John Kivus


John Kivus is a software engineer turned intellectual property attorney. His experience as a software developer includes work with Amdocs, AT&T, Motricity, and NetApp, where he worked on projects for many large clients, including Bank of America, Costco, and DirecTV.

John regularly uses his technology background in his legal work in the areas of intellectual property law and business litigation, including counseling clients on the interplay between complex technical and legal issues, and liaising with experts on the details of complicated technical matters.

In addition to business litigation and dispute resolution, John also works on business transactions, advises creative professionals in contractual matters, handles intellectual property licensing, and registers trademarks and copyrights.

Before coming to Morningstar Law Group, John practiced law with Wood Jackson PLLC. John is a native of Maine. He currently lives in Durham with his wife, Elyssa, who is a wedding and portrait photographer. He is an active member of the Rotary Club of Crabtree.

Representative Work in Intellectual Property Law

Examples of John’s legal work on behalf of clients include:

  • Drafting incorporation and other founding documents for-profit and non-profit corporations and advising these corporations during their start-up phases.
  • Drafting licensing and other agreements, such as terms and conditions, and privacy policies, for online businesses and application developers.
  • Representing and advising authors and artists in relation to their publishing contracts and counseling them with respect to intellectual property protection.
  • Representing a photographer who had his copyrights infringed by multiple national news organizations, resulting in a confidential settlement.
  • Defending a business accused of copyright infringement for use of photographs on its website that resulted in a settlement.
  • Defending a software company in a dispute involving claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty after an alleged data loss event, and successfully resolving the matter after getting third-party claims dismissed before an arbitration hearing.
  • While in law school, John worked as a research assistant for professors on projects involving intellectual property and business law. His work included an empirical study of copyright publication and an amicus brief dealing with gene patentability. John also served as a staff writer, published author, and online editor on the North Carolina Journal of Law & Technology.

John regularly advises pro bono clients the North Carolina Bar Association’s Lawyer on the Line program, which provides legal assistance to low-income people throughout North Carolina. In 2014, his former firm, Wood Jackson PLLC, was honored by the North Carolina Bar Association with its Outstanding Pro Bono Service Award for Smaller Law Firms.


John was named a 2016 Super Lawyer® “Rising Star by” North Carolina Super Lawyers magazine. His former firm, Wood Jackson PLLC, also received a 2016 Metropolitan Practice Area First Tier ranking for its Intellectual Property Litigation practice by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.”

  • North Carolina State Courts
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina

University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 2011
North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology,Online Editor and Staff Member

Clemson University, B.S., Calhoun Honors Scholar, 2003.

John T. Kivus

Rated by Super Lawyers

loading …