Overview

Clif is a registered patent attorney and litigator with over 30 years of experience. He helps clients obtain, enforce, and leverage patent and trademark rights and defend against infringement challenges. He also represents clients on trade secret, trade dress, and copyright matters, and provides opinions on intellectual property availability, validity, freedom to operate, and infringement. He litigates patent disputes before the federal courts, the International Trade Commission, and the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board. He litigates trademarks in the federal courts and before the USPTO's Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Clif’s accomplishments and qualifications include:

  • Lead trial and appellate counsel for patent owner Ecolochem, Inc., against Southern California Edison, resulting in precedent-setting Federal Circuit decision on nonobviousness.
  • Represented Fortune 500 life sciences company in one of the first Post-Grant Review (PGR) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.
  • Manager of a National Institutes of Health patent portfolio of over 500 chemistry and biotech applications, counseled on tech transfer.
  • Prosecuted patents in chemical engineering (water treatment) that withstood challenges in U.S. district courts and appeals up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Protects, enforces, and licenses trademarks, including the famous MENSA trademark.
  • Lead patent trial counsel in International Trade Commission 337 patent infringement actions and related civil actions.
  • Chaired the ABA's Intellectual Property Litigation Committee and the Patent, Trademark & Copyright Section of the Bar Association of Washington, DC.
Experience
  • Won eight-figure damages award and $4M in attorneys’ fees as lead trial and appellate counsel for Ecolochem Inc., owner of patented deoxygenation process, after 10-year precedent-setting infringement battle with Fortune 500 Southern California Edison. (C.D. Cal., Fed. Cir.)
  • Negotiated favorable settlement as lead counsel for U.S.-based WesTech Engineering, Inc. in mediation of patent infringement action brought by global water treatment giant Veolia involving rotary disc filters. (E.D.N.C.)
  • Successfully defended the United States' premier office supply retailer as lead counsel in patent infringement action brought by leading office supply manufacturer concerning 3-ring binder mechanisms. (D. Del.)
  • Convinced USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board to institute Post Grant Review of Becton Dickinson’s patent for sepsis diagnosis, representing competitor Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. and its German subsidiary. (USPTO)
  • Lead counsel in defense of large U.S. specialty chemical manufacturer in patent infringement action brought by USALCO, LLC for alleged infringement of its patented process for manufacturing polyaluminum sulfate. (D. Md.)
  • Co-counsel representing major Swedish forensics software provider in trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement action brought by a leading Israeli forensics software competitor. (E.D. Va.)
  • Defended one of the nation’s largest federal credit unions as lead counsel in action brought by TQP Development, in which TQP alleged that client’s website infringed encryption patent. (E.D. Va.)
  • Lead patent trial counsel for distributors of e-cigarettes in two trials before International Trade Commission over alleged infringement of e-cigarette patents brought by JUUL Labs. Favorable settlement reached for clients after presenting opening argument at start of second trial. (USITC)
  • Brought suit and stopped use of “F” in Diamond logo on fasteners by Fullco Industries that conflicted with client FM Approvals LLC’s use of well-known “FM” in Diamond certification mark for loss prevention products.(D.R.I.)
  • Brought suit for trademark infringement and unfair competition as lead counsel on behalf of FM Approvals and parent, worldwide insurer FM Global. Stopped misleading certification claims by nationwide pallet pooling system operator, iGPS. (M.D. Fl.)
  • Negotiated favorable settlement midway through jury trial as lead trial counsel for well-known tool and hardware company, Red Devil, Inc., in trademark and trade dress infringement action brought by Clark Tile over color-coding system for trowels. (N.D. Ill.)
  • Co-trial counsel in patent infringement action by client Benchmark for competitor’s infringement of patent for arcade amusement game. After five-day jury trial, jury found patent valid and infringed, with favorable settlement before damages phase of trial. (S.D. Fla.)
  • Defended one of world’s leading paper shredder manufacturers, Michilin of Taiwan, against infringement charge by inventor of shredder lubrication sheets, instituted inter partes reexamination at USPTO that resulted in cancellation of asserted patent claims and dismissal of lawsuit. (D. Utah)
  • Trial counsel for high-IQ organization American Mensa in trademark dilution action over famous MENSA mark. Defendant British drug development company stopped use of accused mark to avoid appellate review of lower court’s decision on dilution, which lower court vacated after trial. (D. Md.)
  • Won seven figures in awards and settlements as lead trial counsel for Ecolochem in different infringement actions over patented deoxygenation process by competitors Arrowhead Industrial Water and Mobile Water Technology. (N.D. Ill. and E.D. Ark.)
  • Defended Taiwanese chip manufacturer, Powerchip Semiconductor, in suit by Texas Instruments for alleged breach of a patent license and over $150,000,000 in damages. Matter settled on favorable terms after summary judgment briefing was completed. (S.D. N.Y.)
  • Represented large German company, Software AG, in patent infringement action against U.S. competitor BEA Systems, Inc. for infringement of enterprise software patent, resulting in favorable settlement. (D. Del.)
  • Co-counsel for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical in patent infringement action against Barr Laboratories over oral contraceptive, resulting in summary judgment and injunctive relief for client. (D. N.J.)
  • Defended Porex Technologies in patent infringement action against competitor Labcon, Inc. involving pipette tips used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory techniques, resulting in favorable settlement after summary judgment in client’s favor. (N.D. Ga.)
  • Represented Red Devil, Inc. as lead counsel in hearing to determine if client had breached earlier settlement agreement involving competitor Sashco's patent for caulk. Court ruled in client’s favor. (D. Colo.)
  • Patent matters have dealt with a variety of technologies, including: Alloys, autoimmune disease treatment, banking and business methods, catalysis, caulks and sealants, chemical manufacture, coatings, consumer products, cranes, data extraction, data streaming, diagnostics, e-cigarettes, encryption, filtration, fire prevention, green technology, hand and power tools, hardware, laboratory equipment, LEDs, lubricants, measurement and detection instruments, medical devices, metrology, microorganism recovery, mixing equipment, office machines, oil and gas, packaging, pharmaceuticals, plastics, power generation, semiconductors, shipping containers, encryption software, enterprise software, forensics software, storm water treatment, TENS devices, and water and wastewater treatment equipment and processes.
Publications

