Robert F. Ware
Rob helps clients anticipate and resolve critical supply chain and distribution problems. He frequently litigates business disputes and negotiates contractual arrangements among manufacturers, suppliers, distributors and customers. He also advises clients regarding avoidance of risk and legal compliance regarding their supply and distribution networks.
Rob has 25 years of experience litigating and arbitrating contract, trade secret, unfair competition, copyright infringement, civil antitrust, false advertising and other complex business cases throughout the United States. While much of his litigation experience involves supply chain and distribution issues, he also has represented financial institutions, construction companies, nonprofits and design professionals, among other clients, in a variety of competition-related matters. Apart from litigation, Rob has assisted manufacturers and other clients regarding domestic and international product distribution and logistics arrangements, competitive issues arising from joint ventures and other collaborations, and licensing and transfers of intellectual property.
Rob is a leader both at Thompson Hine and in the legal profession. He was elected to Thompson Hine’s nine-member Executive Committee in 2012 and is currently serving his second term. Rob also served as president of the Ohio State Bar Association in 2007-2008 and is a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, among many other professional and charitable activities.
- Representation of a European trading company in a complex contract dispute with a United States steel manufacturer relating to a long term agreement for the sale and delivery of foreign-sourced coke. The dispute was resolved prior to litigation through an extended mediation process that addressed numerous technical and financial issues relating to supply terms, product quality and financing issues.
- Representation of diversified United States-based manufacturer in commercial arbitration under the AAA procedures for Large, Complex Commercial Disputes, which involved the termination of a longstanding distribution relationship relating to the supply of OEM and aftermarket hydraulic parts into the aerospace industry. The dispute involved interpretation of contract provisions relating to delivery, quality and payment/commission terms, and presented business risks to the client in connection with several critical product lines and customer relationships. The case was favorably settled prior to the final arbitration hearing.
- Representation of international manufacturer of paint and coatings involving alleged breach of supply agreement and non-competition arrangements with Chinese distributor under ICC rules governing international arbitration. The dispute was ultimately settled after initial discovery and multiple mediation sessions.
- Represented Velcon Filters, LLC (subsidiary of Parker Hannifin Corporation) in a contract dispute involving the sale of a business to Parker and subsequent interference with supply relationships. Velcon Filters, LLC v. Taylor, Case No 1:13-cv-00995 (D. Colo.).
- Lead counsel for Fortune 250 global manufacturer in litigation asserting breach of non-competition agreement by former owners of acquired company.
- Lead defense attorney for a Fortune 500 engineering and construction firm in copyright, trademark and Lanham Act litigation seeking over $40 million in California federal court. Obtained summary judgment on 10 of 11 claims and court order excluding plaintiff's damages expert.
- Representation of a global manufacturer of aerospace components in contract and intellectual property dispute with supplier. Obtained favorable verdict a after five-week jury trial in Ohio federal court.
- Lead defense attorney for an engineering firm in litigation involving claims alleging copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Obtained summary judgment on plaintiff's trade secret claim and favorable settlement after a four-week jury trial in Ohio federal court.
- Lead counsel for global provider of specialized polymer materials in non-competition litigation against former engineer.
- Representation of defendant in Lanham Act false advertising litigation filed in New Jersey federal court. Successfully defended preliminary injunction motion; outcome affirmed on appeal to Third Circuit.
- Representation of leading national architectural design firm in copyright infringement litigation filed in Missouri federal court.
- Obtained preliminary injunction in federal court litigation involving misappropriation of trade secrets by national accounting firm and denial of requested injunction in related state court proceedings.
- Representation of an international manufacturer of shipping containers in action brought to enforce default judgment against allegedly related foreign corporations. Obtained relief from judgment erroneously granted by federal court and dismissal of plaintiff's alter ego claim.
- Regular trade secret litigation counsel for global manufacturer, including litigation matters filed in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio.
- Representation of a jewelry manufacturer in copyright and Lanham Act litigation filed in Ohio federal court.
- Representation of a worldwide distributor of mechanical power transmission and other industrial products in resale price maintenance antitrust case in Ohio federal court.
- Obtained judgment and award of attorneys' fees in favor of national supplier of hotel and hospitality products in Lanham Act false advertising and unfair competition case.
- Defense judgment and award of attorneys' fees in trade secret litigation involving alleged misappropriation of financial institution software product.
- $11 million dollar judgment in creditor's bill proceeding against customer of a judgment debtor in a trade secret matter.
- Favorable settlement for real estate brokerage of civil antitrust conspiracy claim by a national franchisor.
- Substantial settlement in favor of a financial institution in trade secret litigation involving misappropriation of computer source code by software developer.
- Representation of residential home builders and architect in copyright infringement litigation.
- Defense verdict for financial institution in lender liability litigation brought by Toledo developer.
- Jury verdict on counterclaim and rejecting plaintiff competitor's claim against national cleaning products supplier.
- Judgment after five-week trial dismissing claims against the city of Akron by other local governments challenging its control of waters of the Cuyahoga River.
- Defense judgment in bench trial for electromechanical parts supplier in breach of contract action brought by competing company.
- Summary judgment in favor of major financial institution in trademark infringement litigation.
- Favorable settlement for software developer in arbitration against computer education franchisor.
