Prior to his retirement in 2023, John Kenney’s practice involved the litigation of complex business cases, primarily those involving intellectual property and other technical and scientific issues. He tried and handled cases, arbitrations, and administrative proceedings and hearings in many state and federal courts in the United States, the Virgin Islands, and several foreign countries. Over the years, this included cases involving patents and other intellectual property, products liability, oil and gas, environmental, antitrust, securities fraud, and other contract and general business issues. He also advised clients concerning matters involving intellectual property law and products liability law.
Over the course of his distinguished 42-year career at McAfee & Taft, John served on the firm’s board of directors and as leader of the firm’s Litigation Practice Group and Intellectual Property Practice Group. Active in the professional community, he also previously served as president of the Oklahoma County Bar Association and the Oklahoma City Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
While actively practicing law, John was a frequent speaker and continuing legal education teacher on matters related to trial practice, evidence and intellectual property law.
Before attending law school, John was employed as an engineer with Westinghouse Electric Corporation in Staunton, Virginia, and Norman, Oklahoma, and as a project engineer by University Associates, Inc. After law school, he worked as a litigation associate at Baker & Botts in Houston, Texas, before returning to Oklahoma and joining McAfee & Taft in 1981.
John’s interest in protecting the intellectual property rights to both industrial and artistic works was personal as well as professional. John is an inventor of nine patents issued by the United States Patent Office. He is also a country music songwriter whose copyrighted works have been recorded by singer-songwriter and collaborator Bob Fraley for the debut album, “Bootjack Romeo,” and his own album, “My Top Advice.”
In addition to being appointed on two occasions as a temporary judge on the Oklahoma Court of Appeals (attorney-staffed panels), John served on various appointed committees and panels for the U.S. District Court for the Western of Oklahoma, including the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Committee, Merit Magistrate Judge Selection Committee, Arbitration Panel, and Early Neutral Evaluation Panel.
In 2008, John was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Additionally, his achievements as a trial lawyer earned him perennial inclusion in Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America, and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, which named him to its prestigious list of “Top 10 Oklahoma Lawyers” for several years running.
John was selected by Best Lawyers as “Oklahoma City Patent Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2012 and 2020, “Oklahoma City Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer of the Year” for 2014, “Oklahoma City Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action Defense Lawyer of the Year” for 2015, “Oklahoma City Product Liability Litigation Defense Lawyer of the Year” for 2016, and “Oklahoma City Trade Secrets Lawyer of the Year” for 2017 and 2019, honors given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each market. He was also perennially identified by Benchmark Litigation as a “Litigation Star.”
John is a past recipient of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg American Inn of Court’s John Shipp Award for Professionalism, the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Most Outstanding Member Award, and the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and OU Alumni Association’s Regents’ Alumni Award.