Dr. Dariush Adli is the Founder and President of ADLI Law Group. He is perhaps best known as the “go to” trial lawyer in high stakes intellectual property (patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret) and complex commercial disputes. The reason is clear; for over two decades, Dr. Adli has successfully counseled and represented U.S., Asian and European businesses, from Fortune 500 corporations to startup companies, in intellectual property and business matters. In 2010, after years of successful practice at big law firms, Dr. Adli decided to act on his vision of offering clients the “choice combination” of high-quality work product, typical of bigger U.S. law firms, and the ready access and more affordable fees typical of specialized boutique firms.
This vision gave birth to the success, which is ADLI Law Group, P.C.
Dr. Adli is well recognized as a premier strategist in patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret and complex commercial disputes and is widely sought after by businesses large and small, seeking effective strategies for protecting their valuable intellectual property assets. In that effort, Dr. Adli partners with businesses to identify their protectable intellectual property assets and to develop customized legal strategies, which are consistent with the businesses’ goals, resources and risk tolerance.
Dr. Adli has a deep understanding of science and technology. He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After a few years as a scientist/engineer at a top engineering consulting firm in the Boston area, Dr. Adli decided to pursue a career in law and enrolled in the J.D. program at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1998.
Dr. Adli has first chaired numerous trials in intellectual property and complex commercial matters at federal and state courts, the International Trade Commission (ITC) and in arbitration proceedings. Dr. Adli also has significant experience in patent post-grant proceedings before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and in proceedings before the Trademark Trial Appeal Board (TTAB).
Recent controversy surrounding Kim Kardashian’s truncated move to trademark the term “Kimono” for her new line of undergarment shapewear has subsided, with Kardashian formally announcing that she is abandoning the effort. Kardashian explained the mark as serving the dual purposes of being a play on her name and showing respect for the Japanese culture. In fact, Kimono is Japanese for a traditional long, baggy garment that has been worn by Japanese women for centuries. Kardashian’s effort caused an uproar among the Japanese community in Japan and here in the United States. The community accused Kardashian of trying to exploit a centuries-old Japanese tradition for commercial gain. The controversy prompted the mayor of Kyoto to write a letter to Kardashian, in which he noted the sensitivity of the Japanese people to her move and urged her to drop the effort. Although the immediate controversy has now subsided, Kardashian’s truncated effort has renewed debate around the larger issue of “cultural appropriation” and its intersection with trademark law.
As of now, ten states have legalized recreational cannabis. Twenty-one other states allow medicinal use of cannabis, many of which are expected to legalize recreational cannabis in the near future. Investors have sunk an estimated $10 billion into cannabis-related businesses in 2018, an amount that is expected to reach $16 billion this year. The fast spreading legalization of cannabis presents a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, businesses and investors to get in on the “ground floor” of this growing market. California, as the largest single market for legalized Cannabis in North America, has attracted outsized attention from potential investors, who also see the state’s legalization as a trend setter for other states. However, would be investors in the California cannabis market often find themselves in a maze of complicated and changing licensing rules and regulations, banking challenges and uncertainties, choice of the appropriate business structure, and protection of potential intellectual property (IP).
In one of its latest opinions attempting to parse precedent on the subject matter eligibility of software, method of use, and business method patents that arguably involve application of laws of nature or recitations of well-known, conventional methods and techniques, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit found that a patent directed to a method for administering a naturally occurring beta amino acid to cause an increase in the concentration of a naturally occurring amino acid combination in muscle and brain tissues was subject matter eligible for patent protection (Natural Alternatives Int’l, Inc. v. Creative Compounds, LLC, No. 18-1295, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 7647 (Fed Cir. March 15, 2019). The panel’s 2-1 majority decision conceded that the claims at issue involved laws of nature and had similarities to claims the U.S. Supreme Court had found subject matter ineligible but found that the claims possessed sufficient inventiveness beyond natural phenomenon and conventional methods to make them subject matter eligible for patent protection. Since Alice, the Federal Circuit and the federal district courts have been striving to implement and apply the Alice test to methods of use, software, and business method inventions that arguably involve applications of laws of nature and conventional methods. The challenge for the court in these cases has been to determine whether the claims sufficiently go beyond applications of laws of nature and known conventions to qualify as subject matter eligible for patent protection under Section 101. The Federal Circuit has found an inventive concept in several such cases.
The issue faced by the EU High Court was whether shape and color of Louboutin’s mark could be separated under the circumstances; i.e., whether color applied to the sole of a high-heeled shoe is essentially a “shape” mark within the meaning of the EU trademark law. The EU High Court found in favor of Louboutin, pointing out that Louboutin did not seek to protect a particular shape, but the application of a color to a specific part of a high heeled shoe.