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Intellectual Property Enforcement and Litigation

Warner’s Intellectual Property Enforcement and Litigation Practice Group drives results for clients seeking protection for a variety of advertising, copyrights, patents, publicity rights and trademark ideas and innovations. Our attorneys have immersed themselves in technology and industry trends to proactively advocate for your rights – and seek swift resolution both in and out of the courtroom. We partner with clients to determine the merits and risks of each case to design a litigation strategy to best fit your needs.

Although Warner is a Michigan-based law firm, our practice knows no bounds. We practice all over the nation, bringing our experience and knowledge to the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Circuit Appellate Courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. And our cross-industry exposure in the latest technology sectors enables us to come to the table with an acute level of insight ready to defend your case.

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Representative Experience

The following is a small sampling of our experience across a wide spectrum of intellectual property litigation matters. To learn more about our intellectual property litigation practice or a particular type of case, please connect with the practice group chair or a member of Warner’s Intellectual Property Enforcement and Litigation Practice Group.

Advertising

We work with clients to ensure their advertising and branding efforts align with the law and are positioned to avoid potential mistakes that could end up costing them valuable time and money. We review ad campaigns, marketing materials, websites, mobile apps and various other means of promotion to provide peace of mind when showcasing your ideas or goods to consumers. Here are a few notable advertising cases we’ve handled:

  • LG Electronics USA, Inc. v. Whirlpool Corporation: U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois: Warner successfully represented Whirlpool as the defendant in a false advertising case under the Lanham Act and Illinois state law. The plaintiff in the case sought $85 million in damages, but, after a three-week trial, the jury did not award any damages. The court entered judgment in favor of Whirlpool and against the plaintiff on each one of the plaintiff’s causes of action, ending in a complete victory for Whirlpool. The plaintiff did not appeal.
  • Wrench LLC v. Taco Bell Corp.: Warner’s team obtained the largest judgment awarded in the history of the U.S. District Court of West Michigan ($42 million) in our representation of Wrench LLC against Taco Bell for Taco Bell’s theft of the Chihuahua advertising campaign.
  • Dyson, Inc. v. BISSELL Homecare, Inc.: Member of the defense team in a multi-million dollar false advertising case regarding HEPA vacuum products.
  • Falcon Waterfree Technologies, LLC v. Ecotech Resource, Inc.: Obtained a preliminary injunction requiring a disclaimer on all of the competitor’s products and marketing materials in this case involving Lanham Act false advertising and breach of contract claims.

Copyright

Protecting, defending and enforcing copyrights is crucial to the success of running a business. We proactively counsel clients in copyright protection to minimize litigation – and we do this efficiently and cost-effectively. If litigation becomes necessary, you have a strong defense team on your side, experienced in a variety of sophisticated cases involving technology, photography, music, devices, media and more. Here is a small representation of our attorneys’ copyright experience:

  • Authored the amicus brief for AIPLA advocating the prevailing position in Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, US (April 27, 2020), that the State of Georgia’s official commentary to its state code is a government edict and not entitled to copyright protection.
  • Meshwerks v. Toyota Motors Sales USA, Inc: Obtained unanimous victory defeating copyright infringement claim on the grounds that the digital images in question were not original. Named one of the “Top Verdicts and Settlements” of 2006 by Crain’s Detroit Business and a “Top Intellectual Property Case of 2008” by The Colorado Lawyer.
  • Gordon v. Nextel Communications: Helped defeat copyright claims against de minimis use of artwork in a television commercial.
  • Chambers v. Ingram: Defeated copyright and publicity rights claims against author and publisher.
  • Johnson v. Jamie Foxx: Defeated copyright infringement lawsuit against famous artist.
  • Integrated Bar Coding Systems, Co. v. Wemert: Defended against software source code copyright infringement claims.
  • Sherman v. Jones: Obtained dismissal of copyright infringement action in lawsuit involving New York Times bestselling author Edward Paul Jones’s book, The Known World.
  • Handled scores of lawsuits on behalf of ASCAP members enforcing music copyrights against food service establishments.
  • Led over a dozen cases for DIRECTV, Inc. against sellers and purchasers of pirate access devices.

Patent Litigation

Warner’s patent litigators defend some of the most interesting and high-stakes cases involving consumer products, medical devices and technologies – producing courtroom wins and favorable settlements – keeping our clients in business and thriving. Some of these cases include:

  • Warrior Lacrosse: Representing leading sporting goods manufacturer in protecting and prosecuting patent rights against several industry competitors in the lacrosse and hockey market segments.
  • Wolverine World Wide, Inc.: Representing leading footwear manufacturer in patent litigation, including successful defense against patent infringement claims and invalidating asserted patents related to light-up shoe designs.
  • Skytron LLC: Representing medical device manufacturer in patent litigation, including defense against infringement claims related to UV disinfectant systems.
  • Tactile Feedback Technologies LLC: Represented inventor-owned entity in patent infringement litigation asserting claims of infringement against multiple phone manufacturers related to haptic feedback technology.
  • Represents numerous clients in enforcing and defending against non-competition and non-disclosure agreements to protect trade secrets in highly competitive industries.

Right of Publicity

We represent individuals and businesses in publicity rights claims – either as the plaintiff or defendant. Publicity rights vary widely from state to state. Warner’s team has experience across state lines, ready to defend against claims or protect your rights. Here are some of the many publicity rights claims that Warner attorneys have participated in:

  • Eagle Rock Entm’t v. Armstrong: Defeated publicity rights claim by band member against publisher of concert video.
  • Romantics v. Activision: Served as part of a team that defeated right of publicity claims by the band against the publisher of the Guitar Hero video game.
  • Arnold v. Treadwell: Defeated publicity rights claims by a model against a photographer.
  • Neal v. EA: Helped win summary judgment against claims involving use of a plaintiff’s image in a video game.
  • Ongoing consultation to global toy manufacturer on publicity rights issues.

Trademark and Trade Dress

Your trademark represents your identity and plays an important role in communicating your brand to your consumers. Warner’s trademark attorneys understand the uniqueness of each trademark and trade dress, and will protect your business’s brand so you can continue to be uniquely you. Here are just a few of the relevant cases our attorneys have handled:

  • Leapers, Inc. v. SMTS, LLC: Obtained unanimous reversal of trial court decision that had found client’s product design functional and thus ineligible for trade dress protection.
  • KRBL Ltd. v. Overseas Food Distributors: Obtained preliminary injunction in trade dress and copyright case involving packaging of food products.
  • Children’s Legal Services PLLC v. Kresch: Obtained summary judgment on liability for service mark infringement, unfair competition and cybersquatting, as well as a permanent injunction, an accounting and other relief.
  • Litigated dozens of TTAB Oppositions and Cancelations for Mattel, Volvo, Wolverine Worldwide, Huttopia, JP Leo, Xact Genomics, On Clouds, Fathead, General Motors, Sports Authority, Provo Craft and more.
  • Handled Several UDRP domain name arbitrations for Herman Miller, Moosejaw Mountaineering, Jaguar Land Rover, Quicken Loans and others.