United States: National

At the centre of the IP world, the United States plays host to a phalanx of much-loved, globally recognised brands. On the back of an improving economy, trademark filings and enforcement actions are on the rise; conversely, the general appetite for fullblown litigation has waned, as rights holders continue to look to more cost-efficient resolutions. However, fights that do spill over into the courtroom are being taken more seriously than ever before; as evidence of this, an unusually high number of landmark trademark and patent disputes have reached the Supreme Court in recent years. This is surely testament to the growing importance of intellectual property and the notion that the United States is at the forefront of cutting-edge IP issues.

Most recently, the Supreme Court provided an answer to the long-running debate over the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, which prevents the federal registration of disparaging marks. In Matal v Tam the court unanimously held that the disparagement clause violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment. The result was also a victory for the Washington Redskins, a National Football League team which had been embroiled in a series of high-profile legal battles over its REDSKINS mark since 1992. The momentous verdict drew a mixed pool of responses: some commentators considered it a significant setback for minority groups, while others contended that in practice it will have little impact on future registrations.

In 2015 the Supreme Court also handed down a significant decision in B&B Hardware Inc v Hargis Enterprises, holding that US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) proceedings can have a preclusive effect on subsequent district court litigation. The ruling has rarely been cited since its issuance, meaning that the complete set of circumstances where issue preclusion can be applied remains indeterminate. This continues to be a hot talking point, especially for those heavily involved with Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) actions.

In part because of the B&B Hardware decision, commentators have noted an increasing emphasis being placed on TTAB proceedings. This can also be attributed to new TTAB rules – the largest changes seen in over a decade – introduced at the beginning of 2017. These alterations have mostly been met with warm applause, as procedures have been simplified and sped up.

The USPTO has undergone further change following the unexpected resignation of its director, Michelle Lee, in 2017. This has been one of many key points of interest for rights holders and lawyers alike since US President Donald Trump came into office. The new administration’s impact on the wider trademark market remains characterised by uncertainty, as inhabitants of the IP world take a wait-and-see approach.

In addition to these legal and administrative developments, brand owners must contend with the growing threat of counterfeiters and the proliferation of crossborder infringements. Sophisticated online transgressors are another mounting area of concern; the rise of social media has substantially increased the volume of work that is needed to establish and protect a mark, and amplified the pace at which rights holders must move in order to keep up with their brands.

For newcomers hoping to break into the US trademark market, as well as long-time players aiming to solidify their presence, there is clearly no shortage of work at the moment. Although there is a prevailing feeling of uncertainty in light of the abovementioned developments, with great risk comes an abundance of opportunity. Those hoping to capitalise on the situation would do well to seek out the leading US trademark professionals listed in the following pages – many of whom are the finest branding lawyers in the world.

Firms

Arent Fox LLP

Mr Michael A Grow Mr Anthony V Lupo Mr Anthony V Lupo Fox LLP (Washington DC)

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Ms Heather J McDonald

Barnes & Thornburg LLP

& Thornburg LLP (Chicago IL)

Brinks Gilson & Lione 

Mr Jeffrey A Handelman Mr David S Fleming Gilson & Lione (Chicago IL)

Cowan Liebowitz & Latman PC

Liebowitz & Latman PC (New York NY)

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Ms G Roxanne Elings Ms G Roxanne Elings Ms G Roxanne Elings Wright Tremaine LLP (New York NY)

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

Mr David H Bernstein & Plimpton LLP (New York NY)

Fenwick & West LLP

Mr Andrew P Bridges Mr Jedediah Wakefield & West LLP (San Francisco CA)

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP 

Mr Mark Sommers Mr Douglas A Rettew Ms Julia Anne Matheson Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP (Washington DC)

Fish & Richardson PC

Ms Cynthia Johnson Walden Mr Mark S Puzella Mr David Hosp Ms Cynthia Johnson Walden & Richardson PC (Boston MA)

Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC 

Ms Barbara A Solomon Ms Susan Upton Douglass Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu PC (New York NY)

Greenberg Traurig LLP

Traurig LLP (San Francisco CA)

Haynes and Boone LLP

and Boone LLP (Austin TX)

Jones Day

Mr John G Froemming Day (Washington DC)

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP

Mr Floyd A Mandell Muchin Rosenman LLP (Chicago IL)

