The Dobrusin Law Firm - Intellectual Property

Strategic Intellectual Property Law

Category: In the Community

Daniela Walters Presents Seminar on IP for Small Businesses at the Build Institute

Launched in 2012, the Build Institute helps people turn their business ideas into reality by providing them with the necessary tools, resources, educational programming, and a support network in Detroit. More than 1,800 aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs have now graduated from the program, many of whom have started successful ventures in the city.

Recently, Build Institute launched a Build Basics course in downtown Pontiac in partnership with T. Ramsey & Associates and Pontiac Policy Council focused on serving the entrepreneurial community in the Pontiac area.

On October 12, 2019, shareholder Daniela Walters presented at Build Basics about intellectual property matters small businesses often encounter. During the seminar, Daniela addressed issues that arise involving patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Daniela is a frequent speaker on IP issues to startup audiences and is active in the Metro Detroit business community. She is the co-founder and President of Main Street Pontiac and a member of Leadership Oakland’s LOXXX Cornerstone Class. Daniela recently received Main Street Oakland County’s Community Influencer Award and was named to Oakland County Executive’s “Elite 40 Under 40.”

Photo Credit: T Ramsey & Associates


The Dobrusin Law Firm Sponsors LO Palooza to Raise Funds for Special Needs Recreational Spaces

On September 14, the Dobrusin Law Firm proudly sponsored LO Palooza 2019, an all-day music festival that raises funds for special needs recreational spaces in Orion Township. During its six-year history, the event has paid for improvements large and small, including wheelchair swings, adaptive playground equipment, and North Oakland’s Miracle Field, a fully inclusive and accessible baseball field. Sawyer Fredericks, the winner of season 8 of NBC’s “The Voice,” headlined this year’s line-up of performers.

“Our community comes together for this event, and it’s remarkable to witness the impact LO Palooza makes on so many people and their families,” said Becky Wilson, a shareholder at the Dobrusin Law Firm. “Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan help make a positive difference in how our kids experience sports and recreation. Everyone is extremely grateful.”

In addition to the firm’s financial support, Becky volunteered at the event. She has also worked on several pro bono tasks for The Daisy Project.

Although the dust has barely settled after LO Palooza 2019, it’s not too soon to think about your plans for September 19, 2020. Mark your calendars for a fantastic day of musical entertainment, food trucks, and vendors. You won’t want to miss it!


The Dobrusin Law Firm Sponsors and Participates in the 4th Annual Ride 2 End Suicide

Now in its fourth year, the Ride 2 End Suicide brings together suicide survivors, their families, friends, supporters, and local biking enthusiasts to raise awareness about health and recovery and to raise money for life-saving suicide prevention programs.  The ride also honors the legacy of Marie Jozefiak, the inspiration for the annual bike event.

The Dobrusin Law Firm proudly sponsored this year’s event and also supported senior counsel Terry Finerman and building services manager Jim Luckhardt as they pedaled the 30-mile route with 300 other riders on September 7th.

Funds raised during the ride will assist KnowResolve and Common Ground. Both non-profit organizations provide suicide awareness and prevention services to the community, connect people struggling with available resources, and provide education, support, and crisis intervention programs.

KnowResolve recently established The Shed, a new community center located in Shelby Township for teens, by teens, with programs that focus on the arts with music, poetry readings, storytelling, open mic nights, art and photography exhibits, classes, and workshops. The center also offers support groups and drop-in counseling, as well as yoga, meditation, and restorative practices.

The Dobrusin Law Firm Proudly Sponsors LO Palooza, the Year’s Not-to-be-Missed Event!

If your end-of-summer plans don’t include LO Palooza, be sure to shuffle your schedule and join the Dobrusin Law Firm on September 14 for a fabulous day of live music, food trucks, face painting, and a fierce corn hole competition!

