Cynthia J. Rigsby

Retired Partner


Cynthia J. Rigsby is a partner and intellectual property lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP, where she is a member and former vice chair of the IP Litigation Practice and a member of the International Practice and the firm’s Medical Device Initiative. Ms. Rigsby also formerly served as IP Department chair for the Milwaukee office.

Ms. Rigsby’s practice involves licensing across different fields, the resolution of patent, copyright, trade secret, and other complex commercial disputes. Her work involves various industries and technical areas, including software, medical device, telecommunications, media, entertainment, automotive, sports, semiconductors, pharmaceutical, Internet of Things (IoT), industrial automation, and financial services.

Ms. Rigsby has significant trial experience, and has successfully first- and second-chaired both jury and bench trials. She has appeared before both state and federal courts, including appellate courts, and has represented clients in preliminary injunction hearings, in arbitrations, and before governmental agencies.

Ms. Rigsby also has extensive experience with the day-to-day management of complex fact-intensive cases, and thus the cases she has taken successfully through to trial include these multi-million dollar cases and class actions. She has also managed and conducted complex fact-intensive internal investigations, including investigations relating to trade secrets and federal compliance issues, and has counseled clients with regard to related governmental investigations.

One of her major cases led to a $400 million settlement between a global leader in medical technology and a global health care company. The litigation between the companies dated to 1998 and involved lawsuits in the U.S. and across Europe, all of which are now settled. Ms. Rigsby had significant responsibility for the day-to-day management of that matter, and argued discovery motions, claim construction, summary judgment, and pre-trial motions.


Ms. Rigsby has served as an adjunct professor at Marquette University Law School, teaching an IP litigation course. Ms. Rigsby has lectured on a variety of litigation topics, including topics relating to electronic discovery, depositions, claim construction, expert witness practice, damages and case management. She has also lectured on ethics issues.


Ms. Rigsby was honored by the Wisconsin Law Journal as one of the Women in the Law 2013. This distinguished listing recognizes women attorneys who achieved excellence in their respective fields, benefitted the legal profession through their community involvement, and influenced other women to pursue legal careers. She was also recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business in the practice area of intellectual property litigation (2022)


Ms. Rigsby is admitted to practice in Wisconsin, before the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin, and before the Federal Circuit and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Professional Memberships

Ms. Rigsby is a member of the Licensing Executives Society. She is a member of the Trade Secrets Committee of the Intellectual Property Owners Association and the American Society of Trial Consultants and a former co-chair of the Intellectual Property Section of the Milwaukee Bar Association.


Ms. Rigsby received her bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and her J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1998, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. Prior to joining Foley, Ms. Rigsby also served as an extern to Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge John L. Coffey. She is also White Belt Legal Lean Sigma® certified by the Legal Lean Sigma Institute.