Kelly IP

Mr David M Kelly Mr David M Kelly IP (Washington DC)

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Mr William H Brewster Mr Theodore H Davis Jr Mr Theodore H Davis Jr Townsend & Stockton LLP (Atlanta GA)

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Ms Dale M Cendali & Ellis LLP (New York NY)

Knobbe Martens

Martens (Irvine CA)

McDermott Will & Emery

Will & Emery (Chicago IL)

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Lewis & Bockius LLP (Washington DC)

Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP

Mr Robert W Sacoff McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP (Chicago IL)

Perkins Coie LLP

Ms Grace Han Stanton Coie LLP (Seattle WA)

Pirkey Barber PLLC 

Mr Louis T Pirkey Mr William G Barber Mr Louis T Pirkey Mr Shannon T Vale Mr William G Barber Barber PLLC (Austin TX)

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC (Los Angeles CA)

Winston & Strawn LLP 

& Strawn LLP (New York NY)

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

  • James L Bikoff - Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP 
  • Brian W Brokate - Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
  • Andy Coombs - J Andrew Coombs APC
  • G Roxanne Elings - Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Jorge Espinosa - Espinosa Martinez, PL
  • Anthony M Keats - KeatsGatien LLP
  • Harley I Lewin - McCarter & English LLP 
  • Heather J McDonald - Baker & Hostetler LLP
  • Mark N Mutterperl - Zeisler PLLC
  • Geoffrey Potter - Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
  • M Kelly Tillery - Pepper Hamilton LLP

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

  • William G Barber - Pirkey Barber PLLC
  • David H Bernstein - Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
  • William H Brewster - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Andrew P Bridges - Fenwick & West LLP
  • Dale M Cendali - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
  • Theodore H Davis Jr - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • David M Kelly - Kelly IP
  • Floyd A Mandell - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
  • Brendan J O'Rourke - Proskauer Rose LLP
  • Louis T Pirkey - Pirkey Barber PLLC
  • Jeffrey M Becker - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Edward T Colbert - Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP
  • John W Crittenden - Cooley LLP
  • G Roxanne Elings - Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • David S Fleming - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • John G Froemming - Jones Day
  • Bobby Ghajar - Cooley LLP
  • Michael A Grow - Arent Fox LLP
  • Jeffrey A Handelman - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Peter Harvey - Harvey & Company
  • David Hosp - Fish & Richardson PC
  • Julia Huston - Foley Hoag LLP
  • Roberta Jacobs-Meadway - Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC
  • Leslie J Lott - Lott & Fischer PL
  • Anthony V Lupo - Arent Fox LLP
  • Douglas Masters - Loeb & Loeb LLP
  • Mark VB Partridge - Partridge Partners PC 
  • Mark S Puzella - Fish & Richardson PC
  • William D Raman - Fleckman & McGlynn PLLC
  • Douglas A Rettew - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
  • Molly Buck Richard - Richard Law Group
  • Robert W Sacoff - Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP
  • Barbara A Solomon - Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC
  • Mark Sommers - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
  • Jedediah Wakefield - Fenwick & West LLP
  • Cynthia Johnson Walden - Fish & Richardson PC
  • John L Welch - Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, PC

Individuals: generic top-level domains

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

  • Sally M Abel - Fenwick & West LLP
  • Theodore H Davis Jr - Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP
  • Susan Upton Douglass - Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu, PC
  • G Roxanne Elings - Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
  • Mark I Feldman - DLA Piper LLP (US)
  • Susan L Heller - Greenberg Traurig LLP
  • David M Kelly - Kelly IP
  • Julia Anne Matheson - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP
  • Louis T Pirkey - Pirkey Barber PLLC
  • William G Barber - Pirkey Barber PLLC
  • Jeffrey M Becker - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Glenn A Gundersen - Dechert LLP
  • Timothy M Kenny - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
  • Anthony V Lupo - Arent Fox LLP
  • Mark VB Partridge - Partridge Partners PC 
  • Purvi Patel Albers - Haynes and Boone LLP
  • Molly Buck Richard - Richard Law Group
  • Grace Han Stanton - Perkins Coie LLP
  • Maury M Tepper III - Tepper & Eyster PLLC
  • Shannon T Vale - Pirkey Barber PLLC
  • Cynthia Johnson Walden - Fish & Richardson PC