Patterson Belknap is actively involved in litigating copyright disputes. Our practice is recognized among the top in New York by Chambers USA, highlighting our strength in both brand protection and copyright. The firm also counsels clients on copyright issues, handles copyright registrations, and negotiates licensing agreements. The firm has represented well-known entertainers, composers, authors, publishers, and television/radio networks as both plaintiff and defendant.

Our litigators have long been at the cutting edge of trademark and unfair competition litigation. The firm has tried many preliminary injunction hearings on short notice, generally taking discovery on an expedited basis. The lawyers in this area also counsel clients on trademark and trade dress issues and handle trademark filings.

Representative copyright and trademark matters include:

  • We represented a well-known news publisher in a copyright and “hot news misappropriation” claim against a website operator that was systematically republishing items from our client’s newswire. The case, which garnered significant press attention, ended when the defendant made a public acknowledgement of liability, agreed to a permanent injunction and paid a substantial sum in damages to our client.
  • We are representing a global healthcare company in a trademark infringement litigation against more than one hundred diverters and retailers that are importing and selling in the United States the healthcare company’s medical devices that are packaged for foreign markets. In this ongoing litigation, we have won a preliminary injunction for our client, barring distributors and retailers from selling these gray market products.
  • We are defending a leading consumer products company in a trademark infringement arbitration involving one of our client's best-selling products. The action arises from allegations that our client violated trademark rights and breached a license agreement through the use of redesigned packaging.
  • We represented a leading restaurant chain in a suit brought against it by a celebrity rap artist. The action arose out of a letter sent to the artist making an offer to participate in a public relations event. The rap artist claimed that dissemination of the letter to the media violated his right of publicity under New York law and his trademark rights under federal law and sought damages and injunctive relief. Following fact and expert discovery, summary judgment briefing and mediation, the case resolved on mutually satisfactory terms.
  • We are representing a financial news and information company in strategic IP litigation in both the Illinois courts and the federal courts in New York to defend its franchise in index-based derivatives trading. This market comprises a wide variety of exchange-traded and structured investment products, such as options and futures, based on well-known indexes. To date, we have won every decision in these related cases on forum selection, jurisdiction, copyright preemption, and discovery issues.
  • We successfully represented a publisher that owns copyrights and trademarks in world famous cartoon characters in litigation against unauthorized licensing by a third party of merchandising rights, and based on our success in that litigation we have been engaged to represent another rights-holder in ongoing trademark litigation against the same accused infringer.

Trade Secret and Theft of Ideas

Our clients have been involved in claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and ideas in the consumer products, toy, manufacturing and movie industries as both plaintiffs and defendants. We also have counseled clients on ways to make those types of claims less likely and to protect their secrets and ideas.

Representative matters include:

  • Our attorneys defeated preliminary injunction and protected the launch of a highly anticipated CD for a music production company.
  • The firm defended a major pharmaceutical company, a software publisher and others from claims of theft of trade secrets.
  • We defended an entertainment company and a cable network from claims of misappropriation of ideas.
  • Our attorneys prosecuted a suit for misappropriation of trade secrets while assisting in a parallel, ongoing criminal investigation.
  • We have defended a major toy company and others against various claims by independent inventors for misappropriation of product ideas.
  • We represented a leading information reporting and media company in a federal case against a competitor alleging that the competitor illegally accessed its proprietary software system and used that illegal access to copy aspects of our client’s market-leading product.