William Y. "Corky" Klett III

William Y. "Corky" Klett III

Burr & Forman LLP

Recognized since 2006

Columbia, South Carolina

Practice Areas

Copyright Law

Litigation - Intellectual Property

Litigation - Patent

Patent Law

Trademark Law

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2022 - Litigation - Intellectual Property
Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2022 - Litigation - Intellectual Property
Spinning circle Big letter B

Corky practices in the firm’s Intellectual Property group where he focuses on intellectual property litigation of all types. He has a broad and diverse intellectual property practice throughout the Southeast and in courts across the United States.

Corky is routinely involved in the intellectual property aspects of corporate transactions including due diligence for mergers and acquisitions, technology transfer and licensing, as well as intellectual property portfolio creation, management, and enforcement. He represents both plaintiffs and defendants, and has experience protecting the rights and interests of inventors, engineers, artists, authors, and musicians.

Corky has experience representing clients in patent infringement matters related to a broad range of technologies, and has argued before Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. He litigates both utility and design patents in Federal Court, and has experience before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in the conduct of trials, including inter partes, post-grant, and covered business method patent reviews and derivative proceedings. His patent practice also includes rendering infringement and freedom-to-operate opinions.

Corky has experience filing and prosecuting federal trademark applications, managing and enforcing trademark portfolios, and litigating trademark matters. His litigation experience includes trademark and trade dress infringement claims, federal false advertising and unfair competition claims, counterfeiting, and unfair trade practices. He also regularly represents parties in cancellation and opposition proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB). He also has experience with UDRP claims associated with internet domain name disputes.

Corky has a wide variety of copyright experience, including internet music downloading cases, infringement of various types works, such as architectural plans, maps, testing materials, music samples, and visual art. He has experience with music publishing issues, royalty negotiation, and termination rights.

Corky has experience in developing strategies for the preservation and enforcement of corporate proprietary information. He assists companies in developing policies and employee agreements aimed at protecting this valuable intangible asset. Corky has experience with the Defend Trade Secrets Act (as well as other aspects of the Economic Espionage Act) in defending against the misappropriation of trade secrets.

Corky has experience in negotiating and drafting license agreements for software, as well as litigating software implementation, development, and licensing issues.

Corky is the primary intellectual property counsel to the Estate of James Brown. In connection with this representation, he is involved with a wide variety of issues. He has experience with issues related to enforcement of rights of publicity and privacy, as well as claims involving likeness, image, and persona.

Corky routinely represents companies in the development, protection, and management of intellectual property assets. He assists clients with data security and privacy issues, website issues, and ESI (electronically stored information) concerns.

Corky frequently speaks on a variety of intellectual property issues. He has taught copyright and entertainment law at the University of South Carolina School of Law, and participated as a speaker at numerous continuing legal education seminars on a variety of IP and ethics topics.

Outside the office, Corky spends as much time as possible with his wife and four children. Corky is also an avid soccer player, having played on scholarship in college, as well as professionally. He still plays in amateur leagues and has been a member of amateur State Cup title teams in Colorado, South Carolina, and Texas. He has had the privilege of coaching all four of his children’s soccer teams.

When he is not on the soccer field, Corky enjoys international travel, snow skiing, and reading.


  • 1221 Main Street, Suite 1800
    P.O. Box 11390
    Columbia, SC 29211


  • Colorado School of Mines, BSE, graduated 1987
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln, J.D., graduated 1990

Bar Admissions

  • Colorado, Colorado Bar
  • District of Columbia, District of Columbia State Bar
  • South Carolina, South Carolina Bar
  • Texas, Texas Bar


  • Fédération Internationale Des Conseils En Propriété Intellectuelle (FICPI) - U.S. Section, Council Member
  • American Bar Association - (Intellectual Property Law and Litigation Sections)
  • SC Bar Ethics Advisory Committee - Chair

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • U.S. District Court – District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court – South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Lawyer of the Year Badge - 2022 - Litigation - Intellectual Property

Named "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers® for:

  • Litigation - Intellectual Property, Columbia, SC (2022)

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 for work in:

  • Copyright Law
  • Litigation - Intellectual Property
  • Litigation - Patent
  • Patent Law
  • Trademark Law

Special Focus

  • Copyright
  • COVID-19
  • Internet
  • Litigation
  • Patent
  • Trade Secrets
  • Trademark


  • Best Lawyers in America, Intellectual Property (2006-2011), Copyright Law (2012-2020), Trademark Law (2012-2020), Patent Law (2012-2020), Litigation -Patent (2012-2020), Litigation - Intellectual Property (2012-2020)
  • Martindale-Hubbell - AV-rated
  • Supreme Court of SC's Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline (1995-1997)
  • Supreme Court of SC's Commission on Lawyer Conduct (1997-1998; 2000-2004)
  • SC Bar Ethics Advisory Committee - Chair
  • "Legal Elite of the Midlands" - Intellectual Property
  • Managing Intellectual Property, ''IP Stars"

Spinning circle Big letter B

News & Links

Your browser is not fully compatible with our automatic printer friendly formatting.

Please use the print button to print this profile page.

Spinning circle Big letter B