Robert W. Unikel is a Partner in the Intellectual Property Department with a diverse practice that includes litigating patent, trade secrets and trademark cases in a variety of industries, including consumer products and brands, financial products and services, and medical devices. Rob was recently recognized as an “IP Star” by Managing IP Handbook 2013.
Rob’s extensive experience includes trying patent and trade secret cases involving such varied products as thin film transistors, LCD panels, vascular stents, compiling computer software, office products, baby strollers, minicell vaccines, anti-aging cosmetics and casement window operators, and such diverse business methods as a method for implementing consumer rewards programs, a method for configuring products through an electronic interface, and a method for automatically executing securities and derivatives trades. Additionally, Rob has unique experience in successfully defending against claims of false patent marking under 35 U.S.C. §292. He has managed disputes involving various well-known trademarks and has litigated numerous trade dress matters implicating product and packaging designs and non-traditional source indicators (including color and scent).
Rob has handled appeals to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and to the United States Supreme Court. Further, he regularly counsels businesses and individuals on intellectual property development, protection, and licensing strategies.
In addition to speaking frequently on issues relating to intellectual property litigation, Rob is the author of “Protecting Inventors, Not Fortune-Tellers: The Availability of Patent Protection for After-Developed Technologies,” 84 American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal 81; “Better by Design: The Availability of Trade Dress Protection for Product Design and the Demise of Aesthetic Functionality,” 85 Trademark Reporter 312; and “Bridging the Trade Secret Gap: Protecting Confidential Information Not Rising to the Level of ‘Trade Secrets,’” 29 Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal 841, each of which has been cited extensively by courts and commentators. Rob recently became a member of the prestigious Sedona Conference’s Working Group 10 on Patent Litigation Best Practices (WG10). WG10 will develop best practices and recommendations for patent litigation case management in the post-America Invents Act environment.
- Edge Capture v. Wolverine Trading Systems LLC: Representing Wolverine in a patent infringement/invalidity action relating to a claimed method for automatically executing securities and derivatives trades.
- Pequignot v. Solo Cup Co.: Represented Solo in successful defense of precedent-setting qui tam action for alleged false patent marking of products under 35 U.S.C. §292.
- Trading Technologies International, Inc. v. OptionsXpress Holdings, Inc.: Representing OptionsXpress in an infringement/invalidity action relating to patents claiming various electronic trading systems and methods.
- OptionMonster Holdings, Inc. v. Tavant Technologies, Inc.: Representing OptionMonster in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract action relating to development of electronic retail trading platforms.
- Avery Dennison Corp. v. Continental Datalabel, Inc.: Representing Avery Dennison in patent infringement/invalidity actions relating to self-adhesive label assemblies.
- Vaxxion Therapeutics v. Foley & Lardner LLP: Represented Foley against allegations that it acted negligently and in breach of a fiduciary duty by missing an international filing deadline for a patent application claiming certain medical uses of minicell technology.
- Taurus IP, LLC v. Ford Motor Company, Volvo Cars of North America, Inc. & Mazda Motor of America, Inc.: Represented Ford Motor Company, Volvo Cars of North America and Mazda Motor of America in a patent infringement/invalidity and breach of contract action relating to methods for configuring vehicles through Internet/electronic interface.
- Semiconductor Energy Laboratory v. Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp. & Westinghouse Digital Corp.: Represented CMO in a patent infringement/invalidity matter involving thin-film transistor and LCD panel technology.
- Tristrata Technologies, Inc. v. Mary Kay: Represented Tristrata in a patent infringement/invalidity case involving use of alphahydroxy acids in anti-aging skin products.
- VLIW, LLC v. Hewlett-Packard, Inc. & STMicroelectronics, Inc.: Represented VLIW in a trade secret misappropriation case involving proprietary computer compiler software and related technology.
- Source, Inc. v. Rewards Networks, Inc.: Represented Rewards Networks in a patent infringement/invalidity case involving methods for structuring and implementing consumer loyalty/rewards programs.
- Cook, Inc. v. Target Therapeutics, Inc.: Represented Cook in a patent infringement/invalidity case involving embolization coils.
- Cook, Inc. v. Medtronic, Inc. (2000–2004); Cook, Inc. v. Cordis: Represented Cook in patent infringement/invalidity cases involving stent and stent-graft technology.
- Ashland Products, Inc. v. Truth Hardware Corp.: Represented Ashland Products in a patent infringement/invalidity and inequitable conduct case involving casement window hardware.
- U.S. Surgical Corp. v. Ethicon Endosurgery: Patent infringement/invalidity case involving trocar technology.