© 2016 Apogee Law Group P.C. All rights reserved.
Apogee Law Group P.C.
401 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
Robert represents companies through all phases of their growth and development while specializing in handling routine to complex corporate and intellectual property issues. His clients range in diversity from high tech computer hardware and software companies to consumer products in the outdoor sporting goods industries to service companies such as restaurants.
Robert handles a full service corporate practice that includes entity formation, compliance and corporate governance, securities filings, transactional and mergers/acquisitions. His intellectual property practice includes patent application drafting and related prosecution, trademark prosecution, copyright practice and the development and implementation of trade secret programs. He also offers a full service domestic and international transactional practice that includes negotiation and drafting of technology licenses, joint venture agreements, mergers & acquisition agreements, tooling agreements, distributor agreements and reseller agreements.
His litigation practice includes all aspects ranging from pre-filing advice, trial and appellate practice in state and federal courts. He also has experience with domestic (JAMS) and international arbitrations (Int’l Chamber of Commerce). He has handled breach of contract (supplier and employment agreements) as well as complex patent, trademark and copyright litigations.
Robert has technical backgrounds in electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry and petroleum engineering. After working for several years in the petroleum industry, he obtained his law degree from the University of Tulsa and an LL.M. in Intellectual Property Law from The John Marshall Law School. For the last twenty-four years, he has worked both in private practice and as in-house counsel.
Mr. Hart frequently lectures on a variety of business and legal topics. From 1994 until 2003, Robert co-taught Masters Classes for lawyers in Appellate Brief Writing and Appellate Advocacy with the Honorable Paul Michel, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the John Marshall Law School. He has also taught trial practice for lawyers at Chicago Kent College of Law. Mr. Hart is a member of the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Licensing Executives Society (LES), Richard Linn American Inn of Court located in Chicago.
Representative Litigation Cases:
• GGEC America v. Stelle, LLC (CA 2015) – obtained a $1.27 million judgement on behalf of Plaintiff in a breach of contract case.
• Victoria Rodriguez v. Vizio, Inc. et al. (S.D. CA 2015) – obtained a dismissal with prejudice with no settlement on behalf of two of the defendants.
• Winvic Sales, Inc. and NII Northern International Inc. v. MerchSource, LLC (N.D. IL 2013) – resolved patent infringement case on favorable terms.
• PowerSav, Inc. v. Thermal Technology LLC (CA 2012) – litigated and obtained a very favorable settlement in a breach of contract case for Defendant.
• Patent Harbor LLC v. Harman International et al. (E.D. TX 2010) – settled patent infringement lawsuit on extremely favorable terms.
• ClearOne Communications v. Harman Professional et al. (Utah 2007) – resolved trade secret lawsuit.
• ClearOne Communications v. Andrew Chiang et al. (D. Utah 2007) - obtained dismissal of trade secret lawsuit.
• Traffic Information v. Alpine Electronics of America et al. (E.D. Texas 2008) – litigated and successfully settled patent infringement lawsuit.
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology v. Harman International (D. Mass 2005) – litigated and favorably settled patent litigation potential liability greater than $30 million actual damages.
• Harman International v. Brookstone (C.D. Cal. 2007) – litigated and negotiated favorable trademark litigation settlement including payment of monetary damages by Brookstone.
• Harman International v. Jasco Products (W.D. Okla. 2004) – litigated patent infringement lawsuit that was resolved with a favorable royalty bearing patent license.
• Zeevi v. Pioneer North America et al. (C.D. Cal. 2003) - favorably settled lawsuit with a potential liability greater than $10 million.
• Harman International v. PC Club et al. (E.D. Va. 2002): litigated patent infringement lawsuit resulting in shutting down over 25 infringers.
• JBL v. Bose, No. 02-46 (U.S. 2002) - managed litigation team on petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court to review conflicting precedent relating to patent infringement doctrines.
• Bose v. JBL, No. 02-1282 (Fed. Cir. 2002) - managed litigation team on appeal to the Federal Circuit regarding the constitutional patent issue of whether the primary jurisdiction of the United States Patent and Trademark Office requires a district court to stay a co-pending patent infringement litigation.
• Represented an investor group in a $2 million debt and equity transaction.
• Represented a startup in a $2.5 million Series A preferred stock offering.
• Represented a startup in a $3 million Series A preferred stock offering.
• Represented a startup in a $2.7 million round of seed financing.
• Represented a Singapore startup in a $300,000 round of seed financing.
• Represented a startup in a $500,000 convertible note seed financing round.
• Represented a cellular service provider company’s exit sale to an Indian company.
• Represented a telecom company’s exit sale to a Canadian purchaser.
• Represented various startups with seed and angel financing (from $5,000 to $250,000 investments).
Some of his litigation results follow:
• Tempo Lighting, Inc. vs. Tivoli, LLC, 742 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2014). Represented patent owner Tivoli, LLC in inter partes proceeding and appeal brought by Tempo Lighting, Inc. challenging decision of Board of Patent Appeals which had agreed with Tivoli's construction of claim term. In precedential opinion, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the construction and remanded to Board to make further findings.
• Slep-tone Entertainment Corporation v. Backstage Bar and Grill, Kelly C. Sugano, Taka-O, et al. (C.D. Cal. 2013). Defended business sued for allegedly infringing trademark of karaoke disc manufacturer and obtained judgment in client's favor. Of the many dozens of defendants in this case, and hundreds of defendants plaintiff has sued across the country, client was the only defendant to obtain court-awarded attorney's fees as a prevailing party. In the order awarding fees, the court found that plaintiff "takes trolling to the next level" and plaintiff's "conduct was both vexatious and in bad faith."
