Posts

Phillips Murrah announces 48 attorneys named to 2020 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 48 of our attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 list in Oklahoma City.

2020 Best Lawyers – Lawyers of the Year

Douglas A. Branch – Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Susan E. Bryant – Securities Regulation

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Land Use and Zoning Law

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

 

The Best Lawyers in America 2020

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Finance Law; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Real Estate Law; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Susan E. Bryant – Securities Regulation

John M. Bunting – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law

Catherine L. Campbell – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Labor and Employment

A. Michelle Campney – Commercial Litigation

Michael D. Carter – Labor Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment; Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Rodney L. Cook – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law

Cody J. Cooper – Commercial Litigation

Bobby Dolatabadi – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Jason A. Dunn – Commercial Litigation

Joshua L. Edwards – Real Estate Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law; Family Law Arbitration

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law

Mark E. Golman – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Lauren Barghols Hanna – Employment Law – Management; Litigation – Labor and Employment; Water Law

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Patrick L. Hullum – Commercial Litigation

Clayton D. Ketter – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation; Financial Services Regulation Law

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Byrona J. Maule – Litigation – Labor and Employment

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Banking and Finance Law; Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Financial Services Regulation Law; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice; Real Estate Law

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law; Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation; Information Technology Law; Technology Law

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law; Financial Services Regulation Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Insurance Law; Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

D. Craig Story – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Amy D. White – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Oil and Gas Law; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah announces 44 attorneys named to 2019 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 44 of our attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 list in Oklahoma City.

2019 Best Lawyers – Lawyers of the Year

Douglas A. Branch – Venture Capital Law

Susan E. Bryant – Securities Regulation

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Natural Resources Law

Thomas G. Wolfe – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

 

The Best Lawyers in America 2019

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Susan E. Bryant – Securities Regulation

John M. Bunting – Insurance Law

Catherine L. Campbell – Commercial Litigation

Michael D. Carter – Labor Law – Management; Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Rodney L. Cook – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law

Bobby Dolatabadi – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Jason A. Dunn – Commercial Litigation

Joshua L. Edwards – Real Estate Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Mark E. Golman – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Patrick L. Hullum – Commercial Litigation

Clayton D. Ketter – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Banking and Finance Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice; Real Estate Law

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation; Technology Law

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

D. Craig Story – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Amy D. White – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Oil and Gas Law; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah announces 37 attorneys named to 2018 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 37 of our attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 list in Oklahoma City.

The Best Lawyers in America 2018

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Rodney L. Cook – Insurance Law

Bobby Dolatabadi – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Jason A. Dunn – Commercial Litigation

Joshua L. Edwards – Real Estate Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Management; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Banking and Finance Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Corporate Law

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah announces 35 attorneys named to 2017 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 35 of our attorneys have been named to the 2017 Best Lawyers® list and seven of our attorneys are recognized as Best Lawyers – Lawyer of the Year in Oklahoma City.

2017 Best Lawyers – Lawyers of the Year

Douglas A. Branch – Venture Capital Law

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Shannon K. Emmons – Employment Law – Individuals

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Construction Law

Fred A. Leibrock – Litigation – Antitrust

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

2017 Best Lawyers

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Bobby Dolatabadi – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

John D. Hastie – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah announces 35 attorneys named to 2016 Best Lawyers list

Best Lawyers

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 35 of our attorneys have been named to the 2016 Best Lawyers® list and three of our attorneys are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016 in Oklahoma City.

 

The Best Lawyers in America 2016

Stephen W. Elliott – Litigation – Bankruptcy

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Land Use and Zoning Law

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

 

2016 Best Lawyers

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Bobby Dolatabadi – Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Thomas Elder Jr. – Commercial Litigation

Stephen W. Elliott – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

John D. Hastie – Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

 

 

Phillips Murrah sponsors 2014 i2E Brewfest

From left: Martin G. Ozinga and Douglas A. Branch

 

OKLAHOMA CITY – More than a dozen beer brewers and suppliers showcased their products at i2E’s (Innovation to Enterprise) third annual OKBio BrewFest on Nov. 6 at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“Every year Brewfest gives us a unique opportunity to connect with leaders in the Oklahoma bioscience and technology communities in an enjoyable, casual setting,” said Douglas A. Branch, director at Phillips Murrah. “I’m proud that our Firm is able to sponsor this event and foster these relationships.”

