Naikang Tsao



Naikang Tsao is a partner and litigation lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where he has litigated a wide spectrum of matters, including patent, unfair trade practices, and product liability matters. He represents clients in diverse industries, including banking, electronics and consumer products. His experience includes representing clients in patent infringement actions involving financial business transactions, computer software and hardware, industrial machines and consumer products, and defending class actions brought against consumer product manufacturers and retailers. He is a member of the Intellectual Property Litigation and Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practices, and is the chair of the Litigation Department for the Madison office.

Before joining Foley in 2000, Mr. Tsao was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Ann Aldrich, Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, and was a trial attorney for five years at the U.S. Department of Justice, during which he was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Gold Medal for Exceptional Service, and a Special Commendation for Outstanding Service by the U.S. Department of Justice.


Mr. Tsao is a graduate of the New York University School of Law, where he was an articles editor on the New York University Law Review and a Root-Tilden-Snow Scholar. He received his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University (B.A., with honors).


He is admitted to practice in Wisconsin and California, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, D.C. and Federal Circuits, and numerous federal district courts, including the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.


Mr. Tsao has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© since 2007 and has been named 2015 Madison Litigation – Intellectual Property "Lawyer of the Year," 2016 Madison Appellate Practice “Lawyer of the Year,” and 2017 Madison Litigation – Patent “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®. He was also included in the 2006 - 2016 Wisconsin Super Lawyers® lists for his intellectual property litigation work. In 2003, he was recognized by the Western District of Wisconsin Bar Association for his pro bono work.

Representative Matters

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Obtained global victory for hunting apparel manufacturer and national retailers as lead counsel in nine consumer class action lawsuits, which challenged defendants’ advertising of carbon hunting clothing. Secured the dismissal of plaintiffs' conspiracy claim and certain defendants in the first-filed Buetow action, 564 F. Supp. 2d 1038 (D. Minn. 2008), and then the denial of class certification in all nine of the actions. See Buetow, 259 F.R.D. 187 (D. Minn. 2009); In re Activated Carbon-Based Hunting Clothing Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, No. 09-md-2059, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144548 (D. Minn. Sept. 29, 2010). After the district court in Buetow granted plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment in part, and issued a permanent injunction against defendants, Buetow, 713 F. Supp. 2d 832 (D. Minn. 2010), Foley briefed and argued the appeal, convincing the Eighth Circuit to: (a) vacate the injunction; (b) reverse the district court's summary judgment order; (c) reject plaintiffs' core allegation that defendants' use of the terms "odor eliminating" and "reactivation" was false; and (d) order the dismissal with prejudice of all claims for equitable relief. Buetow, 650 F.3d 1178 (8th Cir. 2011). On remand, the district court in Buetow granted defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiffs' individual damages claims and entered judgment in defendants' favor. Buetow, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116041 (D. Minn. Aug. 17, 2012). Two days later, plaintiffs agreed to dismiss the eight other actions (pending in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) with prejudice. In doing so, plaintiffs walked away from a significant investment: in court filings, plaintiffs stated that they had incurred over 15,200 hours of attorney and paralegal time pursuing the actions.
Represented plaintiff farm equipment manufacturer (seller) in action to compel defendant buyer to attend arbitration to resolve disputes related to post-closing adjustments to asset purchase price. Case was sent to mediation twice and was resolved favorably through settlement.
Represented defendant Sconnie Nation in copyright infringement lawsuit brought by a photographer (Kienitz) who alleged that Sconnie had misappropriated his photograph of the Madison mayor. Foley filed a motion for summary judgment based on the fair use exception, which the district court granted. Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, 965 F. Supp. 2d 1042 (W.D. Wis. 2013). Kienitz appealed, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. Kienitz v. Sconnie Nation LLC, 766 F.3d 756 (7th Cir. 2014).