CARY, N.C. (March 17, 2011) – Larry Coats, senior member of Coats & Bennett, PLLC, a Cary, NC-based intellectual property law firm, will join the North Carolina State University Biological and Agricultural Engineering Advisory Board effective April 2011.

In addition to a successful law practice spanning 35 years and more than 1000 filed patents, Coats is an adjunct professor with the department. He will now join the advisory board comprised of 12 members, each holding a term of three years. Board members are chosen by the faculty of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department and represent a broad cross-section of the industry.

“As a graduate of the Biological and Agricultural Engineering program, I am pleased to have the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board and contribute to one of the leading programs of its kind in the nation,” remarked Coats, a registered patent attorney and the firm’s senior member. “While the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering has always focused on teaching students and conducting research in areas of interest to North Carolina, it has also produced many significant inventions, some of which were truly revolutionary and enjoyed substantial commercial success.”

The department, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2010, has a reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and extension, especially in the areas of water and drainage management, water quality, waste management, precision agriculture, and bio processes. The primary academic focus is to train engineers and technicians to improve and increase food, biofuel and fiber production and to protect agricultural lands and natural resources.

Coats leads the firm’s environmental practice area, in addition to his field of work that includes the mechanical arts as well as environmental and energy technologies such as wastewater treatment and heavy oil recovery. He has extensive experience in patent and trademark infringement litigation and prosecution.

“On behalf of the department, we welcome Larry Coats to the advisory board,” Robert Evans, Ph.D., P.E., Professor and Department Head. “He brings a unique and valuable perspective founded in his experience in the classroom as an adjunct professor, decades of intellectual property legal expertise, and a particular focus on environmental issues.”

The advisory board is responsible for providing advice and recommendations to the department; informing the public of the programs, accomplishments, and goals of the department; and aiding the department in securing the support necessary to carry out its missions of instruction, research, and extension.

Mr. Coats obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University in 1967, and his Juris Doctor was earned from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969. He is admitted to practice law in North Carolina before the North Carolina Supreme Court, as well as before the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.