Patrons at Brewfest were treated to selections from Prairie Wolf Spirits, Put a Cork in It Bricktown Winery, TapWerks, Scissortail Distilling, and many others.

Other event sponsors include Hall Estill, Foundation HealthCare, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, Caisson Biotech, Hit LLC, Crowe & Dunlevy, VWR International, Oklahoma Gazette, McAfee & Taft, Cole & Reed P.C., Dunlap Codding, and Woodland & Associates.

See this story about at newsok.com.

Supreme Court case could halt resale market

The Oklahoman Logo

If an appellate court ruling is upheld, it would challenge the first-sale doctrine, which gives copyright holders control over only the first sale.

BY JENNIFER PALMER | October 18, 2012

If you’ve ever sold an old iPhone or made money off outgrown children’s clothes, you’re not alone. It’s legal, and quite common, because of the first-sale doctrine in copyright law, which gives the copyright holder control of the first sale only.

But there’s concern that a Supreme Court case under consideration later this month challenges that doctrine. If the court upholds an appellate court ruling in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons Inc., it could end consumers’ ability to sell items made overseas without the original copyright holder’s permission. In the case of the iPhone, that means first asking Apple if you can sell your old phone. And the company would probably want a cut from the sale.

A few publications have written about the case, including The Wall Street Journal, but it’s not widely known. However, the impact of the ruling would be far-reaching and has the potential to put a dent in the business of reselling sites such as Craigslist and eBay.

Legal experts say it’s not likely the Supreme Court will agree with the lower court’s ruling, but it does raise issues. Museums and libraries have taken interest in the case because of the implications it could have on foreign books and art.

Sarah Burstein, associate professor of law at the University of Oklahoma, says she’d be surprised if the Supreme Court upholds the ruling in its entirety.

David Sullivan, director with Crowe & Dunlevy, agreed, adding that the scope of the ruling is limited.

“The outcome of the case may impact the ability to import and resell books, music and other products that are protected under copyright law,” he said. “Although many other products incorporate copyrighted material, the case is not likely to have significant ramifications on the importation and resale of products that are not somehow protected by copyright.”

The case, according to The Wall Street Journal, stems from Thailand native Supap Kirtsaeng’s experience in college.

He came to America in 1997 to attend Cornell University and discovered his textbooks were much cheaper to buy in Thailand than in New York. So he had his relatives buy the books, ship to him and he resold them on eBay, making upward of $1.2 million.

Textbook maker John Wiley & Sons sued for copyright infringement and Kirtsaeng countered with the first-sale doctrine. Arguments in the case are scheduled for Oct. 29.

Martin Ozinga, a patent attorney at the firm Phillips Murrah, says the issue the Supreme Court is more likely to examine is whether the textbooks were purchased legally in Thailand. If they were, Ozinga argues he should have the right to sell the books and make a profit.

The case raises questions like these, according to the American Bar Association: can a foreign-made product never be resold in the U.S. without copyright owner’s permission? Can a foreign-made product sometimes be resold in the U.S. without permission, but only after the owner approves an earlier sale in this country? Or can a foreign-made product always be resold without permission in the U.S., as long as the copyright owner authorized the first sale abroad? We’ll see.

Groups clash due to names

Nonprofit agriculture organizations clash over name

By Brian Brus February 27, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma agriculture-supporting organization is being sued over the acronym part of its name – FARM, or Farming and Ranching Matters, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court this week.

The nonprofit Oklahoma FARM Foundation is infringing on the trademark identity of the Illinois-based Farm Foundation, which is also a nonprofit organization that helps the industry, according to the lawsuit. As they both compete for providing educational, charitable and scientific programs, agriculture research and policy reports in Oklahoma, the Farm Foundation wants the FARM Foundation to stop using the name.

The Farm Foundation has been using the name since 1933 in connection with its services, the plaintiff’s attorney Martin Ozinga said. The mark is nationally recognized for its public charity work toward fostering deeper understanding of issues shaping the future of agriculture, food systems and rural areas. The organization also provides information on economic and public policy issues through conferences, workshops and forums. The plaintiff is led by a board of directors with six members from different states.

“Plaintiff’s Farm Foundation mark, by virtue of its substantial use, has acquired great value as an identification of plaintiff’s goods and services, and has become famous to consumers as identifying those goods and services,” according to the lawsuit.

