Mr. Burns is a founding shareholder at Greer, Burns & Crain, Ltd.  He received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in Urbana in 1972 and a J.D. degree from IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1978.  The emphasis in his practice today is in patent prosecution and opinions, though he has been involved in litigation involving a variety of intellectual property disputes in the Federal Circuit, Federal District Courts, and the International Trade Commission.

Mr. Burns has lectured for the Patent Resources Group in a seminar entitled " 'Designing Around' Valid U.S. Patents" since 1993.   In that seminar, all aspects of patent infringement are addressed, including opinion preparation, claim interpretation, the doctrine of equivalents, the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel, legitimate design-around activities, and techniques for avoiding legitimate design-arounds.

Mr. Burns is a past President of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago.  He previously served on its Board of Managers, and was Chairman of its Computer Technology Committee.  Mr. Burns is a past Chairman of the Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, and has been involved in Bar Association activities throughout his career. 

In addition, Mr. Burns is an Adjunct Professor of Law at IIT/Chicago-Kent College of Law, and formerly served on the Advisory Board of BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal.


  • Designing Around' Valid U.S. Patents, first published in 1993 by the Patent Resource Group, and revised at least annually since 1993.
  • Electronics & Computer Patent & Copyright Practice, first published in 1987 by the Patent Resource Group.
  • In the Wake: The USPTO Guidelines on KSR,Landslide, A Publication of the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, Vol. 1, No. 3; January/February 2009.
  • A Simpler Approach to Claim Construction, BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, 77 PTCJ 717, April 24, 2009

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