Client Successes

Vanguard Approach to Protect IP Rights in Bankruptcy

Marshall, Gerstein and Borun LLP’s Maureen Beacom Gorman, Julianne M. Hartzell, and Tiffany D. Gehrke are forging new law in a recent intellectual property counterfeiting case. After the team had obtained a multi-million dollar judgment and an injunction, two of the defendants sought discharge of the injunction and financial judgment in bankruptcy court. Finding no published decisions, the team successfully argued that the injunction could not be discharged, analogizing intellectual property injunctions to environmental protection injunctions that prevent further pollution. The team argued that the IP injunctions should be excluded from discharge in bankruptcy because they do not constitute debts. The California bankruptcy court agreed with this novel argument and entered summary judgment in favor of the Firm’s client, ruling that the injunction entered in the district court would be unaffected by the opposing party’s bankruptcy filing and any resulting discharge.

This innovative application of bankruptcy law is Marshall Gerstein’s most recent example of its vanguard approach to intellectual property enforcement. Over 50 years, Marshall Gerstein has had highly regarded experience in complex intellectual property litigation, enjoying a distinguished history before courts, including the United States Supreme Court in the landmark cases Blonder-Tongue Labs, Inc. v. University of Illinois Foundation, establishing the fundamental principle of offensive collateral estoppel, and Walker Process Equipment, Inc. v. Food Machinery & Chemical Corporation, setting forth the basic principles for antitrust liability under the patent laws.

Fierce Advocates

In presenting this gift of Samurai armor to Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, a grateful client explained that he chose the gift because Marshall Gerstein’s team of trial lawyers had “represented him as loyally and fiercely as any Samurai warrior.” Also, he added, he feared he could not have carried an actual Samurai sword through the building security.

Our client, a pioneer in reconstructive surgery, invented a revolutionary device known as a differential tissue expander. This balloon-like device, when implanted beneath the skin and inflated in stages over time, permitted a surgeon to expand a patient’s skin—in fact prompting the body to grow new tissue—for use in reconstructing adjacent wounds or defects. The invention, for the first time, permitted surgeons to tailor this skin expansion to more easily perform truly anatomic surgical reconstructions.

A professor of surgery who had devoted his career to academic medicine, the client faced the deliberate infringement of his patent by one of the largest manufacturers of these silicone devices. Despite relentless assaults by the defendant and its expansive team of attorneys, we did not waver, shrink or give ground. Through such tenacity, we successfully achieved a highly favorable result for the client.

Whether our client is an individual or corporation, patentee or defendant, we approach each engagement with the same commitment, the same fierce dedication, the same tenacity and the same focus and resolve which prompted this particular grateful client to liken us to Samurai warriors.