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James R. Lawrence, III



James is a zealous advocate for clients seeking to obtain, enforce, and defend their intellectual property assets. He has extensive experience representing clients in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, false advertising, and related disputes in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels.

In addition to his intellectual property litigation practice, James provides strategic counsel regarding intellectual property transactions. He also advises clients regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) on matters arising under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. James is involved in the firm’s Blockchain, Digital Currencies & Smart Contracts Industry Group, where he is exploring distributed ledger technology’s potential for disrupting the health care and life sciences industries.


James previously served as general counsel for an established pharmaceutical company. As the company’s chief counsel, he provided advice on legal issues related to manufacturing, distributing, marketing, and selling prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, medical devices, and cosmetics. James’ legal practice spanned complex commercial transactions, corporate governance, intellectual property, FDA regulatory matters, and labor and employment. As general counsel, he served as first-chair, lead trial counsel in federal district court litigation involving the company. This in-house experience allows James to frame legal advice in terms of business objectives, particularly for life sciences clients.

He maintains an active research interest in the intersection between false advertising and unfair competition law and state and federal food and drug law; the interplay between state unfair and deceptive trade practice statutes and state and federal regulatory regimes; and federalism and patent law.

During law school, James served as judicial extern to the Honorable Paul M. Newby of the North Carolina Supreme Court and as a law clerk in the FDA’s Office of the Chief Counsel. Prior to law school, he worked in the health and life sciences practice of a global management consulting firm where he advised pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device companies, and health insurance companies.


  • Negotiated and closed senior secured credit facility for a pharmaceutical company’s first major financing, valued at $20 million; provide legal advice regarding ongoing compliance
  • Served as first-chair litigator for plaintiff pharmaceutical company in an action for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, unfair competition, false advertising, and false patent marking. Negotiated and closed settlement agreements with both defendants.
  • Represent plaintiff pharmaceutical company in trademark infringement, false advertising, and unfair competition case
  • Serve as lead counsel to pharmaceutical company in effort to combat counterfeiting in China
  • Represented sunscreen manufacturer in Proposition 65 case brought against much of the U.S. sunscreen industry
  • Represented gift products maker in Proposition 65 case related to lead.  Negotiated settlement of the same
  • Advised a major regional retailer in the hardware and farm equipment industry on labeling and transactional best practices related to distributing product subject to Proposition 65 in California
  • Negotiate and close pharmaceutical supply, quality, pharmacovigilance, and co-promotion agreements
  • Represented plaintiff and counter-claim defendant in patent infringement case involving water filtration technology. Successfully obtained favorable claim construction and won summary judgment on dispositive covenant not to sue defense.
  • Helped client obtain discretionary review from the North Carolina Supreme Court on issue of waiver of arbitration. The court unanimously reversed the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
  • Helped client recover appellate attorney’s fees in trademark case before the Eleventh Circuit
  • Represented optometry client in domain name dispute, successfully obtaining judgment in client’s favor

Honors & Recognitions

During law school, James received the William T. Joyner Award for excellence in law journal writing for his article “Let Us Now Try Liberty: Freeing the Private Sector to Tackle North Carolina’s Tobacco Addiction by Reinstating Employment Freedom of Contract.”

Professional Activities

  • Member, The Federalist Society
    • Steering Committee, Triangle Lawyers Chapter
  • Member, Food and Drug Law Institute
  • Member, Licensing Executives Society



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