Kristin J. Achterhof

Chicago Office
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Kristin J. Achterhof concentrates her practice in the area of intellectual property litigation and counseling. She also co-heads Katten's Advertising, Marketing and Promotions group and serves as hiring partner in the Chicago office. Kristin is a first-chair trial attorney in matters pending in federal and state courts across the country and before the US Patent and Trademark Office Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. She counsels clients on a wide variety of complex intellectual property litigation, including the prosecution and defense of claims involving copyright, trademark, trade dress and patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation, right of personality, false advertising and a range of unfair competition claims.

She handles matters involving novel or "cutting-edge" issues regarding the protection of intellectual property rights in computer software and emerging technologies, as well as the exploitation of copyrights and trademarks over the Internet. Kristin represents clients including Universal Studios, Inc.; Universal Music Group; Times Mirror, Inc.; Home Box Office, Inc. (HBO); Fruit of the Loom, Inc.; Microsoft Corporation; Allstate Insurance Co.; Planet Hollywood, Inc.; Sears, Roebuck and Co.; Bausch & Lomb; Atkins Nutritionals, Inc.; Arcadia Group International; Zango, Inc.; General Media, Inc.; USA Cable Entertainment, LLC; AIG Technical Services, Inc.; the Recording Industry Association of America, Inc.; the Motion Picture Association of America; Sony Music Corporation; Motorola Mobility LLC; and Kimberly-Clark.

In addition to her extensive litigation experience, she also represents clients in licensing, acquisition, distribution and vendor transactions involving clients' intellectual property rights, and counsels clients on the development, protection and licensing of proprietary technologies. Kristin also counsels clients on the protection of copyrights, the clearance, policing and registration of trademarks, the identification and protection of trade secrets, and the enforcement of license, confidentiality and non-competition agreements. She is a member of the Panel of Neutrals for the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, sponsored jointly by the International Trademark Association and the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution, and serves as panel counsel for intellectual property and technology cases for AIG Risk Management, Inc.

Kristin is a frequent speaker and panel member for business, legal practice and educational groups across the country and is frequently quoted and mentioned in national and international publications, including The National Law Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Reuters News Service, Fox News, IP Law & Business, Tech News World,, Birmingham Post and The Recorder, as a legal authority in copyright and trademark matters. She has spoken at a conference for appellate judges from across the country regarding “Trademark Infringement and Dilution Under the Lanham Act and State Common Law” and has participated in a panel presentation regarding “Intellectual Property Issues Confronting the Courts” at the American Bar Association’s Appellate Judges Summit. She has served as a faculty member for the International Trademark Association’s (INTA) Intellectual Property Trial Academy and as a guest lecturer at Northwestern University School of Law, DePaul University College of Law and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Kristin has been named among the IP Stars for Illinois in the 2013 edition of Managing Intellectual Property's IP Handbook. She was also included in Managing Intellectual Property's inaugural “IP Stars - Top 250 Women in IP.”

Shown below is a selection of Kristin’s engagements.


Super Lawyers, 2009, 2012–2017

Managing Intellectual Property

Managing Intellectual Property, IP Stars (Illinois), 2013–2016; Top 250 Women in IP, 2013–2014
Legal 500, 2014, 2016

World Trademark Review

World Trademark Review, Illinois, 2015–2017
Firm News


  • JD, Northwestern University School of Law, with honors
  • BA, Macalester College, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • US District Court, District of Connecticut


2009, 2012–2017

Managing Intellectual Property

IP Stars (Illinois), 2013–2016; Top 250 Women in IP, 2013–2014
2014, 2016

World Trademark Review

Illinois, 2015–2017
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  • American Bar Association
  • International Trademark Association
  • Northwestern University School of Law Alumni Board of Directors
  • The Chicago Bar Association
  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts, Board of Directors


  • German
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