Now in its sixth year, LO Palooza is a joint effort between Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan.  The event has helped fund significant improvements to area playgrounds and parks, including wheelchair swings, special playground equipment, and beach mats that enable wheelchairs to navigate sand and terrain that is otherwise inaccessible. Proceeds from this year’s event will help further adapt North Oakland’s Miracle Field, Michigan’s first baseball field for children with physical or cognitive disabilities.

LO Palooza will be held at the Wildwood Amphitheater and begins at noon.  Seven bands are scheduled throughout the day and into the evening, with food and beverages available to purchase from three food truck vendors and a beer tent. Admission is $15 per person if purchased online ($20 at the gate), and children under the age of 12 enter for free!

With the event just around the corner, there are still volunteer opportunities available. Click here to learn how you can help.

The Dobrusin Law Firm Helps Inspire the Pontiac Arts Scene

We are pleased to once again support Canvas Pontiac, a Main Street Pontiac initiative that brings the arts to downtown Pontiac and inspires the community.

Now in its seventh year, Canvas Pontiac is a collaborative effort with the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and the Pontiac Arts Commission.  The program invites artists from around the globe to submit and display their work in photography and handcraft mediums. Additionally, the program includes a scholastic category for Pontiac High School and International Technology Academy students.

The Dobrusin Law Firm is a proud sponsor and an active partner in Canvas Pontiac, with coordination and planning executed by the Firm’s Community Outreach Coordinator Marijayne Renny and shareholder Daniela Walters. Submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges with diverse art backgrounds – including Marijayne and three-time finalist Franklin Dobrusin – who considered more than 150 entries, ultimately selecting the top 25 submissions.

The final 25 selections were debuted at Fete de l’Art, a kickoff event presented by the DIA and hosted by Main Street Pontiac, and are now showcased on 8’x10’ canvases installed on various buildings throughout the downtown, creating an outdoor walking gallery and adding additional interest and aesthetic appeal. An estimated 18,000 commuters and visitors walking the streets of downtown Pontiac will see the new canvases.  The artists enjoy the opportunity for increased exposure and the top three artists in each category received a cash prize.

The Dobrusin Law Firm was delighted to work with Main Street Pontiac and the Pontiac Arts Commission to co-sponsor this important community program with the DIA, The Treasury, and McLaren Oakland. We invite you to walk the tour, celebrate this year’s winners, and support the arts in Pontiac. Click here to learn more.

Good Times at the Phoenix Derby Races!

What a great day it was at the 2019 Phoenix Derby Races!

Area middle and high school STEAM students put their minds to work to engineer and build the fastest wooden gravity-powered cars in Pontiac. Races for the checkered flag were hard-fought and the celebrations were well-earned by the students and their professional STEAM collaborators and mentors.

Speeding past the finish line first was team “Burnt Toast,” consisting of middle schoolers, with teams “City Girls” and “Missing Partz” as close second- and third-place finishers, respectively. A total of ten student teams participated in the student portion of the event.

At the conclusion of the student races, Main Street Pontiac, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the City of Pontiac government, Oakland County Economic Development, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association, awarded $1,000 scholarships to Shar’Day Hardiman, Jouchee Yang, and Rebecca Murray (pictured above) – three students intent on pursuing post-secondary educations in STEAM fields. The scholarships were made possible through sponsorship by McLaren Oakland, General Motors Pontiac Engineering Center, The Dobrusin Law Firm, and Main Street Pontiac.

The day-long event was topped off by friendly adult-bracket races. Competition for the fastest car was fierce, but in some races, winning had as much to do with speed as it did with style. Either way, efforts in both categories were impressive and entertaining! The top teams included independent racer Nick Walters and Dobrusin’s downtown business neighbors LocalHop and First Presbyterian Church of Pontiac.

