Fellow Spotlight: Kara Cenar

As an accomplished trial lawyer handling complex intellectual property matters, Kara E.F. Cenar is a leader and mentor not only within her law firm but in the wider legal and IP communities.

As an officer on the Intellectual Property team at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C. in Chicago, Cenar handles the enforcement of IP rights and the defense of alleged violations of the IP rights of others. She combines decades of counseling, trial and litigation experience with practical business applications.

A milestone in Cenar’s career came last year with a major jury trial win. In the copyright/DMCA case GC2 Inc v. International Game Technology et al. 2019, the outcome was significant for creators of artwork and graphics and online content, involving the unlicensed use of hundreds of images in six different slot machine games used in online gaming, social gaming and CD/DVD home computer channels. The case is one of the few DCMA cases to go to jury and to address the various types of DMCA violations and to have multiple defendants, setting a precedent for protecting creative works in the digital space.

It resulted in a $16.1 million jury verdict and $20.7 million judgment, as well as a $1.7 million statutory damages award under the DMCA after a jury finding of 696 DMCA violations for providing and distributing false copyright management information and for removal of copyright management information. The case was listed at No. 6 among the top jury verdicts in Illinois last year as listed by TopVerdict.

In September 2020, Cenar was among those selected for the 2020 edition of Crain’s Chicago Business' Notable Women in Law, which recognizes “women who have a track record of setting legal precedents, winning big cases for their clients and mentoring the next wave of women in law – all while finding ways to give back to their communities.” Nominees for Notable Women in Law must serve in a senior-level role and show the ability to effect change, serve as a role model or mentor, and promote inclusivity.

Earlier in the year, Cenar was honored as a recipient of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin & Chicago Lawyer’s Salute! Women in Law award. The honor recognizes women in the legal profession for their success, leadership and work to advance other women. Another recognition came from The Best Lawyers in America, which ranked Cenar among the top attorneys in Trademark Law for 2021. Best Lawyers compiles its lists of top-ranked attorneys through extensive surveys of leading lawyers who assess the legal abilities of their peers. Additionally, Cenar was named a litigator of the year by the American Institute of Trial Lawyers.

Cenar is a founding member of Chicago Women in Intellectual Property (ChiWIP), a networking and mentoring group committed to the connection, promotion and success of professional Chicago women in every facet of IP law. The organization aims to help its members enhance their skills and practices and provide a forum for them to give back to their colleagues and the community. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law, she is also a highly visible leader within Greensfelder and a mentor as the team leader for IP litigation. She is a consistent and encouraging voice for enhancing women’s connections across the firm and empowering female colleagues to succeed.