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 covers a broad spectrum of intellectual property ("IP") matters, including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. He is a registered patent attorney with extensive experience in creating, filing, and prosecuting patent applications across a wide range of technologies, such as general mechanical, container and packaging, juvenile products, outdoor/hunting and fishing equipment, electronics, medical/dental devices, biomechanical, appliances, and computer hardware and software technologies. He also has significant experience with the Patent Cooperation Treaty and assisting clients with protecting their IP internationally. 

Additionally, Ryan offers guidance and negotiates IP matters related to licensing, non-disclosure agreements, IP due-diligence, and IP-related terms and conditions for various types of agreements, such as joint development, manufacturing, service, and sales agreements. 

Ryan has a wealth of experience in assisting entities of varying sizes, from Fortune 100 to start-up companies, in strategically capturing and protecting their IP in the U.S. and internationally. He has further provided clients with counsel on the strategic planning, development, and management of their intellectual property portfolios.


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

Representative Experience

Ryan's representative experience includes:

  • Assisting 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.
  • Counseling 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
  • Advising a dental lab company in the strategic development of a patent portfolio to protect their innovative product designs and to gain independence from their reliance and cost of using certain third-party providers
  • Providing IP due diligence prior to the sale of business
  • Helping 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
  • Assisting a company in the development and filing of strategic patent applications prior to entering into a large government contract for military equipment
  • Guiding 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 from Managing IP, 2022-2023
  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Intellectual Property, 2023
  • "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 2024
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2023
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 20234

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