John’s practice focuses on patent, trade secret and copyright litigation in the software and electrical arts. With over 15 years of patent litigation experience, he has represented clients in virtually every industry. John has successfully tried patent cases in federal courts nationwide, and has successfully handled appeals before the Federal Circuit.
Leveraging his extensive software litigation experience, John leads the firm’s FRAND licensing and Open Source Software compliance practice. With respect to FRAND licensing, John works with automotive OEMs and suppliers to address licensing standard essential patents for wireless communication technology. John also advises companies regarding effective use of open source software in their commercial products. He helps companies develop customized corporate policies and strategies for compliance with applicable open source license terms. John’s team manages source code audits and works closely with software developers and business managers to properly navigate the various open source license terms. John’s team has undertaken the audit-and-advice service on complex systems in the automotive, consumer electronics, medical device, and computer industries.
John is devoted to his clients’ business interests. He brings a creative approach to his practice to solve the most complex issues his clients face. For example, John worked with several automotive companies to create the SmartDeviceLink Consortium, a thriving new organization of automotive companies managing an open source platform for communication between smart devices and automobiles.
John is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Courts in the Eastern and Western District of Michigan, the Eastern District of Texas, the Western District of Wisconsin, and Colorado. John is also a registered patent attorney, and is authorized to practice before the U.S. Patent Office.
John holds a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Buffalo, where he graduated cum laude. John’s background in both electrical and mechanical engineering allows him to handle patent cases involving many different technologies.
John is a regular guest lecturer on Patent Fundamentals at the University of Michigan. John has also personally handled six pro bono civil actions, including a pro bono jury trial.
Outside the office, John enjoys fishing and boating with his family in northern Michigan, playing ice hockey, and racing at the M1 Concourse. He is also a den leader for his local scout pack.
Eagle Harbor Holdings/Medius v. Ford Motor Company (Jury Trial – W.D. Washington): Defended Ford in patent infringement trial in which plaintiff was asserting several patents against Ford’s SYNC infotainment system, and Ford’s automatic parking system. Plaintiffs sought damages of $250 million. Jury found patents not infringed, and awarded no damages to plaintiff. Jury also found that plaintiffs had misappropriated Ford trade secrets. Case No. 3:11-cv-05503
Maxchief v. Plastic Development Group (Settlement – E.D. Michigan) – Lead counsel for Defendant, Plastic Development Group (PDG) in a patent infringement matter regarding blow-molded tables. Successfully transferred the case to E.D. Michigan shortly after the Supreme Courts decision in TC Heartland. Also served as counsel to PDG during inter partes review proceedings to challenge the asserted patents validity. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board instituted on all grounds for all challenged claims. The case settled favorably shortly after transferring to PDG’s home forum and institution of the inter partes review. Case No. 2:17-cv-12662
WP Banquet, LLC et al. v. Target Corporation et al. (Settlement – C.D. California) – Lead counsel for furniture manufacturer Plastic Development Group and retailer Target accused of infringing four patents. Successfully moved to sever and stay the case for Plastic Development Group’s customer Target. Managed to secure a favorable settlement on behalf of Plastic Development Group shortly thereafter. Case No. 2:16-cv-02082
Kar Enterprises v. Ford Motor Company (Settlement – D. Massachusetts): Counsel for defendant Ford Motor Company in patent infringement lawsuit involving speed limiting system for a vehicle. The case concluded in a favorable settlement for Ford. Case No. 4:11-cv-11200
Ancora Techs. v. Apple, Inc. (Federal Circuit): Counsel for Ancora Technologies patent infringement action concerning computer software. Obtained a positive claim construction ruling for the patent holder on appeal to the Federal Circuit. Case No. 744 F.3d 732
AgentWare Systems, Inc. v. Ford Motor Company (Jury Trial – E.D. Michigan): Defended Ford in trade secrets case relating to computer software for assembly line visualization. AgentWare sought $400 million from Ford in damages. The court and the jury found for Ford, rejecting AgentWare’s claims. Case No. 02-cv-71959
