Phil Cardinale is a partner and intellectual property practice group leader at Smith Anderson. 

In his practice Phil focuses on technology transactions, intangible asset management and the defense and assertion of the full spectrum of intellectual property rights. His most frequent matters involve brand strategy, trademarks, trade dress, copyright and product design law, as well as the licensing, development and commercialization of those rights and products through strategic transactions. He regularly advises on IP disputes and litigation at the federal, state and agency levels. The transactional side of Phil’s practice includes negotiating software, data and other technology contracts. He often represents companies in the retail and hospitality, apparel/footwear, software/data, and biotech sectors that range from multinational corporations to startups.

Phil has long been a leader in the legal profession and has served since 2012 as an American Bar Association Liaison to the World Intellectual Property Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations. He has chaired numerous ABA copyright and trademark committees, and in 2019 was a winner of the ABA IP Section Outstanding Leadership Award. In 2023, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper appointed Phil to serve on the state’s Board of Science, Technology & Innovation, which supports research applications and their potential impacts on commercial innovation throughout the state.

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Phil holds five state bar licenses and is a North Carolina Bar Board-certified Trademark Specialist, a distinction held by less than 25 lawyers statewide. Prior to joining Smith Anderson, he worked in the Washington, DC office of a global law firm. Prior to studying law, he was a print journalist in New York and a university professor. He earned his doctorate and master’s degree at the University of Oxford (England) with a Ph.D. dissertation on the ancient Roman poet Vergil and has published peer-reviewed articles in several academic fields (example here).

In Raleigh, where Phil lives with his wife, kids and a large white goldendoodle, he has served as a Y Guides Chief and coached multiple YMCA basketball and North Carolina Science Olympiad teams. He is currently a board member of The Cinema, Inc., a film society established in 1966 that sponsors screenings and short lectures on classic films, and The Counsellors, Inc., a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that since 1946 has brought together members of the bench and bar to break bread together and foster collegiality in the legal profession. Among other experiences, Phil has been a New York firefighter, intercollegiate football player, White House intern for two administrations and a wedding officiant, and enjoys gardening and astronomy whenever he can find spots of time.

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Areas of Focus



  • Outstanding Leadership Award, American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section
  • Burton Award for Excellence in Legal Writing
  • North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society


George Washington University, J.D., 2007

University of Oxford, Ph.D. (2004), M.A., English, with highest honors (2000)

Georgetown University, B.A., Classics, cum laude, 1996

Bar & Court Admissions



  • Member, North Carolina Board of Science, Technology & Innovation at N.C. Department of Commerce (Governor Appointment: 2023-present)
  • American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section
    • Liaison, World Intellectual Property Organization, SCCR (2012-Present)
    • Vice Chair, Trademark Litigation Committee (2019-Present)
    • Past Chair, Copyright Office Affairs Committee (2017-2019)
    • Past Chair, Copyright and Emerging Technologies Committee (2010-2012)
  • International Trademark Association
    • Internet Committee (2019-Present)
    • Copyright Committee (2016-2019)
  • The Counsellors (Washington, DC)
    • Board of Directors
    • President (2018-2019)
    • Other Officer Positions (2015-2018)
  • The Cinema, Inc. (Raleigh, NC)
    • Board Member / Historian
  • Member, Rotary Club of Raleigh
  • Y Guides
  • Teacher, North Carolina Science Olympiad
  • North Carolina Bar Association


  • Advised an eco-friendly startup company in agreements to sell certain business assets while enlisting the buyer as its long-term representative for future licensing of its patented technology in select markets.

  • Advised a contract research organization on intellectual property issues in a definitive agreement to acquire a specialized contract research organization for the biotechnology industry.

  • Advised a startup company in a long-term strategic collaboration with a multinational technology company to develop and market a software platform to healthcare providers and pharmacy teams for reviewing pharmaceutical inventories on hand and identifying clinical alternatives for drugs that are in short supply. 

  • Assisted a multinational Fortune 50 telecommunications company in negotiating and drafting a collaboration agreement for the creation of a video game service and related content.
  • Assisted numerous Fortune 50 international retailers in the creation of product development and intellectual property clearance protocols and related risk management and licensing strategies.
  • Advised various companies on the creation and maintenance of a broad array of master services agreements and intellectual property licenses.
  • Advised a national travel company in its acquisition of a restaurant chain and subsequent rebranding strategies.
  • Advised a semiconductor and LED company on the divestiture of its lighting products business unit for an initial cash payment of $225 million plus the potential to receive an earn-out payment based on the business’s post-closing performance.
  • Counseled start-up companies on best practices for developing and commercializing their intellectual property and establishing protocols to protect trade secrets.
  • Litigated on behalf of major U.S. corporations before the judiciary and several federal agencies, including the Trademark Trial Appeal Board, Copyright Royalty Board, and International Trade Commission, on intellectual property and technology issues.
  • Monitored legislative and regulatory developments relating to intellectual property, data privacy and Internet governance, and advised clients on government relations and compliance on these issues.
  • Assisted several global fashion retailers in international copyright, trademark, publicity rights, product design and domain rights enforcements.  
  • Represented international non-profit organizations in the creation and implementation of policies and strategies relating to intellectual property, asset management, co-ventures and trademark and copyright licensing.


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