Intellectual Property Law

intellectual property law, trade secrets, patents, litigation
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The Intellectual Property attorneys at Houston Harbaugh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have represented industrial, financial, individual, and business clients in litigation and the protection of intellectual property rights. We focus on the protection of all forms of intellectual property and serve as both principal counsel and local counsel in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio litigation.

Trade Secrets

Trade secrets are one of the more easily available means for a company to protect its intellectual property and do not require the formal registration or examination of the secret that other intellectual property rights require. However, there are many traps for the unwary that can jeopardize the ability of a company to enforce its rights in court. We can assist you in creating the proper procedures to protect your trade secrets and to enforce your rights in court, if necessary.

While usually governed by state law, a federal trade secret law – the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA) created a federal jurisdiction for trade secret misappropriation lawsuits and provides for both injunctive and damages relief, including enhanced damages and legal fees. It also enhances the criminal punishment for misappropriation by increasing the amount of fines that can be levied.

Intellectual Property Litigation and Oppositions

We serve as both lead counsel and local counsel for Pennsylvania-based and out-of-state corporations with respect to patent, trademark and copyright litigation and related disputes over licensing, royalties and unfair competition claims under the Lanham Act.

We are business trial lawyers who understand both the need to enforce IP rights, and the need to defend against predatory litigation. There are times when the courtroom or the threat of litigation is the only way to resolve a business dispute. Our attorneys also practice before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) and can litigate Trademark Opposition proceedings and related matters.

Complex Patent Litigation

Our attorneys have experience handling complex patent litigation matters for Fortune 500 and mid-size companies, both as plaintiffs and defendants. We have successfully represented clients with a variety of different technologies in obtaining favorable settlements or jury verdicts and can utilize our in-house technical and patent expertise to provide cost-efficient representation of intellectual property disputes. We also provide intellectual property audits, opinions and evaluations for businesses and individuals and consult with these entities in pre-litigation matters.

Intellectual Property Alternative Dispute Resolution

We can also mediate your intellectual property matter through one of several forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution, including arbitration, mediation or early neutral evaluation. We understand the need to set a litigation or ADR budget and to adhere to that budget.

Western District of Pennsylvania Representation

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania is one of a growing number of district courts with Federal Local Patent Rules, and these rules govern all patent litigation filings in Western Pennsylvania. These rules provide for an accelerated case disposition schedule and numerous procedural rules changes relating to Federal Rule 26 disclosures, claim construction, use of expert witnesses and disclosure of infringement or invalidity contentions. The rules are designed to streamline patent litigation and to make Western Pennsylvania a forum of choice for parties filing patent infringement or invalidation actions.

Attorneys at the firm have experience in handling matters filed pursuant to these rules both as principal counsel and as local counsel for out-of-state firms that avail themselves of this jurisdiction or whose clients have been sued in this district.

  • Representation of battery testing manufacturer in litigation and on appeal.
  • Representation of a commercial lighting manufacturer in litigating patent infringement claims.
  • Representation of medical and pharmaceutical products manufacturers in patent, unfair competition and false advertising matters.
  • The representation of a metals manufacturer in a trademark dispute.
  • Advising a small business client regarding copyright and trademark rights and defending his business against attempts to invalidate those rights.
  • Defending a natural gas exploration company against a patent invalidation lawsuit and prosecuting a counterclaim for patent infringement.
  • The representation of minority members of a green technology limited liability company in a shareholders’ derivative action against the majority member for violations of RICO, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • The representation of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company against a foreign manufacturer for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.
  • Representation of a telecommunications company in federal litigation brought under Federal Trademark Dilution Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act by a designer and manufacturer of networked communications systems and related software.
  • Representation of a Dutch corporation which owned the exclusive rights and license to the “total image” of one of the world’s foremost tennis superstars in action against defendant corporation for breach of endorsement contracts.
  • Advising a franchise business regarding the need for specialty intellectual property insurance coverage and reviewing several competing proposed insurance policies.
  • Providing opinions and opinion letters to individuals and companies on patent and trademark rights, risks and liabilities.
  • Representing employers and employees in disputes over intellectual property licensing, royalties and ownership.
  • Defending Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies against claims of patent infringement.