The FARM Foundation, on the other hand, was just launched in June last year by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau to promote awareness about agriculture and the food industry through research and educational programs in the state and on the Internet. The plaintiff became aware of the alleged infringement in July, and officials asked the FARM Foundation to change its mark.

“Defendant responded, disputing that confusion would or could occur between the parties and their respective claimed marks,” according to the lawsuit.

However, by the end of the year, it was apparent that the groups’ goods and services “significantly overlapped,” according to the lawsuit. The groups’ online domain addresses are similar as well – www.FarmFoundation.org and www.OKFARMFoundation.org – leading to misdirection when people use search engines.

FARM Foundation officials would not speak to the lawsuit, other than to release a prepared statement from FARM Foundation President Tom Buchanan through attorney Marc Brockhaus at the Dunlap Codding law firm in Oklahoma City:

“It is our policy to not discuss any ongoing litigation in any public forum,” Buchanan said. “However, we do take pride in the efforts and the mission of the Oklahoma FARM (Farming and Ranching Matters) Foundation and look forward to continuing our work to support this important organization.”

The Farm Foundation is not seeking financial damages, said Ozinga, a lawyer with the Phillips Murrah firm in Oklahoma City.

“Hopefully we’ll get this resolved soon and they’ll make some changes to their name,” he said. “If they would just add some distinguishing word between FARM and Foundation, that would probably take care of it. We just want them to avoid the confusion of using our trademark.”

Court decision may help protect design patents

OCTOBER 2, 2008 – The Journal Record interviews intellectual property attorney Martin Ozinga for expert insight into the impact a recent federal appeals court decision that may make it easier to protect design patents from infringement.

Court decision may help protect design patents

Marie Price, Enterprise Reporter, The Journal Record

OCTOBER 2, 2008 – Believe it or not, a federal appeals court decision involving something as mundane as a fingernail buffer may make it easier to protect design patents from infringement.

Oklahoma City attorney Martin Ozinga said it is difficult, with design patents, to prove the usual patent factors of newness and non-obvious improvement over what others have done previously.

“It becomes more of a visual approach over a legal, written description approach,” he said of a recent decision out of a federal circuit court.

Design patents cover what a product’s ornamental features look like, not its functionality.

Think of the distinctive shape of a Coca-Cola bottle versus its Pepsi and Dr Pepper rivals.

In 1871, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Gorham decision adopted an “ordinary observer” test for deciding whether a design patent has been infringed. Gorham involved a design patent for tablespoon and fork handles.

“They tried to come up with a way to talk about how you can tell how two things look differently, in order to decide whether someone should get a patent, and whether someone is infringing on a design patent,” said Ozinga, head of the intellectual property department of the Phillips Murrah law firm.

Ozinga said the new Egyptian Goddess v. Swisa decision “is going to make it easier for people who have patents to defend them.”

The unanimous decision out of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit moves away from a verbal approach to design patents – the separate “point of novelty” test that requires explaining differences – to a more visual method.

“In other words, you can look at it and give it more of an eyeball test, than trying to put something in words to describe what you’re looking at,” Ozinga said.

As an example, he said, a person looking at two soda bottles can easily see that they are different, but explaining those differences through words can be more difficult.

In previous decisions, courts used the point-of-novelty test to determine whether an “accused device” appropriated the novel features of a patented device that distinguish it from previous designs.

In its decision, the federal circuit court said the point-of-novelty test has proven difficult to apply in situations where a claimed design has numerous features that can be considered novel, or where a design consists of a combination of features, each of which could be found in one or more prior-art designs.

The court used the Eqyptian Goddess case to reject point-of-novelty as a separate test, but stopped short of saying that differences between a claimed design and prior-art designs are irrelevant.

“[T]he comparison of the designs, including the examination of any novel features, must be conducted as part of the ordinary observer test, not as part of a separate test focusing on particular points of novelty that are designated only in the court of litigation,” the court said, holding that the ordinary observer test should be “the sole test for determining whether a design patent has been infringed.”

Ozinga Welcomes Litigation, Helps Intellectual Property Clients

Martin G. Ozinga, Intellectual Property and Patent Attorney, was featured in The Daily Oklahoman, for helping his clients, the owners of “Girls Gone Wine,” a woman-operated winery in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. The suit, brought against Girls Gone Wine by Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis, has already been to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which declared, “There’s no issue here. They can co-exist.”