Meet Michael J. Bendel

Counsel and Patent Attorney – Owner
Appleton, Wisconsin

“On my watch” I have built a results-oriented intellectual property acumen by protecting what matters.  Doing so enables me to more effectively identify key innovations for patent, trademark and copyright registrations or as trade secrets, and then strategically develop the right-sized intellectual property plan to drive business results. Through early strategic consideration of what an intellectual property estate should become over time, and then regular management of the assets and opportunities, I help protect market share within a defined budget.

As a newly established practice in 2018, Bendel IP Legal LLC, I employ this perspective to advise on intellectual property and business law matters, and advance the priorities of your day. Knowledge of the future is rarely perfect and your business cannot wait until it becomes so. Add to this a market that is constantly evolving and the key to sound decision making is understanding business needs and the competitive environment well so timely, risk-balanced options are sought.

After spending six plus years in private practice providing various intellectual property legal services for a wide range of individuals to medium size business clients, I joined Kimberly-Clark.  I was with Kimberly-Clark almost eighteen years as in-house patent and general legal counsel to a variety of Kimberly-Clark’s consumer product businesses, along all stages from early product concept through lifecycle maintenance out in the market, for:  Wet Wipes, Family Care, Feminine Care, Infant Care, Child Care and Innovation Management teams.  This included regularly working with and helping drive forward flagship brands: KLEENEX® tissues, SCOTT® towels, VIVA® towels, KOTEX® tampons and pads, HUGGIES® diapers and wipes, PULL-UPS® training pants, GOODNITES® underpants and THE NEAT SHEET® ground cover.

I addressed legal issues that covered the spectrum from intellectual property including: patents, trade secrets, copyrights, confidentiality, and know how; to marketing, advertising, promotions, sales and general commercial; to antitrust and product regulatory frameworks, e.g., cosmetics, medical devices and drugs under the FD&C Act; to drafting and negotiating numerous commercial contracts (e.g., agency, promotion, marketing services, public relations, consultancy, sales, purchase, joint development), and rounded out with dispute resolution and litigation responsibilities.  I provided counsel to a range of business clients from junior staff to senior managers and executives, including training and education for all, participating on and driving department and corporate initiatives, and promoting compliance for consumer product manufacture and sale, and internal control policy and procedures.

Throughout my legal career I interacted closely with clients to understand the needs of the business in the context of applicable trends so the business can go where it wants to and is not caught off guard by its, or its competitor’s, tactics.  This is what energizes me and makes my practice of the law enjoyable – achieving tangible results with intangible property rights.

I live in Appleton, Wisconsin with my wife and three sons.

Turn my enthusiasm and passion into your success!

Areas of Practice

  • 80% Intellectual Property Law – Patents, Trademarks, Trade Secrets, Copyrights, NDA
  • 20% Business Law – Entity Formation, Advertising, Commercial Transactions, Product Regulations

Litigation Percentage

  • 5% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Patent Attorney, United States Patent Office, 1996

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois, 1994
  • Wisconsin, 2009


  • The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois
    • J.D. cum laude – 1994
    • Honors: Moot Court Competitor, The 1994 Giles Rich Patent Law Moot Court Competition, Winner
    • Law Review: John Marshall Journal of Computer and Information Law, Editor, 1993 – 1994
  • St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin
    • B.A. cum laude
    • Honors: Dean’s List
    • Major: Mathematics
    • Minor: Physics and Philosophy

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Wisconsin Bar – Intellectual Property and Tech Law Section, Member
  • Wisconsin Bar – Business Law Section, Member
  • National Association of Patent Practitioners, Member

Past Employment Positions

  • Kimberly-Clark Corporation, 2000 – 2018
  • Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti P.C., Senior Associate Attorney
  • Meroni & Meroni, Associate Attorney

Pro Bono Activities

  • Knights of Columbus Council 607 – Appleton, 2005 – Present
  • Junior Achievement – Fox Cities, 2007 – Present
  • The Farmory (Aquaponics) – Green Bay, 2018 – Present
  • Latin American Network for Diversity (LAND), 2016 – 2018


  • English