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Dobrusin Attorneys Named 2018 Michigan Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 

The Dobrusin Law Firm, PC, Michigan’s leading intellectual property law firm, is pleased to announce that Eric Dobrusin has been included on the 2018 list of Michigan Super Lawyers and Daniel Aleksynas, Paul Palinski, Kristen Pursley, and Daniela Walters have been named to the list of Rising Stars for 2018. This is a repeat honor for all five attorneys.  

  • Eric concentrates his practice in patent counseling and strategic patent prosecution, with particular emphasis in the fields of materials science (including plastics, ceramics, metals and electronic materials), biomedical technologies, and automotive technologies.  
  • Daniel represents a broad range of clients from startup companies that are beginning to develop their intellectual property to companies that have well-established portfolios. 
  • Paul concentrates his practice in patent counseling and strategic patent prosecution, with particular emphasis in the mechanical, electromechanical, and biomedical technologies.  
  • Kristen represents clients who are tier-one suppliers for the automotive industry, medical diagnostic and device manufacturers, and consumer product and packaging producers. 
  • Daniela is a patent attorney, who prior to practicing law and joining the Firm, was an engineer in the automotive industry. 

Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding attorneys from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rising Stars are the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state – those who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing law for 10 years or less. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are named Super Lawyers, while only two and a half percent are named Rising Stars.  

Selections for this list are made by the research team at Super Lawyers, an affiliate of Thomson Reuters. The multi-phase selection process includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent evaluation of candidates by the attorney-led research staff, and a peer review.  

Dobrusin Law Firm Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America©

The Dobrusin Law Firm is pleased to announce that Eric DobrusinDan Aleksynas, and Kristen Pursley have been selected for inclusion in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©. 

Mr. Dobrusin, a founder and shareholder of the firm, has more than twenty-five years of experience in intellectual property law. He focuses his practice in patent counseling and strategic patent prosecution, with particular emphasis in the fields of materials science, biomedical technologies, and automotive technologies. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers each year since 2007. 

Mr. Aleksynas, also a shareholder, prosecutes domestic patent applications before the U.S. Patent & Trademark as well as applications filed internationally, with an emphasis on automotive technologies and medical devices. He initially appeared in the Best Lawyers 2017 edition. 

Ms. Pursley is the firm’s managing shareholder and represents tier-one automotive suppliers, medical diagnostic and device manufacturers, and consumer product and packaging producers in intellectual property matters. She has been included on the Best Lawyers list annually since 2016. 

The three attorneys are also the co-authors (along with Ronald Krasnow) of Intellectual Property Culture: Strategy & Compliance, published Lexis-Nexis/Matthew Bender.  

Congratulations Eric, Dan, and Kristen! 

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: www.artandsouldreams.org.

Art and Soul Dreams

 

Supreme Court Decision Raises Questions About the Authority of USPTO Administrative Judges

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the authority of illegally appointed administrative judges, and though the decision did not speak to questionable appointments at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), there may be implications for individuals and organizations holding, prosecuting, and protecting patents.

Lucia and the Appointments Clause

In Lucia v. Securities Exchange Commission, Raymond Lucia with charged with violating particular securities laws. Cameron Elliot, an administrative law judge (ALJ) with the SEC, was assigned to adjudicate the case and later imposed sanctions against Lucia. Lucia appealed the decision, claiming that the administrative proceeding was invalid because Elliot had not been “constitutionally appointed” pursuant to the Appointments Clause in Article II of the U.S. Constitution:

“[The President] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint… judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for….”

Lucia argued that SEC ALJs are “Officers of the United States” and only the President, “Courts of Law,” or “Heads of Departments” can appoint such them – none of whom appointed Elliot. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where seven of the nine justices agreed, finding that, although SEC ALJs are “Officers of the United States,” Elliot lacked authority and overturning the sanctions against Lucia.

The Appointments Clause and the USPTO

Why does the Lucia decision pose any threat to the authority of administrative law judges at the USPTO? Consider the impact if Lucia applies equally to the USPTO, the SEC, and other federal agencies.

When the result of a patent examination is unfavorable to the Applicant, the Applicant may appeal the Examiner’s decision to the Patent Trial & Appeals Board (PTAB), which then reviews the case and issues a binding decision. Within the PTAB’s branched hierarchal structure, the first tier includes a Chief Administrative Patent Judge (Chief Judge) and Deputy Chief Judge who decide petitions or may delegate authority to decide petitions. The second tier has two divisions of judges and attorneys led by a Vice Chief Judge, and under them are a variety of judges in different “sections.” each focusing on certain technical disciplines.