- Numerous trade secret, non-competition covenant, tortious interference and other business tort cases and preliminary injunction hearings, for both plaintiffs and defendants.
- Regular counseling of clients concerning antitrust, intellectual property and other competition issues.
- “Appeals Court Affirms Denial of Fuel Surcharge Class Certification,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, August 2019
- “Court Denies Class Certification in Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation,” Thompson Hine Transportation Update, October 2017
- "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: Tips for Handling Supplier Terminations," Thompson Hine, July 2016
- “The Defend Trade Secrets Act: Consequences for Trade Secret Litigation,” Thompson Hine Business Litigation Update, July 2014
- Co-author, “Curbs for Costly Discovery?: Federal Rules Reform Aim at Electronic Document Burdens,” Washington Legal Foundation, June 2014
- "CFAA and DMCA: New Frontiers in Intellectual Property Litigation," Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal, November 2011
- "Educating the Public about Our Justice System," Ohio Lawyer, May/June 2008
- "Looking Into the Crystal Ball," Ohio Lawyer, March/April 2008
- "Appreciating the Beauty in Law," Ohio Lawyer, January/February 2008
- "Technology's Impact on the Legal Profession," Ohio Lawyer, November/December 2007
- "Not the Usual Guilt Trip," Ohio Lawyer, September/October 2007
- " Should You Enter the Blogosphere - Can you afford not to?", Cleveland Bar Journal, May 2005
- " The Conflict Virus: When are Lawyer Conflicts Imputed to the Firm?", Cleveland Bar Journal, January 2005
- "Recent Developments in Ethics Rules Relating to Corporate Governance," Cleveland Bar Journal, January 2004
- "Corporate Governance: The Ethical Implications for Lawyers," Cleveland Bar Journal, January 2003
- "Differences Meaningful in Terms of Intellectual Property," Crain's Cleveland Business, December 2002
- Chapter, "Drafting International Technology Licensing Agreements," Negotiating and Structuring International Commercial Transactions, 2d ed., 2002
- "Identifying and Protecting Trade Secrets," Et al., a publication of the Deloitte & Touche Dispute Consulting Services Group, 2001
- Contributing author, State Antitrust Practice and Statutes, 2d ed., 1999
- "Trade Secrets May Enjoy Wide Legal Protection," Crain's Cleveland Business, 1997
- Co-author, "Are You a Medical Monopoly," Unique Opportunities, 1996
- "Declaratory Judgment Actions in Dealer Termination Cases," Private Antitrust Litigation News, 1993
- "Taking and Defending Effective Depositions," Ohio State Bar Association CLE Program
- "Trade Secrets Litigation and Strategy," TH Corporate Counsel Seminar
- Seminar chair, "Ethics, Professionalism and Substance Abuse," Cleveland Bar Association Practice and Procedure Clinic
- "Current Antitrust Issues Concerning Relationships with Dealers and Distributors," American Corporate Counsel Association Meeting
- Program chair, "Competition Law Skills Workshop," Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention
- "Protecting Proprietary Information Through Litigation," Cleveland Bar Association, Intellectual Property Committee Seminar
- "Antitrust Principles Governing Multi-Firm Conduct," Ohio State Bar Association Antitrust Section, Antitrust Institute
- "Identifying, Protecting and Exploiting Your Company's Proprietary Information," Deloitte & Touche/Thompson Hine LLP Seminar
- "Current Hot Issues in Antitrust and Other Complex Litigation: Joint Defense Agreements," Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention
- "Antitrust: What Every Business Lawyer Should Know," Ohio State Bar Association Annual Convention
- "Copyright and E-Commerce Issues for the Design Professional," Denmark Group Annual Management Workshops
- "Intellectual Property Licensing Arrangements," Ohio State Bar Association Antitrust Section, Antitrust Institute
- "Price-Related Distribution Practices," Ohio State Bar Association Antitrust Section, Antitrust Institute
- AV® Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers by Ohio Super Lawyers magazine, 2010 to 2020
- Selected for inclusion in Cleveland's Top Rated Lawyers, 2012 edition
- Listed as a Litigation Future Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2012-2018
- Listed as a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, 2019-2021
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2013 to 2021 in the fields of Advertising Law, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation-Insurance, and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants; named the Best Lawyers® 2021 Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants "Lawyer of the Year" in Cleveland
- Ohio State Bar Association, president, 2007 to 2008; president-elect, 2006 to 2007; Board of Governors, Budget and Headquarters Committee, 2004 to 2006; Council of Delegates, District 12, 1999 to 2004; Antitrust Law Section, vice chair, 2005 to 2006
- Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, Ethics and Professionalism Committee, Chair, 2006 to 2007, vice chair, 2005 to 2006; Certified Grievance Committee, 2000 to 2009
- American Bar Association, House of Delegates, 2008 to 2010; 2011 to 2012; Antitrust Law Section
- Ohio State Bar Foundation, trustee, 2007 to 2008; fellow
- American Bar Foundation, fellow
- Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Board of Trustees
- St. Martin's Episcopal Church, vestry
- Bainbrook/Laurel Springs Association, president, 2006 to 2007, Board of Trustees, 2005 to 2008
- United Way Leadership Development Program, Class of 1996
- Ohio Bar Liability Insurance Company, Board of Directors, 2006 to 2007
Vetting suppliers during a pandemicCosmos Compliance
September 17, 2020