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Cooper named Court Appointed Special Advocates board member

Phillips Murrah Patent Attorney Cody J. Cooper

Cody Cooper is a Patent Attorney in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

Attorney Cody J. Cooper has joined the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Oklahoma County as a member of the Board of Directors.

“As a director, I’ll being involved in helping CASA continue the success it is has experienced in serving Oklahoma County at-risk youth while helping to build off those prior successes to expand CASA’s operations and be able to help even more people,” he said. “This is an opportunity for me to be directly involved in a high community impact organization that provides an amazing services to those most vulnerable in our state.”

CASA provides a trained caring adult to advocate for the best interest of children who have been removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. Volunteers with CASA get to know these children and communicate with all parties in their case and people in the child’s life in order to provide complete information and sound recommendations to the court.

As “the eyes and ears” of the judge, the CASA volunteer offers a neutral, third-party opinion to the court, one that is unbiased and child-focused.

To learn more about CASA of Oklahoma County and volunteer opportunities, click here.

Firm provides for Oklahoma Family Network for holidays

Gifts provided to families for 2018 holiday season through Oklahoma Family Network

Gifts provided to families for 2018 holiday season through Oklahoma Family Network

Attorneys at Phillips Murrah wrapped up the holiday season by collecting donations for the Oklahoma Family Network. The firm raised $6,000 for the 2018 holiday season.

“The Firm’s Holiday Family project is one of my favorite Christmas season projects,” Attorney and co-coordinator Monica Y. Ybarra said. “The excitement that is generated among our Phillips Murrah family about helping these special Oklahoma families is contagious and truly embodies the spirit of the season.

“I love being a part of organizing this project every year, and I’m always blown away by the generosity of our firm and our employees.”

The Oklahoma Family Network serves families whose members are critically ill or have other health issues or disabilities. Phillips Murrah raises funds to buy gifts for families and provide funds to OFN for emergency medical bills, food shopping, utility payments and other basic needs each year.

“Every year, this is an opportunity for the firm and its employees to share joy and holiday spirit with families who might not otherwise be able to celebrate the seasons,” Attorney and co-coordinator Cody J. Cooper said. “It’s a chance for Phillips Murrah to help families in need by donating gifts to them and helping them have a happy holidays while also easing some of the burdens that accompany this time of year.”

To make a donation to Oklahoma Family Network or learn more about their mission, click here.

Monkey’s business?

Gavel to Gavel appears in The Journal Record. This column was originally published in The Journal Record on June 21, 2018.


Cody Cooper

Cody Cooper is a Patent Attorney in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

By Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper

In 2011, a nature photographer in an Indonesian nature reserve left his camera unattended in the forest. A 7-year-old crested macaque monkey named Naruto, perhaps in an effort to increase its Instagram followers, decided to take several selfies using the camera. The photographer then, in 2014, published the monkey’s photographs in a book for sale online.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued as next friend of Naruto seeking to enforce Naruto’s copyrights to the photographs and to recover profits from the sale of the book.

The question became whether Naruto had statutory standing to claim copyright infringement on what became referred to as Monkey Selfies. According to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the answer is no.

Humans, unlike monkeys, have a constitutional right to protect their works and inventions under Clause 8 of Section 8 contained within Article I of the Constitution, and those rights are further set out in the United States Copyright Act. These rights include the right to use, distribute, sell, duplicate, display and create derivative works. These rights are most commonly associated with books, magazines, plays, paintings and photographs, but can also apply to things like architecture and even graffiti.

The 9th Circuit, in Naruto, et al., v. Slater, et al., No. 16-15469 (9th Cir. April 23, 2018) affirmed the trial court’s ruling that, despite the fact that the monkey had standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution, Naruto did not have standing under the Copyright Act to bring the lawsuit. In other words, monkeys (or any other animal) cannot bring copyright infringement claims because the Copyright Act does not expressly authorize it. So, Naruto’s case was dismissed.

Citing Cetacean Cmty. v. Bush, 386 F.3d 1169, 1175 (9th Cir. 2004) as precedent, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held that “if an Act of Congress plainly states that animals have statutory standing, then animals have statutory standing. If the statute does not so plainly state, then animals do not have statutory standing.”

If Naruto teaches nothing else, it should be to remember that if you see your pet attempting to take a selfie with an abandoned camera, be sure to take the picture yourself, in case it becomes famous. Someone will be making money on it, and it might as well be you.

Cody J. Cooper is a patent attorney with the Oklahoma City law firm of Phillips Murrah.