It is well established that the Director of the USPTO is an officer appointed by the President, consistent with the edicts of the Appointment Clause, and the U.S. Patent Act mandates states that “administrative patent judges shall be persons of competent legal knowledge and scientific ability who are appointed by the Secretary [of Commerce], in consultation with the Director.”

In Lucia, the Supreme Court found that SEC administrative judges are officers (rather than employees) and thus subject to the Appointments Clause. The Court identified that to qualify as an officer, an individual must (1) occupy a “continuing position established by law”; and (2) exercise “significant authority” pursuant to the laws of the U.S., according to the case law precedents.

It would seem that PTAB judges qualify as officers since they both occupy a continuing position, the position is established by law, and the judges have significant authority in the ability to make final rulings on the intellectual property rights of U.S. citizens. Furthermore, the function of PTAB judges substantially mirrors the qualities of SEC administrative judges as described in Lucia.

Are PTAB Administrative Judges “Inferior” or “Principal” Officers?

A subsequent provision in the Appointments Clause specifically references “inferior” officers, and gives Congress the legal authority, by statute, to delegate the power to appoint only inferior Officers to heads of departments (i.e., the Secretary of Commerce):

“Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.”

While there has been generally sparse instruction on how to draw the distinction, Intercollegiate Broadcasting v. CRB, a Federal Circuit case, summarized three factors relevant to the inferior versus principal inquiry:

(1) the degree of supervision over the officer in question by a principal officer or those in the principal officer’s supervisory line; (2) whether the officer in question is removable without cause; and (3) whether the decisions rendered by the officer in question are reversible.

An example of how these criteria are considered can be found in Estes v. U.S. Dept. of the Treasury, which ruled that the three factors are not weighted independently and equally – strength in one can offset weakness in another. For instance “the power to remove officers… is a powerful tool for control” (indicating an inferior officer) and overpowers other factors such as an officer who maintains a high degree of autonomy (evidence tending to suggest a principal officer).

Degree of Supervision: It is unclear how the Secretary of Commerce supervises or directs the decisions of the Chief Judge, if at all. It is also unclear to what extent decision making is delegated. Considering the volume of cases, the degree of technical skill required of a judge, the number of judges and attorneys, and the level of hierarchical fractioning, it would seem nearly impossible for the Secretary of Commerce to exert any substantive control over the operation of the PTAB. Thus, it is probably safe to say that PTAB judges lean strongly toward the side of principal officers as they exercise a high level of independence.

Removable Without Cause: Although USPTO employment policies regarding PTAB judges are not helpful, it is safe to assume that the judges, who are chosen internally from Examiners or from extensively experienced legal patent professionals, would not be treated as expendable employees or dismissible without cause. The requisite skill required of these judges suggests that the USPTO does not have an appreciably large pool of applicants to draw from – hinting at an organizational aversion to turnover.

In Question or Reversible Decisions: Decisions regarding petitions are final within the USPTO. Applicants may seek post-decision relief in an appeal to the Federal Circuit. While technically, PTAB judge decisions are “reversible” on appeal, even federal district and circuit court judges’ decisions are appealable to a higher authority (both types of judges are appointed by the President). Thus, the fact that a PTAB judge’s decision can be appealed to a federal district court does not seem like a disqualifying characteristic for being considered a principal officer. “In question or reversible” likely refers to whether the bona fide principal officer (the Director or the Secretary of Commerce) can alter the decision of a PTAB judge. As it stands at the USPTO, the Director nor the Secretary of Commerce has any such power.

The Big Picture

As clarified by Lucia, PTAB judges are likely officers, and under the Intercollegiate framework, they are likely principal officers. Thus, there is a very strong argument that the Patent Act illegally confers the appointment of administrative patent judges to the Secretary of Commerce where their appointments should only flow from the President.

Lucia made waves in the arena of administrative law and those waves may splash over into the hallways of the USPTO. A Supreme Court ruling like Lucia will surely embolden those eagerly waiting for the opportune time to bring suit. What chaos might follow such a paradigm shift? The Court in Lucia overturned the decision of the SEC administrative judge so the likely result of a constitutional challenge of the Patent Act would be a whole host of invalidated decisions and retrials by properly appointed PTAB judges.

– by Eric Hydorn

THE DOBRUSIN LAW FIRM ANNOUNCES SHAREHOLDER AND SENIOR COUNSEL APPOINTMENTS

Pontiac, MI – The Dobrusin Law Firm, PC, Michigan’s leading intellectual property law firm announced the appointment of Katherine M. Pacynski and Paul J. Palinski to firm shareholders.  Dr. Terry Finerman has also been promoted to Senior Counsel.

