People

Tara D. Elliott

Partner

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Tara D. Elliott is a seasoned first-chair trial-court and appellate lawyer with extensive experience handling high-stakes commercial and intellectual property disputes. A partner at WilmerHale, Ms. Elliott has a unique combination of private practice and government experience that provides distinctive value for her clients. She handles multi-million dollar matters involving infringement and corporate litigation concerning breaches of fiduciary duties, contracts, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, e-commerce and cybersecurity, among other issues. A determined leader and exceptional lawyer, Ms. Elliott has proven to be a trusted legal advisor to clients who value her ability to navigate their complex legal issues.

Ms. Elliott currently serves on the Federal Circuit's Lawyers' Advisory Council. She previously chaired the Third Circuit Lawyers Advisory Committee by appointment of the Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. She also served on the District of Delaware Merit Selection Panels for the US Magistrate Judge and Bankruptcy Judge vacancies by request of the Judges of the US District Court for the District of Delaware and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, respectively.

Prior to joining WilmerHale in early 2014, Ms. Elliott was a principal at a major US law firm, where she led litigation teams in case strategy and implementation, patent and trademark prosecution and client counseling. In 2011, she was appointed to serve as a Special Master in the US District Court for the District of Delaware to assist the court in resolving disputes in complex commercial matters.

Ms. Elliott served as a law clerk to the Honorable Gregory M. Sleet, Chief Judge of the US District Court for the District of Delaware in 2006, and the Honorable Raymond C. Clevenger of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 2007. She began her career at the Central Intelligence Agency where she was a computer engineer in the Directorate of Science and Technology and an analyst in the Directorate of Intelligence.

Ms. Elliott received her bachelor's degree in computer engineering from Georgia Tech, where she attended on both academic and athletic scholarships. She received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was senior editor on the Journal of Constitutional Law and a member of the Moot Court Board and National Trial Team.

Recent Highlights

Ms. Elliott has noteworthy experience serving as lead counsel for major clients, including Fortune 500 companies. Some of her recent and interesting matters include:

  • Serving as lead counsel for one of the world's largest rubber and tire companies in patent litigation involving tire pressure monitoring systems.
  • Serving as lead counsel for a multinational computer software company in patent litigation concerning encoding of image data into JPEG files.
  • Served as lead counsel for a digital radio company in patent litigation concerning analog and digital signals in voice and data transmissions.
  • Served as lead and trial counsel for multinational software company in a shareholder derivative suit in the Delaware Court of Chancery. 
  • Successfully represented a multinational computer software company in a suit seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of patents involving systems and methods for personal computer power management.
  • Successfully represented a multinational computer software company in a suit alleging infringement of a patent related to address handling within electronic documents in computer programs.
  • Successfully defended a software company in a suit alleging infringement of patents related to product activation technology.
  • Successfully represented a plaintiff Internet services company in patent litigation involving billing methods.
  • Successfully represented a check processing company in a patent suit related to the electronic processing of checks at the point of sale through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, and in a suit alleging infringement of patents directed to methods and systems for interactive check authorizations using an electronic transaction terminal to gather transaction information at the point of sale.

Professional Activities

Ms. Elliott is admitted to practice before the US District Courts for the District of Delaware and the Eastern District of Michigan, and the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

She is a member or former member of the following panels, councils and associations:

  • Fellow, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Member, Advisory Council, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • Member, Special Master Panel, US District Court for the District of Delaware
  • Former Chair; Ex-Officio Member, Judicial Council of the Third Judicial Circuit, Lawyers' Advisory Committee
  • Member, Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel, US District Court for the District of Delaware
  • Member, Federal Bar Association, Delaware Chapter
  • Member, Delaware Bar Association, Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section

Community Involvement

Ms. Elliott is a director of the Christiana Care Health System, where she serves as the chair of the governance committee.

Honors & Awards

Ms. Elliott is consistently recognized by many legal publications and other associations for her exceptional work in the field of intellectual property litigation. These honors include the following:

  • Recognized as one of the 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 "top patent practitioners" by IAM Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Practitioners, with peers and clients calling her a "next-generation superstar," a "first-rate litigator" and "the complete package – incredibly smart and client focused."
  • Named a 2015 Washington DC Rising Star by The National Law Journal, a recognition that honors the top legal talent under the age of 40
  • Selected by peers as a leading intellectual property lawyer in Washington DC in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 editions of Super Lawyers 
  • Recognized in 2014 as one of the Top 250 Women in IP by Managing Intellectual Property 
  • Recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Outside Counsel Award by The National Bar Association Commercial Law Section
  • Recognized in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business as a leader in the field of intellectual property
  • Selected to On Being A Lawyer Of Color's 2013 Hot List, meant to recognize lawyers who are achieving prominence and distinction in their practice and who are demonstrating a strong commitment to advancing diversity in the legal profession
  • Named to the 2013 "Women Worth Watching" list by Profiles in Diversity Journal
  • Selected as a 2013 Nation's Best Advocate: 40 Lawyers Under 40 by the National Bar Association and IMPACT
  • Selected as a 2013 and 2012 Delaware Super Lawyers"Rising Star"
  • Recipient of the 2012 New Lawyers Distinguished Service Award from the Delaware Bar Association
  • Selected as a "Rising Star" in 2009 for the "FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit" dinner at the State Department
  • Sydney B. Williams - AIPLEF Award Recipient

Publications & News

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July 24, 2017

WilmerHale Recognized in IAM Patent 1000 2017

The firm and several of its partners are ranked in IAM Patent 1000 2017 – The World's Leading Patent Professionals.

