Elliott & Polasek, PLLC has deep experience in intellectual property litigation. Our Houston intellectual property law firm collectively has more than 60 years of experience handling a wide variety of IP disputes. At an early stage, we will evaluate your case and explore ways to resolve the dispute outside of the courtroom by the process of negotiation or mediation.
If a favorable resolution cannot be reached, however, we are ready to prepare your case to the fullest extent and take your matters to trial in an effort to secure the best possible outcome for you. From initial filings to temporary restraining orders to Markman hearings, our legal team can handle the toughest IP litigation matters.
Our Areas of Litigation Practice
The firm has extensive experience with patent litigation. We represent patent owners and bring legal actions against infringers to enforce patents owned by our clients. The firm also defends against patent infringement claims asserted against our clients. A patent is a legal document issued by the United States government that gives its owner the limited right to exclude others from practicing the technology protected by the patent. A patent generally expires 20 years after its filing date and is limited geographically to the country of issuance. Although patents are presumed valid, they can be challenged in court or in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) through the inter partes review (IPR) process. A patent is not a self-enforcing document, and any acts of infringement may need to be prosecuted by filing a legal action in federal court. Our legal team is well-versed in evaluating patents, rendering freedom-to-operate opinions, and litigating patents in federal district court, the Court of Federal Claims, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. See our list of representative cases. The firm also has represented clients in a number of post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), including inter partes reviews (IPRs) and Covered Business Methods (CBMs).
The firm’s patent litigation practice includes an active, result-oriented, contingency fee practice. The firm’s lawyers have extensive experience efficiently litigating complex patent lawsuits on a contingent fee structure. For more information on this aspect of the firm’s practice, see our contingent fee patent litigation page.
The firm has also handled numerous trademark infringement cases, including infringement of trade names, service marks, logos, and trademarks, domain name disputes, cyber-piracy, counterfeiting, unfair competition, and trade dress, as well as breach of contract claims involving Google search terms and brand names. A trademark serves to distinguish products, services, and companies; and represents the source and goodwill associated with the product or service. Infringement is defined generally as any unauthorized activity that creates a "likelihood of confusion." Trademarks may include brand names, logos, symbols, words, phrases, colors, and trade dress or product configurations. Trademarks can be protected under the "common law," even without being registered, provided they meet certain qualifications making them eligible for protection. Trademarks may also be registered in the USPTO as federally registered trademarks or service marks; they may also be registered in individual states, including Texas; and they may additionally be registered in foreign countries and territories, such as the United Kingdom, the European Union (EU), Canada, and Mexico. Trademark disputes in the courtroom include claims made under the federal Lanham Act as well as claims made under the laws of Texas or other states. The firm has experience handling trademark lawsuits in both federal and state courts, at both the trial and the appellate level. For examples of the wide range of trademark lawsuits our lawyers have handled, please see the list of representative cases.
Another area of practice for the firm is copyright infringement claims, where we have represented both the copyright owner and the party accused of infringement. Copyrights generally protect the expression of an idea, but not the idea itself, and a copyright provides its owner with a bundle of exclusive rights, which can be violated not only by unauthorized duplication but also the preparation of derivative works. The subject matter of copyright is highly varied, ranging from computer software, to architectural plans, building designs and sculptures, to music and literary works such as books, poetry and print advertisements. The firm's services include handling the registration of copyrights for its clients, by filing applications with the U.S. Copyright Office. Our lawyers have experience in a number of different types of copyright cases, including computer software, architectural drawings, and building designs. For examples of copyright lawsuits our lawyers have handled, please see the list of representative cases.
The firm also represents clients in trade secret cases. We have represented clients whose trade secrets have been stolen, and have also defended clients charged with trade secret misappropriation. Trade secret misappropriation is governed by both federal and state laws and statutes and can be enforced by filing a lawsuit in either federal or state courts. In simple terms, a trade secret is a collection of information that is treated as confidential or at least relatively secret. The type of information that can qualify as a trade secret ranges from highly technical information such as chemical formulas, manufacturing tolerances, and computer software source code to less technical business information such as the identities of suppliers, vendors, or customers; or business models, strategies, and forecasts. In addition to representing clients in litigation, we also work with clients to help them protect their trade secrets at pre-litigation and transactional stages, in some cases drafting non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), company policies, employment agreements, and licensing agreements.
Unfair competition is sometimes referred to as an "umbrella" cause of action that covers a variety of unfair and unethical business practices. Such claims often accompany trademark infringement allegations. In Texas the essential proof for unfair competition typically overlaps with trademark infringement and involves a finding of likelihood of confusion. The firm's legal team has litigated a number of unfair competition claims, in both federal and state courts. Our lawyers have been involved in both enforcing and defending against such claims, in a variety of scenarios, including oilfield equipment, welding enclosures, hospital products, hair irons, funeral homes, architectural services, garden centers, and restaurants.
False advertising claims are often part of intellectual property lawsuits. False advertising generally includes false and misleading statements about a product that are material and deceptive and that cause injury or are likely to create injury to the party bringing the claim. The firm has successfully pursued false advertising claims in federal court.
Obtain Experienced Intellectual Property Counsel Today
Our firm strives to offer personalized, practical, and solution-oriented legal guidance to our clients. Once we have a firm understanding of your objectives, we can create an effective strategy to help you achieve your ultimate goals. We work to help our clients as they move forward in their efforts to realize their greater business, commercial, or entrepreneurial objectives.
We concentrate our practice on representing small and medium-sized businesses as well as individual inventors and business owners. We also work with other lawyers and law firms to maximize our combined experience, effectiveness, and efficiency for clients. We are strong advocates of teamwork and are just as comfortable assisting other lawyers as we are stepping into the driver’s seat, whichever approach is requested by the client.
Contact Elliott & Polasek, PLLC today to schedule your free case evaluation!