The Difference Two Decades Make

by Tony Flesor

The thriving startup economy in Denver and Boulder has been a rising tide that raised a number of ships, including patent law practices like Merchant & Gould’s. Denver office managing partner Timothy Scull said that when he first came to Colorado in 1998, he had a sense even then that it would be a fertile market for innovation.

“It feels like this energy has been building for quite a number of years,” Scull said. “I’ve always had this feeling of like, this is the place to be.” Not only was that true for him personally, as he and his family would make their home here, but also for tech development. 

This month Merchant & Gould’s Denver location, its second oldest, is celebrating its 20-year anniversary. The Denver office opened its doors about a century after the firm’s original office was founded in Minneapolis in 1900. Today the intellectual property firm has grown to more than 100 attorneys in seven cities, with the Denver office having 20 attorneys, Scull was one of the office’s founding attorneys.

The office’s two-decade span also covers a time of major technological and economic transformation, from the dotcom bubble to the rise of “smart” products, with patent practice changing in turn. In that time Colorado would emerge as one of the nation’s innovation hubs — and a great place to have an IP practice. What makes Colorado different from other U.S. cities of its size in terms of entrepreneurial energy, Scull said, is the educated workforce and the desirability of living in the state. “Folks want to be here,” and that energy goes into their innovation, he said. When the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office opened a satellite office in downtown Denver in 2014, it seemed like a national endorsement of Colorado’s patent community.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the October 15, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.