Practice Area


A verdict at trial is rarely the final word. Appeals often follow, at times dramatically changing the outcome of a case. And a pending appeal can affect a company's stock price, reputation and bottom line.

Combining our national recognition in trial work involving advertising, patents, copyrights, trademarks, products liability and media law with the experience of litigators who have successfully argued numerous landmark appeals, Patterson Belknap's appellate group makes a difference to corporations nationwide. Clients work not only with appellate practitioners having a track record of success, but also with practitioners deeply grounded in the subject matter of the appeal.

One of our greatest strengths—and one of the greatest advantages for clients—is that Patterson Belknap's lawyers actually try cases and argue appeals. For us and our clients, our work is about more than just theory—it's about application. Because we are in the courtroom regularly, we can call on our extensive first-hand experience with judges and knowledge of the rules and customs in federal and state jurisdictions across the country when setting appellate strategy.

Our practice has been included in Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC’s Benchmark Appellate guide, in which we were named "Highly Recommended" for Second Circuit litigation and recommended for Federal Circuit litigation as well. In addition, our practice is recognized nationally by the U.S. News / Best Lawyers survey of "Best Law Firms," and also ranked in the top tier in New York City.

Our work helps clients resolve issues in a number of areas, including:

  • Copyrights: Companies facing copyright issues regularly rely on our appellate attorneys, who include a past trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and a former chair of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's Committee on Copyright Law. For a number of artists, we have filed amicus briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving the federal flag desecration statute and the constitutionality of the decency provision in the NEA statute.
  • False Advertising: Patterson Belknap has argued many important false advertising appeals, including a landmark case for a major pharmaceutical company that was the first Lanham Act case to hold that a product's trademarked name could constitute false advertising. We represent the world’s leading beverage company in a high-profile dispute over juice labeling. In the district court, we obtained summary judgment dismissing the federal and state-law claims against our client, and obtained an affirmance of the summary judgment ruling on the federal claim in the Ninth Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and we will now proceed to trial on the federal claim. The district court’s ruling that the state-law claims are preempted is currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit. We won precedent-setting rulings from the Second Circuit regarding implied advertising claims and commercials that are literally false solely because of their visual images.
  • False Claims Act and Whistleblower Defense: After securing dismissal of a False Claims Act (“FCA”) complaint for a major pharmaceutical client, we successfully defended that victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In a unanimous decision addressing the pleading demands for complaints filed under the FCA, the Fourth Circuit rejected the relator’s request to apply a more lenient pleading requirement in cases in which a relator is unable to show that actual false claims were submitted for government reimbursement.
  • Law Firm Defense: We represented a law firm in a malpractice case by a former entertainment client in connection with rights to a popular song. We moved to dismiss the plaintiff's claims on the grounds that the statute of limitations had run. The principal issues raised by our motion were which state's limitations periods applied and when the plaintiff's claims had accrued. Following the trial court's denial of our motion, we appealed. The appellate court reversed the trial court and dismissed the claims against our client with prejudice.
  • Media: We obtained for our client a preliminary injunction enjoining satellite providers from airing nationally broadcast television commercials. After successfully arguing the appeal the Second Circuit redefined several key doctrines in the law of false advertising.
  • Patents: Our patent attorneys have secured successful outcomes for clients at both the trial and appellate levels. According to The National Law Journal, our litigators have obtained three of the six largest patent judgments in U.S. history, and their appellate verdicts have been named to the magazine's annual list of the 10 best. For a major medical device company, we convinced a federal court to reinstate a $271 million jury verdict in a patent infringement suit over coronary stents. In another case, the Federal Circuit reversed a $593 million jury verdict.
  • Products Liability: The products liability attorneys in our appellate practice have worked with pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer product companies for more than 20 years. During that time, we secured a seminal ruling on the "learned intermediary doctrine" and persuaded a federal court to affirm the trial judgment in a prescription drug case. We also convinced the Second Circuit to uphold a multimillion-dollar verdict in an orthopedic medical device case.
  • Trademarks: Continuing to lay the groundwork for developing doctrines in the trademark arena, we won a ruling in a trademark infringement case that articulated a new standard for judging confusion in cases involving directly competing goods during our defense of a major pharmaceutical company's sports gel product before the Second Circuit on behalf of a major book imprint. We also won a landmark Second Circuit ruling that extended trade dress protection to the cover designs of romance fiction paperbacks, and a more recent Second Circuit ruling that affirmed a jury verdict that one teen magazine did not infringe on another teen magazine.