Now in its second year, the Phoenix Derby Races are made possible through significant involvement from our community neighbors and partners. Special thanks to Dobrusin Law Firm shareholder Daniela Walters and Community Outreach Coordinator Marijayne Renny, two of the event’s primary coordinators. In addition to The Dobrusin Law Firm, sponsors and partners included:

  • General Motors Pontiac Engineering Center
  • DASI Solutions
  • M1 Concourse
  • Genisys Credit Union
  • Alley Cat Café
  • Marriott of Auburn Hills and Pontiac
  • The City of Pontiac
  • Pontiac Regional Chamber
  • Harmony Healing
  • Honor Community Health
  • LocalHop

Thank you to everyone for making the Phoenix Derby Races such a great educational and family-friendly event. We look forward to next year’s competition!

Dobrusin Law Firm Holds Open House During Automation Alley Walking Tour of Pontiac Businesses

Community engagement is an important part of the Dobrusin Law Firm’s culture, and as a proud member of the Pontiac business community, we opened our doors to the public during a downtown walking tour organized by Automation Alley and DASI Solutions.

The June 13th “Morning Member Mingle” showcased Pontiac’s growth and innovation against a backdrop of its renovated historical buildings. Visitors were first welcomed to the Mingle at a breakfast networking session at The Lafayette Grande Banquet Facility with presentations from each of the participating businesses. Dobrusin Law Firm’s Daniela Walters spoke to the audience about the firm’s decision to move into Downtown Pontiac more than 15 years ago and the importance of being engaged in the local community with organizations like Main Street Pontiac. After the breakfast, visitors took part in an open house walking tour, where conversations continued about the region’s continued rebirth and the roles technology and manufacturing have played in its renaissance.

Other businesses that participated in the Pontiac Tech Walking Tour included:

  • Cynerge Consulting
  • DASI Solutions
  • FIRST Robotics Team 0469
  • General Motors
  • Kevadiya
  • The Lafayette Grande
  • LocalHop
  • The Next Foundation
  • Paissa Wine Cellar
  • PC Miracle
  • Pike Street Properties – Opportunity Zone
  • Pontiac’s Little Art Theatre
  • Pontiac Surveillance Group
  • Pontiac Transportation Museum
  • The Riker Building
  • The Treasury

It was our pleasure to join with fellow Pontiac-area neighbors, and we look forward to committing future resources to the city. Click here to learn more about Pontiac’s growing tech scene and ways you and your organization can get involved.

Photo Courtesy of DASI Solutions
Photo Courtesy of Automation Alley

Kristen Pursley Helps With Pitch Competition for Social Entrepreneurs

The Dobrusin Law Firm’s Kristen Pursley reviewed submissions for the Empower Change MI pitch competition to support aspiring women entrepreneurs launching and growing social venture enterprises in the region. The Empower Change MI initiative is a collaboration between the Michigan Women’s Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund.

Social enterprises seeking startup or growth funding were invited to submit two-page concept papers and financial overviews by Sept. 15, with the requirement that they exist to solve a real community problem, have a business model that will ultimately be sustainable, and focus on a product or service people will pay for.

The Women’s Foundation secured volunteers, like Kristen, to evaluate and score the concept papers, and divvied the submissions into three categories – ideation, launch, and growth. 

“The women (and a few good men) in this competition are learning how to skillfully blend traditional capitalism with an idea that could change their neighborhood…or even the world,” said Kristen.

Finalists receive educational opportunities, technical assistance, and mentorship to fine-tune their plans in preparation for a February 2019 pitch competition. A panel of judges will choose the winners who will receive cash grants from The Ford Fund.

Theresa Orr a Panel Moderator at Autolex: Autonomous Vehicle Legal Forum

The Dobrusin Law Firm’s Theresa Orr moderated the “Key Opportunities and Concerns for Legal Departments in an Evolving Industry” panel at the Autolex: Autonomous Vehicle Legal Forum, organized by Managing Intellectual Property and Benchmark Litigation in Detroit, Michigan on September 25, 2018. 

At the forum, attendees and presenters discussed the increasing reality of autonomous vehicles on the automotive industry as they continue to disrupt the current landscape.