Phillips Murrah attorneys selected as 2017 Super Lawyers

Phillips Murrah P.C._Logo_Color_emblemTwenty Phillips Murrah Attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers for their excellence in their respective practice areas. Seven attorneys of them under the age of 40 were recognized as Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Using the same patented process for selecting Super Lawyers, Rising Stars recognizes up and coming lawyers who are 40 years old or younger and have been in practice for 10 years or less.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2017’s Super Lawyers:

Directors G. Calvin Sharpe and Lyndon W. Whitmire were among the Top 50 Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017. Directors Shannon K. Emmons and Sally A. Hasenfratz were listed on the Top 25 Women Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2017’s Oklahoma Rising Stars:

Attorney Cody Cooper elected Chair of OCBA Young Lawyers Division

Cody Cooper is an associate in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper will begin his term as Chair of the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s (OCBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD) this September after being elected last year.

“Our focus is to keep young bar members engaged and perform community service,” Cody said. “My role will be to head the organization for the year, provide direction, and continue the success that we’ve had.”

The YLD is a division of OCBA for attorneys who have been in practice for 10 years or less. Cody has served on the YLD Board or Directors for four years.

“Cody will do a fabulous job as Chair of the Young Lawyers Division,” said Fred A. Leibrock, Phillips Murrah Director. “He is a natural leader and motivator who excels at helping groups set and achieve lofty goals, and I anticipate many more great things to come from the Division under his chairmanship.

“All of his colleagues at Phillips Murrah are proud of his election and we look forward to supporting him every way we can to make his tenure a great success.”

The YLD has several big events throughout the year, with the primary fundraising effort being for the Harvest Food Drive to benefit the Oklahoma Food Bank.

“We do several community service projects throughout the year, including a bowling tournament and typically a project involving renovating a school room or community center,” Cody said. “We’ve renovated schools in Oklahoma City in the past and recently did one for Salvation Army.”

In addition to this election, Cody recently received his patent license to officially serve as a Patent Attorney.

Learn more about the Oklahoma County Bar Association here.

Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody Cooper earns patent license

Cody Cooper is an associate in the Intellectual Property Practice Group and represents individuals and companies in a wide range of intellectual property, patent, trademark and copyright matters. His practice also includes commercial litigation.

Merging work life with personal interests is a tough feat to accomplish, but in 2015, Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper set in motion a two-year journey to make that a reality.

“I’ve always enjoyed science and looking at things to figure out how they work, and Intellectual Property is a great fit for that interest,” Cody said. “I like the idea of working hand-in-hand with inventors to help them along with the process, with the end goal of getting them a patent on their unique idea.

Intellectual Property is a perfect blend of law, science and entrepreneurship that perfectly aligns with my personal interests and passions.”

With this motivation in mind, Cody began the process of obtaining a license to become an official Patent Attorney.

“Everyone on the planet has had an idea at some point in their lives,” said Martin G. Ozinga, Of Counsel Attorney and Chair of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group. “There aren’t many practicing Patent Attorneys in Oklahoma, but there are plenty of folks who need one.”

Aside from personal gain, the designation of a Patent Attorney offers credibility and security for clients which isn’t afforded to those seeking patents on their own accord. However, the process for obtaining a patent license can be demanding, especially with a full-time legal workload.

In order to sit for the Patent Bar, candidates must have a scientific or technological background, typically in the form of an undergraduate degree in a science or engineering field, in addition to securing a law degree.

“I had accumulated undergraduate credits in chemical engineering, but I was short by 13 hours,” Cody said. “When I knew I wanted to pursue getting my patent license, I looked at the University of Central Oklahoma’s enrollment requirements and their course catalog to find classes that I could attend in the evenings after work.”

Because it had been several years since he took engineering courses in college, Cody tried to find a line of classes that qualified but from which he could start at the beginning. The best courses that worked for this were biology courses, he said.

Over the course of three semesters, Cody took four evening biology classes at UCO: biology, biology lab, microbiology and human anatomy with cadavers.

“During school, I had class two to three nights per week, and classes lasted two to three hours each night,” he said. “I also had homework, quizzes, tests and finals as part of these courses.”

Much like the standard college experience, he was in class with undergraduate students and had homework, regular tests and finals.

“When I was completing my third semester, I went to San Francisco and took a Patent Bar study course. The course was essentially a full-week course put on by the Practising Law Institute,” Cody said. “After I finished my last semester, I applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to take the Patent Bar and proceeded to take the exam.”

Cody spent a several hours most nights and weekends studying for the two months leading up to taking the Patent Bar. He passed on his first attempt, and as of July 2017 has officially obtained his Patent License and the ability to practice as a Patent Attorney.

Learn more about Phillips Murrah’s Patent, Copyright and Trademark Practice Group by visiting the Intellectual Property Practice Area page here.

