Vance V. VanDrake, III

Partner | Co-Group Leader, Venture Law

Vance is an intellectual property, patent, trademark, and venture attorney in Ulmer’s Cincinnati office and he serves as Co-Group Leader of the firm’s Venture Law Practice Group. He is the author of “The Patent Game,” a book written specifically for inventors, entrepreneurs, and business leaders that want to improve their patent knowledge – or, as Vance refers to it, IP IQ – to leverage patents as a key driver of business value. He covers patent application types, tricks, and tools, the anatomy of a patent, and other practical information you can apply directly to your business or innovation.

Vance brings a progressive and creative approach to the development of intellectual property and business strategy for emerging businesses and startup companies. Vance helps his clients, including many angel and venture-backed companies, develop comprehensive strategies in a broad range of technologies including software, medical devices, and mechanical and electrical innovations. Vance assists his clients with all aspects of patent drafting and prosecution, trademark registration and clearance, and copyright and trade secret protection. His experience includes providing clients with patentability, validity, and infringement opinions, and serving various intellectual property litigation and regulatory (FDA) needs.

Vance has worked in-house for a Fortune 500 company, has co-founded three startup companies, and is an active angel investor. Vance is a frequent keynote speaker and mentor for universities, startup accelerators, incubators, and technology groups. He is a past President of the Greater Cincinnati Venture Association, was appointed by the Mayor of Cincinnati to the Small Business Advisory Committee, and was recognized as one of Cincinnati’s “Top 40 under 40” by the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Education & Admissions


  • Butler University

    (B.S., 2001)

  • University of Cincinnati College of Law

    (J.D., 2005)
    Law Review, Intellectual Property Law Society President


  • State of Ohio
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office



  • Vance manages a portfolio of companies ranging from technology startups to large public companies. He is actively involved in the local entrepreneurship community, works closely with angel and venture funding organizations, and has guided several of his clients through IPOs. Vance has co-founded three companies including an ultrasonic medical device company and two consumer products companies. This experience led Vance to write his book “The Patent Game,” which was published in October 2019 (available at

Publications & Presentations

Client Alerts


  • Author of the book, “The Patent Game,” available for order at
  • “Advisory board valuable asset for any startup,” (January 2014)
  • “To protect your name, know trademark rules,” (December 2013)
  • “Lean, Prompt Patents Powerful,” (April 2013)


  • The Patent Game: Basics and Patent Strategies,” Ulmer Webinar (November 2019)
  • “The Patent Game: Winning IP Strategies for Investors & Startups,” Presentation to IKOVE Venture Capital Group (October 2019)
  • “Software Patents: A Moving Target,” moderator, The Circuit (October 2015)
  • “Software Patents: A Moving Target,” moderator, eKickstart program (November 2014)
  • “Intellectual Property Basics,” First Batch (July 2014)
  • “Intellectual Property Strategies for Small Businesses,” Columbus Chamber Webinar (May 2013)
  • CincyBIO, the Bioscience Event for Innovators and IP Professionals, The Phoenix (April 2013)
  • “The Importance of Intellectual Property and How it Can Make or Break a Company in its Early Stages,” Central Kentucky Investors Council (March 2013)
  • “Intro to Basic Law,” Cintrifuse (January 2013)



  • American Bar Association
  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Freemason
  • Mensa
  • Greater Cincinnati Venture Association (GCVA) (Former President; Board of Trustees)
  • City of Cincinnati’s Small Business Advisory Council
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association


  • Venture For America (Mentor and speaker on intellectual property matters)
  • OCEAN Accelerator (Mentor and speaker)
  • UpTech Accelerator (Mentor and speaker)
  • Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio (Mentor and speaker)
  • Hamilton County Business Center Incubator (Morning Mentoring Program)
  • Entrepreneurial Boot Camp
  • VaanGuard Mentor for Small Businesses
  • University of Cincinnati (Guest Speaker on Patent Law and Entrepreneurial Intellectual Property)
  • Miami University (Guest Speaker on Patent Law and Entrepreneurial Intellectual Property)
  • CincyBio Planning Committee (2010-2011)
  • Cincinnati Innovation Awards Planning Committee (2010-2011)



  • Ranked as one of Ohio’s “Leaders in Their Field” in Intellectual Property by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (2019-2022)
  • Named to The Best Lawyers in America©, Patent Law (2016-2023)
  • Named to the National Law Journal’s list of Intellectual Property Trailblazers (2020)
  • Named a Cincy Leading Lawyer in Patent Law in a survey of lawyers by Cincy Magazine (2019-2022)
  • Named to the Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars list (2014-2018)
  • “Top 40 Under 40,” Cincinnati Business Courier

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