Our Team

Zareefa Burki Flener, M.S. with Distinction & J.D.
(Managing & Founding Partner)

  • Recommended for Prosecution (USA & Illinois) (IAM Patent 1000)
  • Top 250 Women in IP (Managing Intellectual Property)
  • IP Star 2014-2018 (USA and Illinois) (Managing Intellectual Property)
  • Top Rated Intellectual Property Attorney in Chicago, IL (Super Lawyer for Illinois in 2021)

Zareefa is the managing partner at Flener IP & Business Law, a Women-Owned business, and has extensive experience managing international and domestic patent and trademark portfolios in a wide range of areas. She has also been highly successful in obtaining company goals in M&A deals including preparing, revising and negotiating intellectual property related agreements. Zareefa regularly provides thorough and effective assistance to companies in their due diligence efforts.

She has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a double major in Psychology, and she received her Master of Science degree from Loyola University of Chicago, With Distinction, an accolade which had never before been awarded to a graduate student.

She is well regarded by her clients and her peers, worldwide, for her attention to, and assistance with, international patent portfolios ranging from the electrical, to the mechanical, to the pharma, to the biotech, to the design arts, just to mention a few. She has most recently been recognized in Managing Intellectual Property magazine as an IP Star in Illinois and in the United States as a whole, and one of the Top 250 Women in IP.

She was in the laboratory doing hands on research also for almost ten years before becoming a patent (intellectual property) attorney. Her research and scientific experience is in two particularly explosive areas: HIV transmission and pathology, and mapping of the human genome. Her masters project, from Loyola University of Chicago, involved mapping of the distal short arm of human chromosome 21, from the rDNA to the telomere, and she graduated with High Distinction. She is well published in the field of HIV pathology in such journals as the American Journal of Pathology, Clinical Immunology, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Prior to founding Flener IP & Business Law, Zareefa practiced at a prestigious international intellectual property firm for almost ten years. She was voted in as the first female partner in one of the offices. Her dedication and responsiveness to her clients sets her apart from others and just one of the reasons for her honorable recognition and accolades from the international community.

Zareefa continues to work with a broad range of technology not the least of which is stem cells, virology, immunology, biochemical processes, cell culture, and laboratory instrument related inventions, among others. Zareefa also prepares and prosecutes applications in technology areas of design, mechanical, biochemistry, business methods, electrical and medical devices. Zareefa has had the fortune of being involved in the fast growing and changing cannabis industry, both on the patent and the trademark side, and has assisted clients in achieving prominence and value in an increasingly crowded field. See more at http://www.flipcannabislaw.com.

Zareefa’s clients have ranged from multinational companies to solo inventors, and she is well known to apply the same high level of care and dedication to each one.

Ayhan Mertogul

Ayhan attended from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign graduating with BS and MS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.

Prior to attending law school, Ayhan gained experience working as a researcher and an engineer. While working as a postdoctoral research associate the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign he created a nonequilibrium two-temperature model for arcjets. After leaving the university, Ayhan worked as a design validation and test engineer for MTI Technology Corporation, a vendor of computer storage systems in Westmont, Illinois. Ayhan later worked as a research and development engineer at Ethylene Innovations, a startup company developing a proprietary chemical reactor in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

In 2006 Ayhan graduated Cum Laude from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Following graduation Ayhan worked in patent prosecution for over 4 years at two small patent law firms. Most recently Ayhan was a search project manager at Cardinal IP. Ayhan joined Flener IP & Business Law in August 2018.

Colleen Ferguson

Having graduated from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 2016, Colleen Ferguson focuses on intellectual property law. In particular, she developed an avid interest in the fields of trademarks and copyrights. Since graduation, Colleen has advised clients—ranging from individuals, startup companies and to multinational corporations—in protecting and enforcing their trademark rights on trademark stylization and design. She also has helped companies develop strategies to overcome possible problematic trademark applications or registrations, and in registering trademarks on a global scale. As an experienced trademark and copyright attorney, Colleen has represented start-up companies to multinational companies in the fields of restaurant services, cosmetics, perfumery, fashion, and outdoor sports.

While earning her JD from the John Marshall Law School, Colleen further developed her interest in intellectual property law by participating and becoming a Council Member of the Giles Rich Moot Court Competition. Additionally, during this time, Colleen was a judicial intern for the Hon. Pamela McLean Meyerson of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In addition to her law degree, Colleen holds a BS in Biology from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, Indiana. Her senior comprehensive project, which measured the antibiotic effects of Morinda Citrifolia (or Noni Juice) on common bacteria, provided her with laboratory experience. Her time spent in the lab inspired Colleen to attend law school as she realized she wanted to assist others in protecting their inventions and creations. Her career has been devoted to assisting creators and innovators in developing and protecting their signature word, slogan, logo, or even color trademarks. These marks ultimately represent the clients' goods and services they put so much time and effort into.

When not in the office, Colleen enjoys training for half-marathons and spending time with the friends she made at Saint Mary’s College.

James Judge

James Judge, JD BFA, Attorney at Law, has almost three decades of experience providing clients with creative solutions to difficult problems in all avenues of commerce including legal clients, construction companies, and performing arts organizations. He has worked with client’s nationwide since 1980. Skilled in business and corporate transactions, the majority of James’ practice is concentrated in business formation, securities, and business combinations. James also provides pro bono counsel to commercial and entertainment CEOs about company formation, selling stock, including legal ramifications and possible outcomes/strategies, and thereafter, creating the private offering or IPO to propel the vision of the company.

In his free time, James is an avid and competitive sailor. He is often heard to say that “At sea, my team and I live in constant peril”. In the business world that translates into effective counsel in perilous situations for achieving business goals from corporate strategy, to forming companies, to supervising offerings of securities, both privately and publicly. James guides corporate clients through the murkey waters of raising capital, coordinating with tax and intellectual property professionals to ensure a uniform and consistent approach to market dominance.

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