Ryan K. Simmons

Intellectual Property Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email rks@wardandsmith.com
252.672.5504 Fax 252.672.5477
Post Office Box 867, New Bern, NC 28563-0867

Ryan's practice encompasses a wide range of intellectual property ("IP") matters, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.  He supports and negotiates IP issues, including licensing and non-disclosure agreements and IP-related terms and conditions in various other types of agreements, such as joint development, manufacturing, service, and sales agreements.  He is a registered patent attorney and has significant experience with preparing, filing, and prosecuting patent applications in a broad range of technologies, including electronics, computer hardware and software, medical devices, and general mechanical technologies.  Ryan has worked with entities ranging from Fortune 100 to start-up companies to capture and protect their IP and has experience advising clients concerning the strategic development and management of their IP portfolios.


  • J.D., Florida Coastal School of Law, 1999
  • B.S., Utah State University, 1995

Representative Experience

  • Representation of a biotech start-up company in developing and protecting their patent portfolio to position them for a $90 million+ acquisition by one of the largest DNA sequencing companies in the U.S.
  • Representation of a large home appliance manufacturer in the prosecution of strategic patent applications
  • Representation of a packaging company to provide IP due diligence prior to the sale of their packaging business
  • Representation of a company in the preparation of product clearance/non-infringement opinion, as well as product development, prior to launching of new products into a crowded consumer market space
  • Representation of a company in the development and filing of strategic patent applications prior to entering into a large government contract for military equipment
  • Representation of a container company in the strategic development of a large patent portfolio to protect their innovative product designs to gain a competitive advantage in a traditionally low IP business space
  • Representation of a companies in the retail online, banking, and tech space in response to patent infringement assertions from non-practicing entities

Honors and Distinctions*

  • Trade Mark Star and Patent Star, "IP Stars," Managing IP, 2022
  • "The Best Lawyers in America," Best Lawyers®, 2021-2023

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • American Bar Association—Section: Intellectual Property Law
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • New Bern Area Chamber of Commerce (Leadership Craven Alumni Association; Leadership Craven Alumnus, Class of 2012)
  • North Carolina Bar Association—Section: Intellectual Property Law

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 2010
  • Vermont, 2006
  • Florida, 2000
  • United States Patent  and Trademark Office, 2000
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • All state courts in Florida
  • All state courts in Vermont

About Me

My motto is, If you don't try, you won't know.  I admire my clients' creativity and courage to put it all on the line in pursuit of their passion/dreams.  The best thing about Ward and Smith is its culture, which is rooted in exceptional client service and teamwork.

One surprising thing people don't know about me is I was an alligator hunter in Florida for a brief period of time.  I was also a high school Biology teacher.

I would love to live on a boat, because I love fishing and the ocean and living on a boat would allow me to always be close to the ocean and the ability to fish as much as I want.  

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are my favorite fictional characters.  They were always up for a good adventure and just knew how to have fun!

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions: www.bestlawyers.com; businessnc.com/special-sections/legal-elite/; and www.superlawyers.com/north-carolina.

An attorney‑client relationship may only be established through direct attorney‑to‑client communication that is confirmed by the execution of an engagement agreement. The content of any unsolicited email sent to Ward and Smith, P.A., or to any of its attorneys at an email address available on this website, will not create an attorney‑client relationship and the contents of such unsolicited email shall not be considered confidential. Therefore, do not use this website or the email addresses available on this website to provide confidential information about yourself or a legal matter to Ward and Smith or any of its attorneys.

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Legal Elite Business North Carolina 2021
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2022
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 2022

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