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Susan Freya Olive, our president and managing attorney, has more than 40 years of experience in intellectual property law and litigation.
She is the daughter of the firm’s founder, B.B. Olive, who in 1957 opened the first private IP practice in what would become the prestigious Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina.
Like her father, Susan has continued the firm’s legacy of “being first.” She was the first woman to head the N.C. Intellectual Property Bar, the N.C. Federal Bar Advisory Council, and the N.C. Board of Law Examiners. She was the first woman to be elected president of the Durham County Bar and the Fourteenth Judicial District NC Bar. She was the only woman named among the “Legal Elite” of IP attorneys in North Carolina in the early years of that award. And she has since been inducted into the “NC Business Legal Elite Hall of Fame” for her unparalleled accomplishments in intellectual property law.
She was the founding chair of the N.C. Bar Association’s Committee on Law and Technology, and she chaired the NCBA’s Mental Health Law Committee. Her peers have shown their regard for her abilities by selecting her as North Carolina’s top Patent/Intellectual Property attorney.
Her clients include major research universities, smaller colleges, private institutions, academic presses, scholarly organizations, big corporations, tech industries, entrepreneurs, and individuals with IP needs. She is widely known as someone who gets results. Her legal victories have made news in the U.S. and in Europe.
Susan is the lawyer who is called on to help when other attorneys run into trouble in IP cases. She serves as a primary defense counsel for the state’s largest legal malpractice insurance provider. In that role, she is brought in to prevent or reduce the damage when an IP case goes south. She takes great pride in often being able to fix the problem and get the case back on track so that neither the client nor the lawyer is unduly harmed.
At Olive & Olive, Susan has been involved in all aspects of our practice over the years. Currently, she supervises the firm’s dispute and litigation practice. She maintains her own litigation caseload, in addition to handling mediation, arbitration, and other alternative dispute matters. She also negotiates, drafts and executes IP contracts and agreements.
She has an academic background in chemistry, computer science, and biomedical engineering. She brings a practical, solution-oriented business orientation to her law work.
Susan has authored numerous papers in the field of intellectual property and is a highly-sought lecturer. She has been invited to share her expertise with a remarkably broad range of professionals, including lawyers, paralegals, nuclear physicists, physicians, medical researchers, software engineers, home builders, designers, authors, and artists. She has presented papers on intellectual property law and related litigation issues to research institutions in NC and nationally. She serves as a resource to news media on IP issues.
Like her father – and everyone at Olive & Olive – Susan is active in her community. She works closely with Urban Ministries of Durham, a homeless shelter and community café. For several years, she chaired the Urban Ministries board of directors. She also spearheaded an endowment drive to expand and improve the facilities for that organization.
Susan is able to meet all of your IP-related legal needs. She is admitted to practice in all of North Carolina’s state and federal trial courts, as well as the Courts of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Federal Circuit, and Armed Forces, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Susan enjoys her family, cooking, jewelry-making and relaxing with interesting books.
Susan loves her Havana silk dog Besita (Spanish for “little kiss”), who is the head of canine development at Olive & Olive. Stop by the office and say hi to both Susan and Besita.
Susan has maintained her academic interests, authoring numerous papers in the field of intellectual property law and lecturing widely around the United States to groups ranging from lawyers to nuclear physicists, physicians and medical researchers, technology transfer officials, software engineers, publishers, homebuilders and designers, authors, and artists. Topics have ranged from introductory seminars on patent, trademark, and copyright law, to more specialized topics, both in the intellectual property field (for example, “Integrated Protection of Computer Programs,” “Work for Hire and ‘Who Owns What’ Issues in Intellectual Property,” “Fair Use of Art,” “The America Invents Act,” and “Too Big to Fail: Intellectual Property and Big Data”) to trial-oriented seminars such as “Practice and Procedure in the Federal Courts of North Carolina” and “Cross-Examination of the Technical Expert Witness.”
Susan has headed numerous legal committees and associations. She served three terms as the chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Committee, was the founding chair of its Law and Technology Committee, and is past-president of the North Carolina Federal Bar Advisory Council, the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, the 14th Judicial District Bar and the Durham County Bar Association. She served as chair of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners and as a member of the North Carolina General Statutes Commission. She is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.
Susan was the first woman elected to Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” in patent/intellectual property law, is a member of its “Legal Elite Hall of Fame” in patent/intellectual property law, has been repeatedly selected as a North Carolina “Super Lawyer” since the inception of that program, and is a member of the national honorary trial lawyers association, Litigation Counsel of America.
States and Districts Admitted to Practice
Recognition and Honors
Publications and Presentations
Active in community service, Susan’s work over the years has included decades of service as a board member, treasurer, and chair of organizations that assist the mentally ill, prisoners, and the homeless; providing advice and assistance to arts, literary, and entertainment associations; and teaching within her church.