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How can I find legal rep. to take on Google & Microsoft for trademark infringement, on contingency?

Dallas, TX |

I did not register my trademark, but I used the TM logo for 2+ years. The brand is global in reach. I built a team, brand identity, product design, filed patent, got an investor & finally unveiled it to the world with a PR firm (covered by AP, Rueters, NewsWire etc). We had industry/mainstream media coverage. It wasn't a secret. Seven days later Microsoft suddenly announced an app with the same name as ours. Sixty-five days later Google renamed an existing product to the exact same name too. Look, I don't have 7 figures laying around & I'm not wealthy. When I met w/ Google they laughed at me, said they'd bury me with lawyers & gave me their rep's #. They intentionally diluted the brand equity by creating consumer confusion to prevent a dominate market share! Is this an AntiTrust Violation?

Attorney Answers 5

  1. You should be able to find a lawyer here on Avvo or an internet search in the Dallas area. It may take some time because taking on any corporation can be a daunting task. Providing as much detail as possible to your potential attorney will go a long way in helping you get representation.

    Don't forget to check "Helpful" if I helped you out. This response is not intended to create an attorney client relationship and is based on the limited information available at the time of the response. Before acting on anything stated or referenced in this response you should consult with an attorney of your choosing and go over the specific details of your legal circumstances. My responses are also given in the context of the laws of the State of Louisiana. To the extent this comment involves principles of law governed by another state my comment merely reflects my opinion and should not be considered legal advice.

  2. The first thing that needs to happen is a case analysis. This will require an IP lawyer to review all the facts and circumstances to determine what if any claims may be brought. This is something you will likely have to pay for.

    At the end of the day, you are a common law mark holder and the burden will be on you. As an unregistered mark, you can only be protected in your real market area and up to its natural expansion. If you are claiming that your area is the whole of the US this may be very hard or impossible to prove out.

    You may be able to start with a petition to cancel their mark (assuming they have a registered TM at the USPTO) based on your common law prior use. This TTAB proceeding may offer you some advantages. For example, we had a case against TIME, Inc. where they ended up paying our client for rebranding efforts in an effort to preserve their mark.

    I suggest that you reach out to several lawyers here for a free phone consultation and get some specific insights and plan out a best course of action. Finding a lawyer to take on a matter like this on a contingency is next to impossible. There are way too many moving parts and frankly the damages may not be enough to compensate for all the time spent. Just because the defendants are say Google does not mean that you will get a huge award because they have a lot of money.

    Best regards,

    DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.

  3. Visit the Dallas Bar Association web site at the following link to find an attorney:

    If you can convince an intellectual property attorney that you have a legitimate case, the attorney may well take the case on a contingency basis.

    Good luck.

  4. As noted by my colleague, an attorney considering taking on a contingency fee case would have to perform a case analysis. Some will do that analysis for free, some will not. That analysis will take a significant amount of the attorney's time [days] and will require you to provide ALL the relevant information and documentary support -- and to present your dispute objectively. That is, without the biased, emotion-laden conclusion [rather than fact] that "They intentionally diluted the brand equity by creating consumer confusion to prevent a dominate market share!" You can think that, and even your attorney can think that, but what either of you think is irrelevant. What is relevant is what is provable. Do not assume that the attorney who "supports" your position is the best attorney to handle your dispute. You do not need a cheerleader, you need an objective, clear-eyed counselor.

    As for trademark litigation, very, very few cases are handled on a contingency fee basis because the trademark owner who prevails is very often NOT awarded its attorneys' fees to litigate the case. And in your situation, you very likely have suffered little to no provable monetary damages due to the alleged infringement. And, of course, Google and Microsoft will litigate the matter just to drain the contingency fee attorney's resources --- and because that attorney is NOT permitted to withdraw from the case without court approval and that approval will not be granted merely because the case proves more expensive to litigate than expected, very few attorneys will even consider taking this case. Even if you have a decent argument in your favor.

    So ... gather your documentary evidence and draft an objective, fact-supported chronicle of the dispute and then track down through Avvo and other internet searchs attorneys who have experience in trademark litigation and who take cases on contingency. Then you need to dispassionately present your dispute. Good luck.

    The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

  5. Frankly, this sounds like a losing proposition. Google can bury you with lawyers unless you have a lawyer equal to their lawyer, and then the tables turn and Google has to defend a suit and will likely want to settle if it can be done for less than defending. MS likewise. The trick will be to get a lawyer that can take on these two powerhouses in Texas, most likely the Eastern District of Texas. If all is as you say, you might well have a case. Certainly you have deep pocket defendants. If you have something from Google in writing saying they will bury you, that would be precious and potent.

    There are many of us who take contingent fee cases, but these are formidable opponents so it would need to be a slam dunk case for most contingent fee lawyers to consider it. The damages would have to be huge. My guess is you have insufficient damages to reach the threshold, which is likely about $10,000,000 bucks. If you do, lots of us will look at this twice before declining.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

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