Competing effectively in a dynamic, tech-driven economy requires more than building the proverbial better mousetrap. As a business owner or manager, you know that successful competition also requires the ability to protect and defend your intellectual property interests and trade-secrets. It's not enough just to have a trademark, patent, copyright or noncompete agreement. You must police it.
At Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, we have the experience and depth of knowledge to help you create, implement and enforce the legal protections that your business needs. Our Houston business lawyers have a proven record of getting results for clients in IP disputes of all types, including confidentiality agreements, licensure agreements, noncompetes, trademarks and copyrights. We have been handling intellectual property and trade secret litigation effectively for 25 years.
If your company is facing a dispute about intellectual property, it is important to be proactive in getting a lawyer to assert or defend your rights. Call (713) 909-7323 or email us to set up a confidential consultation about your case.
From our office in Houston, we serve clients throughout Texas.
Our job is to take your difficulties and prepare them thoroughly and aggressively for litigation - whether that involves filing a lawsuit or defending you against one.
The specific issue may vary. It could involve ownership of intellectual property when a business dissolves. It could concern copyright or patent infringement, theft of trade secrets or the enforcement of a noncompete agreement. No matter what the specific issue, however, our business litigation attorneys take the bull by the horns and proactively develop ways to protect our clients' best interests.
We are experienced at defending clients against patent infringement lawsuits by patent trolls. Our firm is familiar with new Supreme Court decisions regarding IP matters. We understand that the way to shut down a patent troll is through an aggressive defense, and we know how to use evolving law to obtain declaratory judgments in your favor.
Of course, the approach we take is always customized to the facts of each unique case and based on a keen understanding of the client's goals and a clear-sighted assessment of the legal landscape.
Our firm has extensive experience helping clients resolve challenges and take advantage of opportunities concerning intellectual property. This includes:
In these and all other cases that we handle, our goal is always to use our deep-seated legal knowledge and valuable practical experience to guide you toward a desirable outcome. Our firm is also adept at helping clients avoid litigation. But when litigation comes, we do not let it become a runaway bull. We take the bull by the horns and marshal our forces to assert or protect your best interests.
Patent infringement claims are by nature very different from what you will face in an average legal dispute. At Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, we understand this. We know exactly how to defend a business facing what is, in effect, a "shake down" from a patent troll or other entity that has brought a claim against you based on an invalid patent.
Steps We Take in Defending Against Patent Infringement Claims
On our separate page dedicated to information about defending against patent infringement claims, you will find these steps described in much more detail.
At our Houston business law firm, we vigorously defend our clients against patent trolls and other entities that bring claims based on invalid patents. Our approach is to take care of the problem now, through the means of aggressive legal defense, so that you can put the problem behind you for good. Simon ("Trey") Hendershot, managing shareholder, is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in the representation of clients facing intellectual property disputes.
To arrange a confidential consultation, call (713) 909-7323.
Complaints to cancel trademarks generally arise when you have been using a trademark in your business for some time and the plaintiff later discovers your use of the trademark. These types of complaints take place exclusively within the jurisdiction of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO.
In the Petition for Cancellation, the plaintiff will make specific allegations as to why the USPTO should cancel your mark. There are no other remedies for the plaintiff; in defending against complaints to cancel trademarks, you do not face money damages or an injunction ordering you to stop your use of the trademark, even if you lose the case. The USPTO has jurisdiction over trademark registration only, unlike the federal courts, which have jurisdiction over infringement suits.
However, cancellation is a risk, and this could have obvious repercussions on the success of your business, depending on the circumstances in play. In the typical case, the plaintiff generally seeks to have your trademark canceled with the goal of asserting its own trademark rights.
A number of issues may be raised in a case involving the possibility of trademark cancellation. These are absolute grounds and relative grounds; in a case before the USPTO, the presence or absence of these grounds, along with how they are interpreted in relation to the particular mark in question, will largely determine whether the mark will be canceled.
Absolute grounds include:
Relative grounds (which can be more difficult to prove) include:
Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey can aggressively defend you against a complaint to cancel a trademark before the USPTO. Simon "Trey" Hendershot leads the firm's business law practice and has over 25 years' experience defending his clients against complaints to cancel trademarks-as well as similar disputes involving intellectual property.
In cases of alleged trademark infringement (in contrast to trademark cancellation, as discussed in the section above), the holder of a registered trademark files a lawsuit in federal court, rather than with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In trademark infringement cases, plaintiffs have a wider set of remedies available to them, including injunctive relief and monetary damages.
At Hendershot, Cannon, Martin & Hisey, we aggressively defend our clients against trademark infringement claims in federal court, and we have the knowledge and experience to do so effectively.
Learn more about the potential liability you face in a trademark infringement claim below, as well as the specific defenses we may be able to raise on your behalf.
In order to prevail on an infringement claim under the Lanham Act, the plaintiff must show your use of the trademark, its use in commerce, the likelihood of confusion in the marketplace, and account for damages caused as a result of the alleged infringement.
If you have been sued for trademark infringement, the following possible consequences apply:
The most common defense is that your use of a trademark bears no risk of confusion in the marketplace. One example of this is where your company does business in one state and the plaintiff does business in another state. In this example, the risk of confusion is very low.
Another common defense is the "prior use" defense. This defense applies when you have been using the trademark in question before the claimant, at least in a particular territory. In this case, your unregistered prior usage of the trademark would give your business the right to use it, regardless of trademark.
Other defenses include:
One way in which our firm's experience shows itself is in sensitivity to how our clients' goals may vary in particular cases. Some clients may see a strategic advantage in pursuing a highly transparent, high-profile resolution to an intellectual property dispute. Others may prefer a much quieter approach, emphasizing negotiation rather than litigation.
Our Houston business law attorneys have the skill and versatility to deploy whatever tactics are likely to work best for our clients. We will do whatever is necessary to protect your property rights and preserve your reputation. Regardless of how your dispute is resolved, we will let your opponents know that you are prepared to fight them tooth and nail.
Some business disputes come charging into the open like a raging bull at a Texas rodeo. Some may seem to appear like a thief in the night. Others may grow gradually, simmering like a minor irritation, before it becomes clear that something must be done.
Given how much money is often at stake in an intellectual property dispute, it makes sense to take action to resolve the matter sooner rather than later. We protect clients well in advance of IP disputes through noncompete agreements, confidentiality agreements, trademarks, copyrights and more.
For example, if a former employee has started tapping your customer lists and calling on old customers, a call to a lawyer experienced in IP litigation is likely in order.
There are also occasions when the need for action is clearly urgent. If valuable commercial data is about to be wrongfully compromised, we can help you pursue an immediate injunction to stop it.
Our business law firm has the knowledge of both Texas and federal law to confidently assert or defend your rights in any type of intellectual property dispute.
Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us online for a confidential consultation with an experienced IP litigation attorney.