Judge orders plaintiff to produce Facebook file

Gavel to Gavel appears in The Journal Record. This column was originally published in The Journal Record on June 23, 2016.


Cody J. Cooper is an attorney whose practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, product liability, and intellectual property.

By Phillips Murrah Attorney Cody J. Cooper

The prevalence of social media continues to change litigation practices. As the availability of data about individuals related to social media continues to increase, so do the requests by opposing parties for this information. This necessarily requires analysis by the courts.

In an April order, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri wrestled with this very issue when it ordered a plaintiff to provide the defendant with her “Download Your Info” report from Facebook. See Rhone v. Schneider Nat’l Carriers, Inc., et al., No. 15-cv-01096 (E.D. Mo. 2015).

That lawsuit arose from a car accident and the plaintiff claimed severe, permanent and progressive physical and mental injuries that affected her lifestyle and ability to work.

During discovery, the defendant requested all of the plaintiff’s social media posts made since the date of the accident. The plaintiff simply responded “none.” The defendant then conducted an independent investigation and discovered substantial activity on the plaintiff’s Facebook profile, including posts about dancing and socializing. The defendant contended this was directly relevant to the plaintiff’s injuries.

The parties failed to reach an agreement on production of the information, so the defendant filed a motion to compel plaintiff to produce her Facebook data file. The court found that the plaintiff had failed to comply with her discovery obligations and ordered the plaintiff to download and produce to the defendant the Facebook data file, which includes all active posts, photos, videos and check-ins. The defendant claimed information had already been deleted and requested sanctions against the plaintiff, but the court decided to wait to determine whether the data file would show the alleged deleted information.

The case is still active, and it demonstrates the continued developing trend on treatment of social media. Particularly in case of personal injuries, but even in purely business disputes, postings by either party can become relevant and will likely be subject to discovery; efforts to delete or hide this information will typically result in severe penalties.

If you want to download your Facebook data file, go to settings, then the general tab, and click the link on the bottom – “Download a copy of your Facebook data” – and follow the instructions.

Phillips Murrah attorneys judge Calvert Moot Court competition

Attorneys Robert Campbell, Cody Cooper, and Kayce Gisinger volunteer to judge OU College of Law’s Calvert Moot Court competition.

Phillips Murrah attorneys Robert Campbell, Cody Cooper, and Kayce Gisinger are flipping the script by judging in the University of Oklahoma College of Law’s Calvert Moot Court competition this week.

During the annual competition, second and third year law students compete as teams against one another in a series of rounds and those with the best records advance to the finals. Each attorney volunteered to act as a judge for preliminary rounds of competition.

“The students did an excellent job and their hard work and preparation definitely showed through their presentation and analysis of complex constitutional issues,” Cooper said. “I really enjoy getting to go back to the school and volunteer to help the law students because it is an opportunity to help students develop and also lets me take an objective look at what presentation methods are persuasive and effective so that I can carry those observations over into my own practice.”

This year the competition revolves around the case of Kansas v. Carr, No. 14-450, pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The arguments are centered around the appropriate weight given to mitigating circumstances in a capital sentencing, said Leann Farha, a student at OU College of Law who helped organize the teams for the competition.

“One of the most valuable aspects of a competition is the participation of the judges,” she said. “The judges in each round provide feedback that will not only help students during the competition, but will also impact their future legal careers.”

The prizes are as follows: $500 each for the winning team, $250 each for the first runner-up, and $100 for the best individual speaker, said Mitch McGrew, External Relations Director for the Board of Advocates at OU College of Law.

The final round of the competition will take place at noon on Friday, October 30 in OU’s Bell Courtroom for those interested in attending.

To follow along and get more information about the competition, visit the OU Board of Advocates Facebook page here or follow them on Twitter here.

 

 

Attorney Cody Cooper accepted to OBA Leadership Academy

Cody_Cooper

Cody J. Cooper represents individuals and companies in a wide range of civil litigation matters. His practice concentrates on commercial litigation, intellectual property and labor and employment law.

The Oklahoma Bar Association (OBA) selected Attorney Cody Cooper as one of 22 emerging leaders in Oklahoma’s legal community to be members of the Oklahoma Bar Association Leadership Academy Class of 2016.

Participants have been selected from a pool of applicants spanning the state and will receive training in leadership, motivation and communication.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity to become more involved in the OBA, in general,” Cooper said. “I also see it as a good opportunity for personal growth, to expand my own knowledge and experience, and gain valuable leadership knowledge and skills.”

Originating from OBA’s Leadership Conference in 2007, the academy is aimed at developing the future leaders of the OBA by giving Oklahoma attorneys training in the core principles of effective leadership and how to communicate, motivate and succeed in their legal careers and as community leaders.

