Local Counsel For Out-Of-State Law Firms

In addition to representing clients as lead counsel, the firm regularly serves as local counsel in cases in the federal and state courts in the Pittsburgh region. The attorneys at Houston Harbaugh are particularly well suited to act as local counsel in intellectual property matters, having done so on numerous occasions.

Attorney Henry Sneath served on the Patent Local Rules Committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, which assisted the Court in formulating and changing the local patent rules of practice followed by the Judges in this District. Mr. Sneath has extensive experience as a trial lawyer in the Pittsburgh region, having tried over 95 cases to verdict before juries and judges primarily in this area, and, as a result, he is familiar with the general make-up and tenor of jurors that often sit in these types of cases. Mr. Sneath has personally appeared before all of the federal District Court judges who are currently sitting in the Western District of Pennsylvania, and he is familiar with their local rules and practices. He has particular experience before the four judges who are currently serving as the “patent judges” and who are agreeing to hear patent disputes.

The United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has a number of specialized local rules for dealing with all types of cases and for patent cases in particular that may be unfamiliar to out-of-town attorneys (these rules were recently amended in December 2015). For instance, the Court has a mandatory ADR requirement that must be completed early in the litigation. The Court has also promulgated special rules to deal with patents and e-discovery from the outset of a case. The Western District is one of the fourteen Patent Pilot Program District Courts in the country and was selected for its experience and procedures in dealing with patent cases. There are currently four judges (Chief Judge Conti, Judge Bissoon, Judge Fischer, and Judge Hornak) who have been identified by the Court as Designated Patent Judges to deal with the patent cases in this district. The attorneys at the firm have been before all four of these judges in patent infringement cases.

The law offices of Houston Harbaugh, P.C. are conveniently located in downtown Pittsburgh and are a short walk to either the federal or state court houses. A major hotel is also located across the street from our offices, which provides quick access for attorneys and witnesses who have to travel to Pittsburgh and stay overnight. In addition, there are numerous restaurants within walking distance of our offices. We have three conference rooms, plus additional office and meeting space to accommodate depositions and pre-hearing and trial preparations. We also have relationships with a number of local support vendors, including court reporters, copy services, technology providers, and trial consultants who can assist during all phases of litigation. Having served as local counsel during trial, our staff and attorneys are well equipped to assist clients and lead counsel during these stressful times.

Representative Engagements

  • Representation of battery testing manufacturer in litigation and on appeal.
  • Representation of a commercial lighting manufacturer in litigating patent infringement claims.
  • Representation of medical and pharmaceutical products manufacturers in patent, unfair competition and false advertising matters.
  • The representation of a metals manufacturer in a trademark dispute.
  • Advising a small business client regarding copyright and trademark rights and defending his business against attempts to invalidate those rights.
  • Defending a natural gas exploration company against a patent invalidation lawsuit and prosecuting a counterclaim for patent infringement.
  • The representation of minority members of a green technology limited liability company in a shareholders’ derivative action against the majority member for violations of RICO, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • The representation of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company against a foreign manufacturer for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract.
  • Representation of a telecommunications company in federal litigation brought under Federal Trademark Dilution Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act by a designer and manufacturer of networked communications systems and related software.
  • Representation of a Dutch corporation which owned the exclusive rights and license to the “total image” of one of the world’s foremost tennis superstars in action against defendant corporation for breach of endorsement contracts.
  • Advising a franchise business regarding the need for specialty intellectual property insurance coverage and reviewing several competing proposed insurance policies.
  • Providing opinions and opinion letters to individuals and companies on patent and trademark rights, risks and liabilities.
  • Representing employers and employees in disputes over intellectual property licensing, royalties and ownership.
  • Defending Fortune 500 and mid-sized companies against claims of patent infringement.