The 2022 edition of the Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business features the highest numbers of Gibbons P.C. practices and attorneys ever ranked in the publication in one year. The 2022 guide recognized 12 Gibbons practice areas, with 27 firm attorneys earning individual rankings. Three attorneys and one practice were selected for the first time this year. One of the legal industry’s leading client- and peer-review resources, Chambers annually rates the nation’s leading business lawyers and law firms through both comprehensive interviews with top companies, attorneys, and business executives, and extensive supplementary research. For the full list of Gibbons practice areas and attorneys highlighted in the 2022 guide, please click here.
On February 25, 2021, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Chair and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, respectively, announced the introduction of a bipartisan bill that will provide continued relief to businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The bill, referred to as the COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act, would extend for an additional year—to March 27, 2022—certain bankruptcy-related provisions originally enacted into law in March 2020 as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stabilization Act (“CARES Act”). Under the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020, Congress increased to $7.5 million the debt limits for debtors seeking relief under the recently-enacted Subchapter V of chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. 11 U.S.C. §§ 1181-1195 (Subchapter V, enacted in 2019 through the Small Business Reorganization Act, streamlined chapter 11 cases for businesses with non-contingent, secured, and unsecured debts totaling less than $2,725,625. By proceeding under Subchapter V of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor may, among other things, solicit disclosure and confirmation in a single-step confirmation process, make use of expedited filing deadlines, and retain equity ownership without those equity holders satisfying the “new value” exception to the absolute priority rule under 11 U.S.C. § 1129(b)). If passed, the COVID-19 Bankruptcy Relief Extension Act will ensure that...
Reversing the First Circuit, the Supreme Court Holds That Rejection of an Executory Trademark License Does Not Bar the Licensee From Continuing to Use the Mark
In Mission Product Holdings v. Tempnology, the Supreme Court, in an 8-1 opinion delivered by Justice Kagan, held that a debtor’s rejection of a trademark license under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code does not terminate the licensee’s rights to use the trademark under the agreement. Tempnology made clothing and accessories designed to stay cool during exercise, and marketed those products under the brand name “Coolcore.” In 2012, Tempnology gave Mission Product Holdings an exclusive license to distribute certain Coolcore products in the United States and granted Mission a non-exclusive global license to use the Coolcore trademarks. The agreement was set to expire in July 2016. In September 2015, however, Tempnology filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, and rejected the license agreement under Section 365(a). The Bankruptcy Court held that Tempnology’s rejection of the agreement revoked Mission’s right to use the marks. The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel reversed. The First Circuit rejected the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel’s view and reinstated the Bankruptcy Court’s decision. The First Circuit reasoned that Congress, in enacting Section 365(n) in 1988, “expressly listed six kinds of intellectual property,” but not trademarks. The First Circuit thus held that trademark licenses are categorically unprotected from court-approved rejection. The Supreme Court granted certiorari, and reversed the First Circuit. Section 365(a) of...
Tenth Circuit finds that Ch. 11 Bankruptcy Debtor’s Settlement of CERCLA Claims No Bar to Post-Reorganization Contribution Action Against Other PRPs
The Tenth Circuit recently ruled in Asarco, LLC v. Noranda Mining, Inc. that a mining company (“Plaintiff”) could maintain a contribution action against another mining operation (“Defendant”) under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) despite the Plaintiff’s earlier representation in Bankruptcy proceedings that its fair share of liability for contamination at the site in question was $8.7 million — the amount it paid to settle the Environmental Protection Agency’s claim. The pertinent facts arose, largely, from the Plaintiff’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and a global settlement of all environmental claims. The global settlement, reached in 2009, resolved environmental claims at 52 different sites across 19 states, with a total cost of about $1.79 billion. Included among the myriad claims being settled was the one at issue in this case: an $8.7 million payment to address the Plaintiff’s share of liability at two related sites near Park City, Utah (“the site”). Defending the reasonableness of the settlement figure before the Bankruptcy Court, the Plaintiff maintained that $8.7 million represented its proportionate share of liability for contamination at the site. In 2013, following its Chapter 11 reorganization, the Plaintiff filed a CERCLA contribution claim against the Defendant, another potentially responsible party at the site, arguing that the $8.7 million it paid to settle the EPA’s...
Case Highlight: Spiro v. Vions Technology, Inc. – State Court Maintains Subject Matter Jurisdiction In Dispute Surrounding Intellectual Property Ownership Rights of A Now-Bankrupt Corporation
Intellectual property and bankruptcy disputes are matters typically reserved for the subject matter jurisdiction of the federal courts. However, in Spiro v. Vions Technology, Inc., C.A. No. 8287-VCP (Del. Ch. March 23, 2014) the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (“Chancery Court”) addressed a procedural question as to subject matter jurisdiction and held that where a debtor’s intellectual property and related licensing agreements had been abandoned by the bankruptcy trustee, the Chancery Court has subject matter jurisdiction over an action to determine, among other things, the ownership of such intellectual property. Specifically, plaintiff Spiro, a creditor in the bankruptcy action and a former shareholder of the bankrupt corporation, Ionsep Corporation Inc. (“Ionsep”), brought an action in the Chancery Court seeking, along with damages, that the Court: (i) void the exclusive licensing of the intellectual property as an allegedly fraudulent transfer, (ii) enjoin further licensing of the intellectual property by the licensee and (iii) return the intellectual property to the shareholders of Ionsep. Defendant Vions Technology Inc. (“Vions”), to which the intellectual property at issue had been transferred pre-bankruptcy, argued that Spiro had no standing to bring the fraudulent transfer action and that the bankruptcy court maintained jurisdiction over the intellectual property in question.
The recently announced Kodak bankruptcy has focused much needed attention on the intersection of bankruptcy law with IP rights. Gibbons P.C., with robust bankruptcy and IP practices, will be participating in a live webinar on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 from 1:00 – 2:30 pm to address the impact of the Bankruptcy Code on IP licenses. The webinar will feature an update on case law developments and practical tips for dealing with IP licenses in a bankruptcy. Participants will be invited to a live Q & A session with the speakers at the end of the panel discussion. CLE credit will be available.
As anticipated, Eastman Kodak Co. filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief this morning in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. This development followed a recent flurry of patent infringement suits involving Kodak, and on the heels of Kodak’s unrequited efforts to license or sell off its substantial intellectual property (“IP”) portfolio.