September 16, 2015

Tara D. Elliott Named a Washington DC Rising Star by The National Law Journal

Partner Tara D. Elliott is one of 40 attorneys named as a 2015 Washington DC Rising Star by The National Law Journal. This annual competition honors the top legal talent under the age of 40 who have influenced their practice areas and demonstrated strong leadership qualities.

June 12, 2015

Tara D. Elliott Recognized in Diversity Journal’s Black Heritage Month Feature

Diversity Journal has recognized Partner Tara D. Elliott in its Black Heritage Month feature, which provides lawyers of color an opportunity to speak out and provide insight, advice and inspiration to minorities.

October 2, 2014

National Bar Association Honors Tara Elliott as Outstanding Outside Counsel

The National Bar Association Commercial Law Section honored Partner Tara Elliott with its 2014 Outstanding Outside Counsel Award, meant to recognize attorneys who are continuously demonstrating significant achievements in their practice while dedicating time towards community outreach and diversity efforts.

March 11, 2014

Accomplished IP Litigator Joins WilmerHale as Partner in Washington DC

WilmerHale is pleased to welcome Tara D. Elliott as a partner in the firm's Intellectual Property Litigation Group in Washington DC.

Speaking Engagements

  • Panel Speaker, 18th Annual Charting Your Own Course Career Conference: A Focus on Sponsorship and Abundance, "The Lateral Questionnaire: A Line of Sight to Your Developmental Priorities" in Orlando, FL, on February 8-11, 2018
  • Panel Speaker, Federal Circuit Bar Association: The Ramifications of TC Heartland and Recent Decisions About Venue in Patent Cases in Washington, DC, on January 10, 2018
  • Panel Moderator, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judicial Conference, District Court Judge's Panel, in Washington, DC, on April 11, 2016.
  • Panel Speaker, AIPLA Women in Intellectual Property Global Networking Event & Dinner, "Effective Communication Styles" in Wilmington, DE, on May 21, 2015.
  • Panel Moderator, MCCA's Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference, "Speaking Your Client's Language: Being a Lawyer and Strategic Advisor" in Washington, DC, on July 24, 2014.
  • CLE Speaker, "Closing Plenary: Hot Topics in the Law - Cybersecurity: Who is the Threat & Are We Safe?" in Los Angeles, CA, on March 13, 2014.
  • CLE Speaker, Biotech and Pharmaceutical Patents at the Federal Circuit: 2013 Year in Review, in Boston, MA, on January 15, 2014.
  • Court Liaison and Co-Moderator for the FBA's Roundtable Discussion on "The Record" with the Judges of the Federal Circuit and District of Delaware, in Wilmington, DE, on October 10, 2013.
  • Speaker at NBA's Corporate Leadership Forum Academy, in Miami, FL on July 30, 2013 Forum Coordinator and Panel Moderator at NBA's Corporate Leadership Forum Academy, Las Vegas, NV, on July 15, 2012.
  • CLE Speaker, "Litigating in the Cloud," and "Appellate Advocacy, Federal Circuit" Minneapolis, MN, on May 11, 2012.
  • Panel Speaker at NBA Corporate Counsel Conference, "Merging Trends in IP and Internet Law: How They Impact Your Company's IP Portfolio," Miami, on February 23, 2012.
  • Forum Coordinator and Panel Moderator at NBA's Corporate Leadership Forum Academy, Baltimore, MD, on August 2, 2011.
  • Panel Moderator at Howard University's IIPSJ, "Therasense: Inequitable Conduct," Washington, DC, on March 11, 2011.
  • Panel Moderator at ACPC, "A Discussion from the Bench: Appellate, District Court and Magistrate Judge Perspectives on the Evolving Legal Landscape," Philadelphia, PA, on June 29, 2010.
  • Panel Speaker, IP & Enterprise Risk Management, Menlo Park, CA, on May 7, 2010.

Practices

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Education

JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2003, Senior Editor, Journal of Constitutional Law, Moot Court Board, National Trial Team, American Intellectual Property Law Education Foundation Award, Black Law Student Association's Leadership Award

BS, Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1998, Stokes Scholar, Bobby Dodd Athletic Scholarship, NCAA National Sportsmanship Award

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

Delaware

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Clerkships

The Hon. Gregory M. Sleet, US District Court for the District of Delaware, 2006 - 2007

The Hon. Raymond C. Clevenger III, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2007 - 2008

Government Experience

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