Fred Leibrock copy

Fred A. Leibrock is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried dozens of jury trials and has served as lead counsel in a number of significant cases involving complex, multi-jurisdiction issues.

“Almost all lawyers I know generously volunteer, serve and give of themselves,” Phillips Murrah Director Fred Leibrock said. “The OBA Leadership Academy helps train lawyers to sharpen their skills as community leaders. The Academy provides a great service not just to the Bar Association, but also to the communities in which Academy members live and practice. Cody Cooper is a brilliant young lawyer who has a servant’s heart.  He’s a perfect fit with the Academy’s goal of preparing those who want to serve our profession, our bar and our state.”

The OBA Leadership Academy will include five sessions, the first of which is set for September 2015 and the academy will conclude with its fifth and final session in April 2016.

The first session in September will kick off the first half of the academy with Herb Rubenstein, nationally known for his course work and book on Leadership for Lawyers.

“They will get an inside look at what we do here in our administrative offices and about the various ways they can serve,” said Susan Krug, OBA Director of Educational Programs. “They will participate in the OBA Annual Meeting where they will learn more about the workings of the Bar Association, the Board of Governors, Committees, Divisions and Departments.

“They will hear from a panel of lawyers that were in previous leadership academies and learn about special projects sponsored by the Young Lawyers Division, Law Day, Oklahoma Lawyers for America’s Heroes and opportunities within the ABA.”

The second half of the academy focuses more on leadership in action at the state, court and community level, ethics, the importance of selecting an independent judiciary, and servant leadership/diversity and community and life balance, Krug said.

“Being a lawyer is a calling that carries with it obligations that transcend the mere delivery of services,” OBA President David Poarch said in a press release about the 2016 class selection. “The Oklahoma Bar Association’s Leadership Academy prepares those who want to serve our profession, our bar and our state by providing them with tools to help them better communicate, motivate and succeed.”

There will be a graduation ceremony in April where academy graduates will hear from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Reif, the 2016 President of the Board of Governors, Garvin Isaacs and Mike Turpen. The 2015-2016 group will be the sixth class to graduate from the academy.

Tort reform shows how Oklahoma product liability law evolves

This Gavel to Gavel guest column, originally published in The Journal Record on June 4, 2015, contains insights by Phillips Murrah attorney Cody Cooper concerning Oklahoma Product Liability Law. Cody Cooper contributed to “An Overview of Oklahoma Product Liability Law,” co-authored by Phillips Murrah Directors Tom Wolfe and Lyndon Whitmire for the April 2015 edition of the Oklahoma Bar Journal.
View Cody Cooper’s attorney profile here.


Cody J. Cooper is an associate attorney with Phillips Murrah whose practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, product liability, and intellectual property.

Cody J. Cooper is an attorney with Phillips Murrah whose practice is concentrated in commercial litigation, product liability, and intellectual property.

Exploding gas cans, scolding-hot coffee, misfiring rifles, popping exercise balls and sticking gas pedals. What do these things have in common? Each of these products was the center of some of the most memorable product liability lawsuits.

Since Kirkland v. General Motors, the Oklahoma Supreme Court has recognized product liability claims and the law has continued to grow and evolve.

For simplicity’s sake, law develops primarily in two ways: the Oklahoma Legislature enacts statutes and case law is developed from courts’ opinions applying those statutes.

The Oklahoma Legislature creates the statutes by which claims and parties are governed and this has an obvious, direct impact in Oklahoma product liability actions.

Oklahoma courts then interpret these statutes and apply them in product liability lawsuits. The courts’ decisions provide guiding authority on issues and allow parties to understand how laws will be applied in the future.

Both play critical roles, but can lead to conflict over how the law will ultimately operate. Such is the case currently with tort reform. In the past few years, wide-ranging legislative changes have caused conflict and consternation at the Capitol and in the courtroom.

Tort reform statutes have had widespread implications in product liability lawsuits, including caps on potential recoverable damages, providing substantial protection for product sellers, requiring plaintiffs to provide medical records, and shielding manufacturers from claims regarding inherently unsafe products.

In 2009, the Oklahoma Legislature passed House Bill 2818 (the 2009 Act), followed by a 2011 statute amending many parts of the 2009 Act. In 2013, several individual cases held tort reform unconstitutional, which led to the Oklahoma Supreme Court striking the entire act as being unconstitutional for violation of the single-subject rule that requires that laws only address a single subject – to prevent logrolling. Later that year, the Oklahoma Legislature through a special session, modified and revived many of the laws struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and enacted new ones.

The clash between legislators and Oklahoma courts make it difficult for parties to understand what the future holds for product liability law in Oklahoma. The only certainty is that the law will continue to evolve.