Representative publications:

Presentations

  • "ETFs and Alts: What's Around the Corner?," Thompson Hine Investment Management Conference, New York, NY, September 2019
  • "Protection of Proprietary Technology throughout the Supply Chain: Patents and Trade Secrets,” GlobalChem 2015, Baltimore, MD, March 2015
  • “Water Projects: Hot Topics in Finance & Innovation," 2014 Sustainable Manufacturer & Water 2.0 Conference, Northern Illinois University, Chicago, IL, May 2014
  • "Intellectual Property Audits: The Purpose, Importance, and Cost," National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, March 2014
  • "Dispute Avoidance and Resolution After the America Invents Act," National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 2012
  • "America Invents Act of 2011: How You Can Use It to Your Company's Advantage," International Water Conference, November 2011
  • "Effective Use of Patents to Raise Capital and Protect R&D," Annual Water Innovations Alliance Conference, September 2011
Distinctions
  • IP Star, Patents, Washington, D.C., Managing Intellectual Property survey, 2012-2021
  • IP Star, Trademarks, Washington, D.C., Managing Intellectual Property survey, 2012-2021
  • Selected to the Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers list, 2012-2021
  • Chairman's Award for protecting MENSA trademark, American Mensa, 2010
  • AV® "Preeminent" Rating by Martindale-Hubbell 1986-2021
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Bar Association of the District of Columbia (past chair, IP Law Section)
  • Bar Association of D.C. Foundation (member, board of trustees);
  • American Bar Association (past chair of Committee 601, Federal IP Litigation, and Patent Claim Interpretation Subcommittee)
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association (member, PTAB Practice Committee)
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Patent Lawyers Club of Washington
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