Darrell A. Fruth helps innovative companies develop and commercialize new technologies. He regularly assists clients in life science, ag-tech, and clean-tech on complex national and international licensing, distribution and research collaboration agreements. He helps software clients navigate open source issues, distribute video games and develop software platforms. Darrell also provides guidance on intellectual property issues in strategic commercial transactions such as joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.
Prior to joining Smith Anderson in 2018, Darrell practiced at law firms in San Francisco and Raleigh.
Professional & Community Affiliations
- 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)
Honors & Awards
- Best Lawyers®, Trademark Law (2018-2021), Litigation - Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets Law (2020-2021)
- Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh Trademark Law (2021)
- 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
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 2,500 times.
- Advised an international research-oriented healthcare group in its acquisition of worldwide product rights to a rare disease therapy.
- Represented a biotechnology company focused on discovery of traits for improving plant yields in a license agreement with a leading university.
- Represented a global materials manufacturer on collaborations with industry partners to research and develop innovative rechargeable battery technologies.
- Advised a venture capital-funded genome editing company in a worldwide development and commercialization agreement with a leading global drug company to develop therapies for hepatitis B using a proprietary genome editing platform.
- Counseled a public company on strategies for negotiating clinical trial agreements with sites across the country to test diagnostic products.
- Represented university spin-outs on licensing inventions from Duke University and the University of North Carolina.
- Advised a leading video game maker with licensing its technology to a major auto manufacturer to create a human-machine interface for use in automobiles.
- Represented a specialty pharma company in its acquisition of a pharmaceutical product to treat dermatological indications.
- Counseled a leading provider of patient affordability, access, adherence, and support services on intellectual property issues associated with its acquisition of an open-source healthcare information management software company.
News & Publications
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s HistoryThe 2021 Best Lawyers®, 08.20.2020
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©, 08.20.2019
- Precision BioSciences Inks Strategic Collaboration with Gilead Sciences Valued at Up to $445 Million09.18.2018
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 08.15.2018
- Smith Anderson Strengthens its National Technology Transactions Practice with the Addition of Darrell Fruth05.02.2018
- Weapons Emerging to Take Up Against Trolls09.2014National Law Journal
- Touby or not Touby: The Constitutional Question When Congress Authorizes State and Local Governments to Legislate the Contours of Federal Criminal Law201444 Environmental Law Reporter 10072
- Adjusting Carbon Management Policies to Encourage Renewable, Net-Negative Projects Such as Biochar Sequestration201036 William Mitchell Law Review 992
- Note, Economic and Institutional Constraints to Privatizing Government Information Technology Services200013 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology
- Co-Speaker, "The Intellectual Property Year in Review: Trade Secrets," NCBA Intellectual Property: Ready for the New Decade CLE, Charlotte, N.C.04.05.2019
- Moderator, “Digitizing Reality: AR: VR, and the Future of the Entertainment Industry,” Duke University 7th Annual Sports and Entertainment Law SymposiumDurham, N.C., 2017
- Speaker, “Start-Up Ventures: What’s Law Got to Do With It?” Greensboro HQ IncubatorGreensboro, N.C., 2016
- Panelist, “Identifying, Protecting and Managing Intellectual Property,” North Carolina Bar Association’s Business Law InstitutePinehurst, N.C., 2016
- Moderator, “How to Identify and Contract with a Cloud Services Provider That You Can Truly Trust,” ABA Intellectual Property RoundtableRaleigh, N.C., 2016
- Speaker, “Keeping it Legit: Legal Issues for Enterprising Artists,” Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts ConferenceGreensboro, N.C., 2014
- Speaker, “Responding to Patent Trolls,” UNC Festival of Legal LearningChapel 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 ForumGreensboro, 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