Cody Winchester has made a name for herself on the national stage as a go-to attorney for intellectual property disputes. A partner in Phillips Ryther & Winchester, she has been recognized as one of Utah’s Legal Elite by her peers.
With Greg Phillips and now Utah Supreme Court Justice Thomas Lee, Winchester worked on a number of closely watched trademark cases, two of which were recognized by the prestigious Intellectual Property Trademark Association as Trademark Cases of the Year.
The team represented Ford Motor Company in defeating the aesthetic functionality doctrine in Ford Motor Co. v. Lloyd Design Corp., 184 F. Supp.2d 665 (E.D. Mich. 2002) and represented Volkswagen on and following appeal in Au-Tomotive Gold, Inc. v. Volkswagen of America, Inc., 457 F.3d 1062 (9th Cir. 2006), a case that defined the law regarding use of genuine goods in unlicensed products. Combine that background with a degree from Yale Law School, where she served as Yale Law Journal book reviews editor, and a clerkship for United States Federal District Court Judge Dale A. Kimball, it’s no surprise she has come into her own.
Winchester credits daily interaction with sophisticated in-house counsel as keeping her sharp and mentor Greg Phillips for continually demonstrating that effective and low-cost frequently go hand-in-hand.
“I love being underestimated by attorneys on the coasts or by attorneys who rack up huge bills leaving no stone unturned. I don’t think it would be nearly as fun if you were expected to win,” she said.
There is no skimping for her, however, when it comes to understanding the law or delivering outstanding written work. “The doctrines make sense, but they are not intuitive and lawyers who do not routinely practice in this area are easy to spot,” she said.
She loves the niche practice she has developed in domain name disputes. “The administrative procedures that enable trademark holders to obtain fast and inexpensive relief are a vast improvement over traditional litigation, which is rarely the best way to solve a problem,” Winchester said.
Winchester started college as a math major and switched to philosophy during her junior year when she realized that she wanted to go to law school. She thrives on advocacy. “Having struggled to come up with thesis statements for my papers as an undergraduate, I love that, in law, you always know the result you want. With the desired result a given, figuring out how best to get there is extremely satisfying.” She enjoys the collaborative effort involved in achieving results. “Working with in-house counsel, my partners, experts and local counsel in other jurisdictions is one of my favorite aspects of legal practice. I really enjoy collaborating to devise a strategy that is superior to what any one of us would have come up with on our own.”
As an invited editor and author, she is currently at work on intellectual property chapters in the forthcoming “Utah Business Law for Entrepreneurs,” which she cites as another example of a productive collaboration. “The book will be a great resource for Utah lawyers and entrepreneurs and includes input from experienced practitioners in a range of fields. I’m very honored to have been asked to contribute.”
If she was not a lawyer, she would deal in Western art and loves Western art and culture. Having been raised on a stock ranch, however, she has no romantic delusions. “I still wake up on winter mornings and feel incredibly glad that I don’t have to go out and do chores.” She continually rotates her prized collection of Utah art through her home and office, where works by Kimball Warren, Erin Berrett and Jeffery Pugh are currently hung. She is an avid reader and loves music and the movies, counting legal comedies such as “The Castle” and “Intolerable Cruelty” among her all-time favorites.