in Minneapolis. Leon was a contributing author to the American Bar Association’s Lawyers Handbook and a frequent lecturer to the University Of Michigan Institute Of Law Firm Management. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from William Mitchell College of Law.

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