Ford Motor Company and Greenleaf LLC v. Technology Solutions Company (Jury Trial – Wayne County Circuit Court ): Obtained a $2.3 million dollar verdict and judgment on behalf of Ford and a former Ford subsidiary in a breach of warranty action against a software supplier. Case No. 01:123853
z4 v. Microsoft and Autodesk (Jury Trial – E.D. Texas): Represented z4 in a patent infringement case involving two patents relating to technology for reducing software piracy. Infringing products included Microsoft’s Windows and Office software, and Autodesk’s AutoCAD software. Brooks Kushman secured a $133 million jury verdict, and a $25 million enhanced damages award for z4. The Federal Circuit affirmed the jury verdict. Case No. 507 F.3d 1340
Cheetah Omni LLC v. Verizon Services Corporation, et al. (Jury Trial – E.D. Texas): Represented Cheetah Omni in a patent infringement lawsuit concerning fiber optic switching technology. Secured a $5.4 million jury verdict. Case No. 6:11-cv-00160
Omega Patents, LLC v. General Motors LLC et al. (Settlement – N.D. Georgia): Counsel for defendants General Motors and Onstar in a patent infringement lawsuit involving vehicle remote systems. The case concluded in a favorable settlement for defendants. Case No. 1:12-cv-01192
Omega Patents, LLC v. Lear Corp. (Settlement – M.D. Florida): Counsel for defendant Lear Corporation in patent infringement lawsuit involving vehicle remote start technology. The case concluded in a favorable settlement. Case No. 6:07-CV-1422
ST Sales Tech Holdings, LLC v. Ford Motor Company (Summary Judgment – E.D. Texas): Lead counsel for Ford in successful defense of patent infringement action. Case No. CIV.A. 6:07-CV-346
Organizations and Affiliations
United States Supreme Court
Intellectual Property Owners (IPO) Association – Open Source Committee
State Bar of Michigan
“Michigan’s Outstanding IP Litigator of the Year,” Managing Intellectual Property, 2018
“IP Star”, Managing Intellectual Property, 2016 – 2018
Best Lawyers in America, 2015 – 2019
“Leader in the Law,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly 2016
“Top Lawyer,” DBusiness Magazine, 2013, 2015 – 2017, 2019
Michigan Super Lawyers, Intellectual Property, 2014-2019
“Rising Star,” Michigan Super Lawyers, Intellectual Property, 2008 – 2010, 2012 – 2013
“Up & Coming Lawyer,” Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2008
Eastern District of Michigan Pro Bono Service Recognition, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 – 2012
Featured, “Automakers need to be ready when licensors come knocking ,” Crain’s Detroit Business, July 2017
Featured, “2016 Eureka Index: Breaking with Traditional Technologies,” Crain’s Detroit Business, November 2016
Featured, “Cure for common codes: Devil is in details for open-source auto technology,” Crain’s Detroit Business, June 2013
Featured, “How to Keep ESI at Bay in E-Discovery,” Corporate Counsel, November 2012
Featured, “Career Center Survey Results: Top Partners to Work For – Smaller Legal Markets,” Above the Law, December 2010
Featured, “How to Keep ESI at Bay in E-Discovery,” Corporate Counsel, November 2010
Co-Author, “Open Source Software (OSS) – What Every Attorney Needs to Know,” Association of Corporate Counsel, October 2014
Co-Presenter, “Navigating License and Joint Development Agreements; Avoiding Litigation,” BK Webinar, September 2019
Speaker, “Creating Internal Open Source Compliance Strategies: What Every In-House Counsel Should Know,” Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar, July, 2017
Speaker, “Open Source Software: What Every In-house Counsel Should Know,” Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar, February, 2017
Panel Speaker, “Software Patentability,” United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) program at Lawrence Technical University, May 2015
Speaker, “Open Source Software – The Devil is in the Details,” Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Big M Manufacturing Convergence, June 2014
Speaker, “Open Source: Its Free – Terms and Conditions Apply,” ARM TechCon, October 2013
Speaker, “Open Source Software in the Electric Vehicle,” Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology Show, September 2013
Speaker, “Understanding & Managing Legal Obligations of Open Source Software,” SAE World Congress, April 2013
Speaker, “Legal Risks Associated with Open Source Software,” Licensing Executives Society: Software Committee, December 2011
Speaker, “What CIOs Need to Know About the Legal Risks Associated with Open Source Software,” ExecSense Webinar: Intellectual Property, August 2011