Donald E. (“Don”) Knebel earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University (with highest distinction) in 1968 and a J.D. degree from the Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1974. From 1968 to 1971, he was employed by the Lockheed Missiles and Space Company. He retired as a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP on December 31, 2013, after spending more than 39 years in the Indianapolis office of that firm as an intellectual property and antitrust litigator. During that time, he was involved in cases in 23 states and tried cases to verdict in 10 states. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and was listed in The Best Lawyers in America® since the first edition in 1983 (Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation, Antitrust, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Copyright Law, Patent Law) and was named in 2011, 2012 and 2013 as the Indianapolis Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer of the Year. He now serves as counsel to Barnes & Thornburg.
Since 2011, Don has been Adjunct Professor and Senior Advisor to the Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He teaches courses on antitrust and intellectual property law. One course seeks to teach law students the principles and techniques of intellectual property litigation by engaging them in the preparation and trial of a hypothetical patent case, tried before a jury and an actual federal judge. This course, thought to be the first of its kind in the United States, now includes law students from the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan, where Don is an adjunct professor.
Don has long been active in a number of civic and charitable organizations. He was the 2010 Campaign Chair for United Way of Central Indiana, where he is an emeritus Board member. He was the co-chair of the 2013 Classical Fellowship Awards for the American Pianist Association, on whose Board he served. He was the moderator for the 2013 Ardath Burkhart Leadership Series. He was the founding Board Chair of the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and was on the Steering Committee for the first Festival of Faiths held in Indianapolis in October 2013 and for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Indianapolis in 2016. Between September 2015 and August 2016, he served as Interim Executive Director of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, where he has served as Board Member since 1986 and is currently serving as Board Chair for the third time. He is also currently Board Chair of the Triangle Education Foundation. He is currently serving as the inaugural president of the S. Jay Plager Intellectual Property American Inn of Court. He is active on the Boards of Christel House International, the Christian Theological Seminary and the John Christian Foundation.
Don is passionate about the need for members of all religious traditions to have a better understanding of each other and speaks often to churches and community groups on comparative religion and religious history. He and his wife Jen are frequent international travelers and he speaks widely on topics related to that travel. He writes a weekly column on travel for the Current newspapers and is a regular blog contributor to the Center for Civic Literacy on matters related to religion and law. For his civic activities, Don has received a number of awards, including “Outstanding Electrical Engineer” from Purdue University, “Interfaith Ambassador of the Year” from the Center for Interfaith Cooperation, and the “Cap Henning Altruism Award” from Triangle Fraternity. He and Jen live in Zionsville and Nashville, Indiana. They have three children, Mary Knebel, Caitlin Battles and Chase Johnson.