Photo of Darrell A. Fruth

Darrell A. Fruth

AA Contact Info

Sarah Herklotz
Phone: 919.821.6749


Darrell A. Fruth helps clients navigate issues with law and technology. He assists companies of all sizes with developing, protecting and exploiting rights in intellectual property. He has extensive patent experience, having addressed legal issues with inventions in a diverse range of fields, including software, microscopy, semiconductors, consumer products, mobile communications and pharmaceuticals. He focuses his practice on technology transactions.

Prior to joining Smith Anderson in 2018, Darrell practiced at law firms in San Francisco and Raleigh.

  • Patent attorney registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Former Chair, Intellectual Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association (2016-2017)
  • Former Board Member, Bull City Forward, a non-profit advancing social entrepreneurship
  • Former Board Member, Watts Hillandale Neighborhood Association
  • Volunteer (coach, judge and school-wide coordinator) for elementary Odyssey of the Mind program


  • Co-taught the Duke Law School Start-Up Ventures Clinic (2015-2017), supervising students on a broad range of transactional services to early-stage entrepreneurs
  • Taught Environmental Law survey course at Elon Law School (2009-2011)
  • Designed and taught undergraduate Philosophy course at the University of Nevada (2001)
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Trademark Law (2018-2020), Litigation - Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Law (2020)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite (2017-2018)
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Rising Star (2012)
  • University of California Regents Fellow
  • President, Chi Epsilon Honor Society, MIT

Pro Bono:

As an associate in San Francisco, Darrell argued a successful pro bono civil rights case to the federal court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The resulting opinion has been cited in decisions by judges more than 2,000 times. 



  • Advised a  leading provider of patient affordability, access, adherence, and support services in a definitive agreement to acquire a healthcare information management software company.
  • Transactional experience preparing, reviewing and negotiating a wide range of agreements, including license agreements, master service agreements, software-as-a-service contracts, service level agreements, confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements and joint development agreements.
  • Counseling and compliance experience on a wide range of technical and legal issues, including privacy, data protection and data breach issues, patent and trademark strategy, and compliance with complex regulations and industry guidelines.
  • Industry experience as a former environmental engineer and software developer and having written and worked on a range of sustainability and Clean Technology issues.
  • Represented a specialty pharma company in its acquisition of a pharmaceutical product to treat dermatological indications.

News & Publications


  • Weapons Emerging to Take Up Against Trolls
    National Law Journal
  • Touby or not Touby: The Constitutional Question When Congress Authorizes State and Local Governments to Legislate the Contours of Federal Criminal Law
    44 Environmental Law Reported 10072
  • Adjusting Carbon Management Policies to Encourage Renewable, Net-Negative Projects Such as Biochar Sequestration
    36 William Mitchell Law Review 992
  • Note, Economic and Institutional Constraints to Privatizing Government Information Technology Services
    13 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology

Speaking Engagements


  • Co-Speaker, "The Intellectual Property Year in Review: Trade Secrets," NCBA Intellectual Property: Ready for the New Decade CLE, Charlotte, N.C.
  • Moderator, “Digitizing Reality: AR: VR, and the Future of the Entertainment Industry,” Duke University 7th Annual Sports and Entertainment Law Symposium
    Durham, N.C., 2017
  • Speaker, “Start-Up Ventures: What’s Law Got to Do With It?” Greensboro HQ Incubator
    Greensboro, N.C., 2016
  • Panelist, “Identifying, Protecting and Managing Intellectual Property,” North Carolina Bar Association’s Business Law Institute
    Pinehurst, N.C., 2016
  • Moderator, “How to Identify and Contract with a Cloud Services Provider That You Can Truly Trust,” ABA Intellectual Property Roundtable
    Raleigh, N.C., 2016
  • Speaker, “Keeping it Legit: Legal Issues for Enterprising Artists,” Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference
    Greensboro, N.C., 2014
  • Speaker, “Responding to Patent Trolls,” UNC Festival of Legal Learning
    Chapel Hill, N.C., 2014
  • Speaker, “Legal Developments Affecting Green Building: From Cap-and-Trade to Stimulus Grants, U.S. Green Building Council’s Commercial Real Estate Sustainable Forum
    Greensboro, N.C., 2010

Bar & Court Admissions

  • North Carolina


  • Yale Law School, J.D., 2000
  • University of California at Berkeley, M.S., Environmental Engineering, 1995
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S., Environmental Engineering Science, 1994


  • Law Clerk to the Honorable Howard D. McKibben, U.S. District Court for Nevada
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