Overview
Matthew Cavanagh
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Experience
Matt has a unique legal practice, as both an intellectual property litigator and a First Amendment attorney. As an IP litigator, Matt has represented businesses and individuals in patent, trademark, copyright, false advertising, and trade secret cases. As a First Amendment attorney, he has represented newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations, journalists, and television and radio personalities in defamation, trespass, and invasion of privacy cases. He has counseled and represented media clients in other legal matters, including opposing gag orders, moving to unseal court records, opposing subpoenas, protecting journalistic work product, providing prepublication review, and obtaining public records.

Matt has litigated in federal and state court; he has argued cases before various federal and state appeal courts and administrative boards; and he has presented oral argument to various courts, including arguing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a significant patent case involving breakthrough cell phone technology.

In addition to litigation, Matt is a licensed patent attorney who assists clients in obtaining U.S. and foreign patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Matt also works with clients in the negotiating, drafting, and reviewing of contracts, including license and purchase agreements. Matt regularly gives strategic advice and analysis regarding the formation, management, and enforcement of intellectual property assets. With an expertise in First Amendment law, Matt counsels clients about advertising law, and he regularly assists clients with maintaining their online reputation, which includes responding to defamatory online posts on review websites, comment boards, and elsewhere.

Prior to attending law school, Matt worked for several years as a mechanical engineer at a large integrated steel mill. He also has industrial experience at a General Electric turbine plant and at NASA. Matt's real world engineering and manufacturing experiences enable him to better understand his clients' businesses and to further protect and advance their interests.

Matt earned a J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 2005. He received a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Boston University in 1998.

Representative Cases/Matters

Defamation

  • Obtained summary judgment for television station that was sued by distracted driver who alleged that reference to her as a “texting driver” was defamatory because she was not literally sending a text message at the time of her crash. 
  • Represented newspaper against defamation lawsuit by two school board candidates; obtained dismissal because publication was protected opinion under the Ohio Constitution.
  • Represented newspaper in defamation case arising from report that DNA evidence confirmed guilt of accused rapist; obtained dismissal on statute of limitations grounds.
  • Defended newspaper and reporters against county prosecutor’s defamation claims aimed at newspaper’s report about testimony concerning the prosecutor’s alleged drug use; court granted summary judgment for the newspaper and reporters.
  • Defended newspaper sued by convict who claimed article defamed him by falsely reporting he was convicted of “attempted murder” when, in reality, he was convicted of “felonious assault”; obtained dismissal on theory that allegedly false statement was no more defamatory than truth. 

Patent

  • Obtained summary judgment of no infringement in case involving automated trailer jack device.
  • Obtained summary judgment for defendant in an infringement case involving adjustable hitch pin lock based on collateral estoppel defense. 
  • Obtained summary judgment of no infringement involving a patent for a trailer coupler lock.
  • Represented petitioners and patent owners in reexamination proceedings before the USPTO, and twice obtained the rare outcome of a complete denial of a petition for inter partes review.
  • Defended market-leading manufacturer of high-performance specialty blending products against patent infringement allegations through trial.
  • Represented a variety of patent owners and accused infringers in patent infringement lawsuits involving various technologies, including mechanical devices, chemical solutions, wireless video technology, and electronic controllers.
  • Provided opinions and counsel to various companies and individuals regarding patent invalidity, patent infringement and patentability.

Trademark/Unfair Competition

  • Obtained dismissal of cyberpiracy claim in federal court based on plaintiff’s failure to identify any attempt by client to make money off of domain names that it had registered. 
  • Successfully defended beverage maker in trademark lawsuit arising from company’s use of supplier’s trademarks on beverage packaging based on fair use defense and first-sale doctrine.
  • Represented large and well known food company in trademark dispute over frozen food brand names, and argued case before a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board panel at the 2014 Fordham IP Institute in New York City.
  • Represented tequila business in significant trademark opposition proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board brought by large wine company.
  • Represented various parties in trademark, trade dress and unfair competition lawsuits, including at trial.
  • Represented clients in administrative proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
  • Counseled and represented businesses in making and responding to cease-and-desist demands with regard to trademark rights.
  • Counseled and represented clients about online trademark issues, including search engine optimization, use of metadata, domain name disputes, and Google AdWords.

Copyright
  • Represented television station against copyright lawsuit by anchorwoman who alleged that the station’s employees unlawfully copied a video of her in a Key West bar; cert petition in case was selected by U.S. Supreme Court for "discuss list," which is a short list of cases that justices consider for granting review at their private conference.
  • Defended business against lawsuit by jewelry designer who claimed to have copyright to blinged-out microphone used by hip-hop star.
  • Represented company in copyright case by photographer who claimed company had used his photograph of Niagara Falls in airport advertisement without permission.
  • Successfully defended client against copyright ownership claims over computer code that client had developed to operate patented devices for non-destructive materials testing.
  • Represented gear manufacturer in copyright lawsuit against competitor which had made and used unauthorized copies of blueprints. 


Trade Secret

  • Represented plaintiffs and defendants in numerous trade secret misappropriation cases in computer software, consumer product and manufacturing industries. 

Miscellaneous

  • Defended government official in lawsuit by 9/11 detainees that led to landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, which applied plausibility pleading standard to all civil actions.
  • Represented non-profit organization in mandamus action before Ohio Supreme Court to obtain public records from public schools in Cincinnati, Ohio, area. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in client’s favor and awarded attorneys’ fees, which resulted in award of over $100,000.
  • Member of legal team assigned to recover fictitious profits derived from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
  • Defended popular morning radio show against criminal allegations that show’s cast had induced panic on a public street.
  • Represented Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Recorder in mandamus action before Ohio Supreme Court.
  • Represented large outdoor advertiser in complex lease dispute over iconic building through trial; and obtained judgment in client’s favor, which was upheld on appeal.

Credentials

Accreditation

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Registration No. 65,109

Admissions - Court

  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit

Admissions - State

  • Ohio

Education

  • Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Boston University

Honors and Awards

  • Selected for inclusion in Ohio Rising Stars (2015)
  • Order of the Coif

Professional Membership

  • Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Mensa International
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association 
  • Thomas More Law Center
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