I have a passion and enthusiasm for innovation that stem from my upbringing. Dinner with scientists from diverse disciplines and discussions about complex scientific topics were a regular part of my life growing up. My dad, who is a world-renowned neuroscientist in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease research, taught me to embrace the unknown; as he says, that is where the biggest opportunity for learning resides. This notion developed in me a love for scientific endeavors and a deep understanding of the creativity, diligence, and dedication it takes to be a world-class scientist.
My introduction to intellectual property law came early in my life, after I was awarded the Grand Prize in a high-school photography contest, for an image of a football player. At the time I was quite proud of this accomplishment, as the image was published in local newspapers and was to be printed on the cover of a book.
Then came the lawyers. The football player in the image sent the book publisher and me a letter from his legal counsel saying that since the picture was of him, he and I should share the proceeds from the prize. The letter also demanded that I assign half the copyright in the image to him and equally share any future proceeds from the image. I was fortunate enough to have a family friend who was an intellectual property litigator, and he helped me resolve the matter. However, the book was ultimately published with a blank cover. The ironically vivid memory of that all-too-blank cover plays a part in what propels me to help the clients I represent today be as proactive as possible in protecting their IP.
As an IP attorney, my practice focuses on implementing proactive measures that help companies with valuable technologies and brands protect those assets by architecting and implementing best practices for securing their intellectual property rights. I have developed a comprehensive approach for managing a company’s intellectual property portfolio that is reflected in my firm’s IP Diagnostic™ process. I enjoy working with clients to identify and fullfill their needs. When the situation calls for it, I assemble and help clients manage the team of people required to diligently ensure that the intellectual property of our client’s organization is adequately protected. When disputes arise, as they sometimes do, I work with clients to help them navigate the situation in a level-headed way that preserves the value of their organization. Here is a representative sample of a select few of the IP-related disputes I've served as lead counsel on:
- CF Inflight, LTD. v Cablecam International, Inc.: Defeated Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin Cablecam from using its innovative above-the-field camera system at the NFL’s Super Bowl.
- CarPad v Auto Care Products: Invalidated the asserted patent, obtained dismissal of unfair competition claims for punitive damages, and prevailed on summary judgment asserting trade dress was purely functional — resulting in a complete dismissal of all of Plaintiff’s claims. Sought and obtained multiple sanctions against Plaintiff.
- Modern Mexican Restaurants v. Maya Lounge: Represented celebrity chef Richard Sandoval in Federal Court action for trademark infringement and obtained a permanent injunction against Defendant along with an award for attorney fees that the Plaintiff incurred in the action.
- Legend Films v West Wing: Represented Plaintiff in multi-jurisdictional patent infringement lawsuit involving Plaintiff’s film-colorization patents. Obtained favorable Markman ruling, enabling Plaintiff to settle the case on favorable terms and to retain control over the market for film-colorization services.
- Nordstrom v. Banana Peel: Represented Defendant Banana Peel in cancellation action initiated by Nordstrom seeking to cancel Defendant’s trademark registration on the alleged basis of fraud. Successfully defeated the cancellation attempt, enabling Defendant’s trademark to stay on the U.S. Trademark Register.
- iPower v Qwest Communications: Represented Internet service provider iPower in action seeking to cancel Defendant’s trademark for the mark PowerWeb. Successfully cancelled Defendant’s trademark, removing it from the U.S. Trademark Register and clearing the way for Plaintiff’s trademark registrations.
My measured approach to building value has proven quite successful, and I’m proud to have helped numerous clients realize the potential value of their intellectual property assets. Throughout my years as an intellectual property attorney, I’ve helped numerous clients sell their companies, attain venture funding, enter into attractive license agreements, and prosecute or defend intellectual property disputes.
Qualifications: Mr. Cotman holds a Juris Doctorate (J.D.) from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, where he was an editor on the IDEA Journal of Law and Technology, The Intellectual Property Law Review. He also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Chapman University’s School of Mathematics and Computer Science as well as a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Chapman University. Mr. Cotman is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of California as well as the U.S. Federal District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of California.