“We are thrilled that Katie, Paul and Terry have stepped into these important roles on our team,” said Kristen L. Pursley, shareholder, The Dobrusin Law Firm.  “Their dedication to our clients and invaluable expertise have been an important factor in the growth of our firm.”

The attorneys of The Dobrusin Law Firm, PC, provide strategic counsel in intellectual property law, including patent, trademark, copyright, unfair competition.  The Dobrusin Law Firm is a boutique intellectual property law firm, and works with Fortune 500, mid-size manufacturing firms, and start-up technology companies, which seek to accelerate business value through technology. The firm is located in a historic building in downtown Pontiac, Michigan

About Katherine Pacynski
Ms. Pacynski’s law practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications, filed in the U.S. and internationally, for a variety of technologies, with a number of clients involved in the chemical arts and the automotive industry.  Ms. Pacynski is the Recording Secretary of the Women’s Bar Association, a member of the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court, and a member of the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. She is a resident of Farmington Hills, Michigan.

About Paul Palinski
Mr. Palinksi concentrates his practice in patent counseling and strategic patent prosecution, with particular emphasis in the mechanical, electromechanical, and biomedical technologies. He represents a broad list of clients ranging from multi-national companies to individual inventors. Mr. Palinski is a resident of Grosse Pointe, Michigan.

About Mr. Finerman
Dr. Finerman joined The Dobrusin Law Firm in 2006 as a Staff Scientist. As a Registered Patent Attorney, he is currently preparing and processing patent applications, primarily in materials science, polymers science, chemistry and related fields, as well as assisting in other intellectual property research matters. Mr. Finerman is a resident of Rochester, Michigan.

Source: http://members.automationalley.com/news/details/the-dobrusin-law-firm-announces-shareholder-and-senior-counsel-appointments-02-20-2018

Law firm recognized for efforts to improve downtown Pontiac

Practicing intellectual property law for more than 13 years in Pontiac, The Dobrusin Law Firm recently was recognized for its commitment to improving the city’s downtown community.

The City of Pontiac, Downtown Pontiac Business Association, and Main Street Pontiac recently presented The Dobrusin Law Firm with their Partner Award at the Pontiac Community Awards dinner, honoring its dedication to improving the downtown community. The Partner Award honors those companies in or around Pontiac that leverage their time and resources to improve the 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 active involvement of their employees in a myriad of organizations within the community.

“As our firm is one the ‘pioneers’ which has made Pontiac our home for many years, we are very proud to receive this meaningful award,” said founding shareholder Eric Dobrusin. “I am extremely proud of our team for receiving this award and for their many community efforts and achievements.”

An example of their involvement includes the recent election of attorney Daniela Walters, to president of Main Street Pontiac, a soon-to-be granted 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that works with the City of Pontiac government, Oakland County Economic Development, and the Pontiac Downtown Business Association.

Additionally, Eric Dobrusin, was honored by the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition with its Community Courage Award for his work to positively impact the city, including with the Oakland University / Pontiac Initiative Early Childhood Group. Presented at its annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon, the award was presented to Dobrusin by a coalition of Oakland County individuals, community groups, businesses, politicians and clergy who have come together to strengthen the Pontiac community.

The Dobrusin Law Firm is a boutique intellectual property law firm, and works with Fortune 500, mid-size manufacturing firms, and start-up technology companies, which seek to accelerate business value through technology.

Source: LegalNews.com: http://legalnews.com/detroit/1455005/

 

Aleksynas, Pursley Recently Honored

  1. Dan Aleksynas was one of 30 attorneys named as an Up & Coming Lawyer 2017 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. For more information, click here
  2. Kristen Pursley was recognized in Crain’s Detroit Business as part of the Notable Women Lawyers in Michigan 2017. For more information, click here

Dobrusin Law Firm sponsors day of-service for humble design

The Dobrusin Law Firm was proud to sponsor a Day of Service with Humble Design on October 20, 2017. Dobrusin employees teamed up with members of the Women’s Bar Association to clean, furnish, and decorate a home for a family. It was a great day for a very worthy cause!

Joseph L. Kallie joins the dobrusin law firm PC as associate

The Dobrusin Law Firm, PC, Michigan’s leading intellectual property law firm announced the appointment of Joseph L. Kallie to Associate. Mr. Kallie’s practice focuses on preparing and prosecuting patent applications in mechanical, electromechanical, and biomedical arts.

Aleksynas Elected Council Member

The Dobrusin Law Firm is pleased to announce that Shareholder Daniel P. Aleksynas was recently elected a council member of the State Bar of Michigan Intellectual Property Law Section, with his term set to run through 2019.

Contact Information

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

Phone: 248-292-3988
Fax: 248-292-2910
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