“Key Opportunities and Concerns for Legal Departments in an Evolving Industry” panel topics included:

  • Legal department do’s and don’ts for unleashing the potential for innovation
  • Opportunities and risks in a robust R&D environment to be “first to market”
  • Fighting the theft of trade secrets
  • Coping with the M&A activity of OEMs
  • Can auto companies monetize features directly? What are the fee models and ‘consumer terms’ likely to look like?

The panelists were: Jason Skinder, global patent counsel, Aptiv; Antun Peakovic, director of IP, Schaeffler; and William Orlewicz, general counsel, Magnum Manufacturing. 

Theresa has 27 years of experience practicing law, including 26 years registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She has experience in prosecution and litigation in all areas of intellectual property, including 10 years’ experience as in-house counsel. For the past three years, she was VP and General Counsel at NSK Americas, Inc. and prior to that was Associate General Counsel there. Prior to that, she had three years as Chief Patent Counsel and General Counsel at HoMedics, Inc., a consumer products company. 

For more information about the forum, click here.

The Dobrusin Law Firm Played an Important Role at 5th Annual LO Palooza

On September 15, The Dobrusin Law Firm served as the official sponsor of LO Palooza’s Green Room, which covered the costs associated with hosting the local artists backstage for this event.

LO Palooza is an all-day music festival held at Wildwood Amphitheater, with food trucks, vendors, a petting zoo, face painting, a rock wall, a beer tent, a bounce house, a corn hole tournament and much more.

The event, a joint effort between Orion Township and The Daisy Project – Michigan, raised money to help complete the construction of Miracle League North Oakland, a fully accessible baseball field. The new field, a custom-designed, synthetic turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assistive devices while helping to prevent injuries, will be located in Friendship Park.

“I like to see the community come together for the common good,” said Becky Wilson, a shareholder at The Dobrusin Law Firm. “Every child deserves to have a chance to enjoy America’s favorite pastime on a team of their own!”

In addition to the firm’s sponsorship, Becky volunteered the day of the event. She’s also worked on a number of pro bono tasks for The Daisy Project – Michigan. 

The Dobrusin Law Firm provides effective strategic advice on issues of patentability, infringement, validity, registerability of trademarks, licensing, confidentiality, employment agreements, noncompetition matters and the procurement of Intellectual Property rights. 

Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Wins Prestigious Kimberly M. Cahill Award

The Women Lawyers Association of Michigan (WLAM) has won the Kimberly M. Cahill Bar Leadership Award for 2018. This award symbolizes excellence in promoting the ideals of professionalism and equal justice for all. 

Accepting the award at the State Bar of Michigan Awards Banquet was the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation‘s (WLAM Foundation) President Kristen Pursley, attorney and shareholder at The Dobrusin Law Firm, and WLAM President Donna MacKenzie of Olsman, MacKenzie, Peacock & Wallace. 

This award is established in memory of Kimberly M. Cahill, president of the State Bar of Michigan (2006-2007). Her volunteer leadership efforts in state and local bar organizations included serving as chairperson of the Representative Assembly, president of the Women Lawyer’s Association of Michigan, and president of the Macomb County Bar Association. 

In 2018, WLAM celebrated 100 years of supporting its mission of securing the full and equal participation of women in the legal profession in furtherance of a just society. Since 1997, the WLAM Foundation has awarded over $610,500 to 252 outstanding women law students attending Michigan law schools. The Foundation will be giving out $35,000 in scholarships this year – including a scholarship endowed by The Dobrusin Law Firm.

Daniela Walters Helps Bring Fast, Family Fun to Downtown with Pontiac Phoenix Races

Daniela Walters, a patent attorney at The Dobrusin Law Firm, and president of Main Street Pontiac, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works with the City of Pontiac government, Oakland County Economic Development, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association, was a driving force behind the inaugural Pontiac Phoenix Races. 

