John W. Powell

John W. Powell

Partner, Patent Chair

617-443-9292, ext 241
University of New Hampshire School of Law


University of New Hampshire

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  • John W Powell

Practice Areas


  • University of New Hampshire School of Law


  • University of New Hampshire B.S.E.E.


John is a Partner at Sunstein, the Chair of the Patent Practice Group, and a member of the firm's Management Committee. His practice focuses on patent portfolio management and strategy, patent prosecution, and IP transactional work, including drafting and negotiating IP licensing and development agreements and other commercial agreements having an IP component. John makes protecting his clients and positioning them to exceed their long-term business goals his top priority. He often takes proactive approaches to building IP portfolios (including internationally), in order to maximize his client’s intellectual property value.

While working with clients, John leverages his extensive tech experience, having served in-house for nearly two decades as Vice President and General Counsel of American Superconductor Corporation and as in-house counsel at companies like Raytheon and Motorola. His extensive expertise in technology, intellectual property, and business makes him, according to his clients, integral to their management and engineering teams.

John also has extensive experience mentoring startup companies in the clean energy industry and is currently involved with Cleantech Open – Northeast, which is a competition and accelerator program with the mission to find, fund, and foster entrepreneurs with ideas to solve our greatest environmental and energy challenges.


  • At American Superconductor Corporation, John asserted the company's intellectual property rights on an international basis when he managed a high-profile case over the theft of critical software worth hundreds of millions of dollars by the Chinese company Sinovel. In a groundbreaking prosecution that was featured on "60 Minutes," John's team collaborated with the FBI, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Trade Representative's Office on this case, which spanned the U.S., Asia, Austria, and Brazil and which resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of a former employee, criminal conviction against the Chinese corporation for stealing trade secrets, and a multimillion-dollar settlement.
  • John was one of three industry leaders selected to participate as panelists in the Obama administration's February 2013 launch of its Strategy to Mitigate the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets.
  • John has provided testimony before the United States Sentencing Commission at a public hearing on Proposed Amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines regarding trade secret theft and economic espionage.


  • Recognized in the "Recommended Individuals - Prosecution" category in Massachusetts in the 2023 IAM Patent 1000.
  • Named an Intellectual Property "Go To Lawyer" by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2023.
  • Recognized in Massachusetts Super Lawyers®, part of Thomson Reuters, 2023.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • John participates in the Pan-Mass Challenge in support of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute
  • Mentor for the Cleantech Open Northeast business competition and accelerator program

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Massachusetts Bar
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Practice areas

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