Dispute Avoidance, Dispute Resolution, And Management Of Litigation
We believe the greatest value of our extensive litigation experience is in helping clients to avoid litigation altogether. An intimate knowledge of the litigation process is essential in structuring licenses and other business relationships so as to minimize the chance that disputes will arise. And when disagreements do arise nonetheless, as they sometimes will, clear-eyed advice from an experienced litigator who knows what both parties will face if the gloves come off can be very helpful in forging agreement on a business solution.
But there are a lot of unreasonable people out there. Sometimes the courthouse simply cannot be avoided. At that point, isn't any useful role for a two-lawyer boutique at an end?
The answer is, "Quite the contrary." While there certainly are disputes which cannot be litigated properly without a significant number of troops on the front lines, both the effectiveness of those troops and the expense incurred depend on (1) formulating a sound and carefully thought out strategic direction, (2) selecting the right firm to do the heavy lifting, and (3) effectively supervising and managing the process as it unfolds. That's what we do.
We have hands-on working experience with litigation firms in most regions of the country. Regardless of the forum, we can help select local counsel that will be both responsive and cost effective. And we are uniquely positioned to work with the firm selected to insure that the litigation is managed intelligently. We have lived inside large law firms. We understand the internal and institutional pressures which can sometimes distort efficiencies, such as the need to generate work for younger lawyers and keep them busy. We know how and where resources need to be invested in the litigation process, and how they can be wasted.
Finally, a thorough grounding in both the substantive law and the business context of the litigation can provide a decisive advantage. General commercial litigators sometimes preach that "litigation is litigation," that the practitioner who is skilled in the litigation process can transfer those skills to any case, regardless of subject matter. The truth is that when litigating disputes concerning the advertising, marketing and distribution of branded products and services, generic litigation skills are absolutely necessary, but they are far from sufficient.
Trademark and false advertising cases turn on proof of perceptions and beliefs of the consuming public, issues which often require commissioning or responding to a consumer survey. Disputes involving well-known marks invoke questions of fame and dilution. Marks which become so well-known that they begin to be used by consumers to describe the category run the risk of being found generic. Disputes over domain names are often - but not always - resolved by arbitration under the registrar's Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Effectively litigating such issues is impossible without an in-depth command of the governing legal concepts, many of which are evolving daily, and an understanding of modern business practices in branding, marketing and merchandising. That is value which a general litigator simply cannot provide.
For all the above reasons, we are uniquely positioned to achieve superior litigation results in trademark and product distribution cases, with maximum efficiency.