• Tempo Lighting, Inc. vs. Tivoli, LLC, Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, Appeal No. 2011- 012102 (decided Feb. 24, 2012). Represented patent owner Tivoli, LLC in inter partes proceeding initiated by patent infringement defendant Tempo Lighting, Inc. challenging Tivoli's patent that concerns theater stair coverings. Convinced Board of Patent Appeals to reverse reexaminer that had adopted dictionary definition of claim term and rejected all claims based thereon where claim term was specifically defined in prosecution history.
• United States of America vs. $490,918 in U.S. currency, (U.S. Dist. E.D.N.Y., 2010). In forfeiture lawsuit brought by United States, convinced U.S. Justice Dept. to enter into agreement and court order to return all of client's funds seized from its bank account by U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
• Christopher B. Mears v. REM Physical Therapy, No. G042204 (4th District Third Div., May 2010). Successfully convinced California Court of Appeal to reverse trial court's dismissal of counterclaim lawsuit by medical lienholder.
• Quadri vs. Alkayali, (Superior Court of California, June 2009). Obtained favorable jury verdict with co-counsel awarding ownership of business to client.
• (U.S. Dist. RI, 2008). Led defense team in successful representation of four defendants accused of trademark, design and utility patent infringement in handheld lighting market. Case settled under confidential terms.
• (U.S. Dist. C.D. Cal., 2008). Led defense team in successful representation of defendant accused of design and utility patent infringement in remote-controlled toy helicopter market. Defeated Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction. Case settled shortly thereafter under confidential terms.
• (2007) Represented importer charged by U.S. Customs with importing articles that were misdescribed and were beyond quota and included demand for significant fine. Persuaded U.S. Customs to greatly reduce fine.
• In re Teknek LLC and Phillip D. Levey v. Systems Division, Inc., (U.S. Dist. N.D. Illinois 2007). Victorious appeal to U.S. District Court vacating bankruptcy court's injunction which had restrained judgment creditor from collecting judgment from non-bankrupt co-judgment debtor.
• A-Top Technology, Inc. v. Broadway Com Corp., et al., (U.S. Dist. C.D. Cal., 2006). Led defense team in successful representation of two defendants accused of design patent infringement for computer case designs. Case settled under confidential terms.
• Scieran Technologies, Inc. v. Bausch & Lomb Incorporated, (U.S. Dist. Del., 2005). Led plaintiff’s litigation team in a patent infringement case involving a medical device for excising tissue in the back of the human eye. Case settled under confidential terms.
• Targetti North America, Inc. v. Electrix, Inc., (U.S. Dist. C.D. Cal., 2005). Represented plaintiff in a patent infringement case involving fluorescent venue lighting systems. Case settled in 2006 under confidential terms.
• Tivoli, LLC v. Tempo Lighting, Inc., (U.S. Dist. C.D. Cal., 2004). Led plaintiff’s litigation team in a patent infringement case involving theater floor lighting systems.
• Perine Lowe, Inc. v. Dolly, Inc., (U.S. Dist. C.D. Cal., 2003). Represented plaintiff in trade dress and copyright infringement action and obtained, as first chair trial counsel, federal jury verdict of over $3.5M. The court also awarded attorney's fees to the client.
• Elaine Valles Key v. City of Long Beach, (Superior Court of Calif., 2000). Represented plaintiff in action against major municipality for damages to real property. Won the trial despite assertion by city of 22 affirmative defenses.
• Special contributing author, “Socially Close: Social Media Marketing for Small Business”, July 2014.
• “Enforcement of a Judgment Can Include Intangible Property,”Business Law News, Issue No. 4 - 2007, publication of the Business Law Section of the California State Bar.
• “Monopoly Power of Patents and Antitrust Law Collide in Patent Tying,” Orange County Lawyer Magazine, March 2006.
• Featured speaker, Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs, California State University, Fullerton, California – March 2016.
• Acting judge for College of Trial Advocacy, Orange County Bar Association, Chapman Law School - April, 2015.
• Featured speaker, Intellectual Property for Entrepreneurs, California State University, Fullerton, California - November 2013.
• Featured speaker, Legal Risks of Using Social Media, post-graduate business program, California State University, Fullerton, California - February 2011.
• Featured speaker, Intellectual Property Considerations for the Start-up, business program, California State University, Fullerton, California - October 2010.
• Featured speaker, Intellectual Property Concepts, Gavel Club of Long Beach - February 2010.
• Featured speaker, Intellectual Property Concepts, Entrepreneurship course, California State University, Fullerton, California - March 2009.
• Featured speaker, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution, post-graduate business program, California State University, Long Beach, California - September 2006.
B.S. Chemistry, 1984
B.S. Petroleum Engineering, 1986
LL.M. Intellectual Property Law, 1996
M.S. Electrical Engineering studies, 1996 – 1999
District of Columbia
U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Admissions to Courts:
U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the Fed. Cir.
U.S. Ct. of Appeals for the 9th Cir.
U.S. D.C. for the District of Columbia
U.S. D.C. for the N.D. of Illinois
U.S. D.C. for the N.D. of Oklahoma
U.S. D.C. for the E.D. of Texas
U.S. Court of International Trade
Certified License Professional (LES)
Board of Directors
SignMeUp.com, Inc. (2012-2013)
Ultrawave Labs, Inc. (2012-2013)