The event, open to Pontiac resident high school students, encouraged kids to form a team, work with mentors to build wooden gravity-powered cars, and race the cars down Wayne and West Lawrence Streets which were closed to traffic, all in one day. There was also a bracket-oriented competition for adults who wanted to join in the fun. The goal of the event was to cultivate comfortable and fun relationships between professionals in STEAM careers with high school students in Pontiac and with one another while also creating scholarships for rising seniors who entered the race. 

“It was wonderful to bring such a popular, old pastime as the derby races to downtown,” said Daniela. “The day was about camaraderie and fostering interest and involvement in STEAM fields – science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics.”

Daniela also gathered a group of law clerks, interns, and attorneys from Dobrusin Law to test build their selected kit. 

Last year, the City of Pontiac, Downtown Pontiac Business Association, and Main Street Pontiac presented The Dobrusin Law Firm with their Partner Award at the Community Awards dinner, honoring its dedication to improving the downtown community. The Dobrusin Law Firm was selected for the Partner Award not only for continuously and reliably sponsoring a number of events over the years, but also for supporting the active involvement of their employees in a myriad of organizations within the community. 

Kristen Pursley to Judge 2018 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge

Managing shareholder Kristen Pursley has been named a judge in the 2018 North American MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC), a platform for recognizing and rewarding organizations that are promoting technology as a vehicle for positive change in a world where automation poses potential challenges for employment. 

The brainchild of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, the IIC was launched two years ago to celebrate businesses and nonprofits around the world that are using technology to solve a grand challenge of our time — to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity by reinventing the future of work in the digital era. This year, the IIC has expanded to a global tournament model, collaborating with partners in five regions — North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Detroit, where MIT has partnered with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, is hosting the challenge’s North American region. 

“Being part of the Pontiac community, we see firsthand what happen when low- and middle- income workers are left behind — or even harmed by advances that otherwise benefit business, economy, and society,” said Kristen. “I am so pleased to be part of this initiative which promotes ‘digital heroes’ – organizations harnessing technology to create a more equitable economy, as we face some of the most disruptive changes in human history.” 

Kristen and other judges will choose 12 regional challenge winners to be acknowledged and awarded cash prizes at the IIC North American Celebration held in Detroit in September. Four regional champions will win $20,000 each and eight finalists will each win $5,000. Following the celebration event, four North American winners will advance to the IIC Global Grand Prize Tournament, hosted at MIT in Cambridge, MA, in October. Four global grand-prize winners, chosen from the regional winners around the world, will be awarded $1 million in prize money.  

Dobrusin Law Firm Joins Forces with Art&Soul Dreams

The Dobrusin Law Firm proudly supports Art&Soul Dreams, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and inspiring adoption of foster children in Michigan. The organization’s mission is to change the culture and create a paradigm shift of how our society views foster children specifically, and the concept generally.

To accomplish this, Art&Soul Dreams has created a traveling photo exhibit of adoptable foster children between the ages of 8-17 that quietly seizes one’s attention, opens hearts, and inspires thoughts and actions from a positive viewpoint. The photos are taken by local recognized photographers with the mission to capture the soul of the child.

This year’s opening reception – a free, family-friendly event – will be held at the Pontiac Creative Arts Center on Saturday, August 18 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The exhibit will continue until the end of the month.

“We are honored and humbled to give back to the community we serve by supporting and strengthening organizations that improve our neighborhoods,” said Katherine Pacynski, a Dobrusin shareholder and Art&Soul Dreams board member. “Art&Soul works tirelessly to augment and enhance the efforts of the foster care facilities in our state through a combination of art and activism.”

Art&Soul Dreams has had success in matching children to their forever families and they are hoping to continue the success through this exhibition and help from others spreading the word. For more information about supporting its important mission, please visit:

Art and Soul Dreams


Contact Information

The Dobrusin Law Firm
29 W. Lawrence St.
Suite 210
Pontiac, MI 48342

Phone: 248-292-2920
Fax: 248-292-2910
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