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Circuit Court
40 N Main, Mount Clemens, MI 48043
(586) 469-5208

Brian D. Wassom

 www.honigman.com

Experience

Copyright

  • Defeated a claim of copyright in digital images used in advertising, on the grounds that the images were not original. This unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals broke new ground by extending established copyright principles to cutting-edge media.  Crain's Detroit Business named Mr. Wassom's victory in the trial court as one of the "Top Verdicts and Settlements" of 2006, and The Colorado Lawyer magazine listed the appellate decision as among the "Top Intellectual Property Cases of 2008."
  • Served as copyright counsel for software company in successful defense against infringement action alleging copying of computer code. Integrated Bar Coding Sys., Co. v. Wemert, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9952 (E.D. Mich. Feb. 12, 2007)
  • Obtained favorable judgment against competitor that copied client's 3-D digital medical animations, see Swarm Interactive, Inc. v. Seaside Data Systems, Inc., No. 1:08-cv-880 (M.D.N.C. May 13, 2009), and used DMacomb Community Action take-down procedures to remove infringing animations from a third-party website. Favorably settled a separate case involving use of client's written materials on competitor's website
  • Provided representation in dozens of lawsuits filed on behalf of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers and its members against commercial establishments for infringing performances of ASCAP members' copyrighted musical works. See, e.g., Gnat Booty Music v. Creative Catering of Wadhams, LLC, 2011 Copyright L. Dec. (CCH) ¶ 30,028 (summary judgment and attorneys' fees); LGL Music v Blue Line, Inc., No. 05-70326, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38938 (E.D. Mich 2005) (won $70,000 judgment against the Flint Generals hockey team) 
  • Advised clients regarding various copyright disputes, including for film studios and advertisers involving use of music, artwork, and similarities between song lyrics and movie scripts; takedowns of infringing content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; and architectural copyrights over building designs 

Trademark

  • Obtained $200,000 judgment and permanent injunction against coffee shop using infringing SEATTLE'S BEST COFFEE marks and logos without permission. Seattle's Best Coffee LLC v. Seattles Corp., No. 10-7463-RGK (C.D. Cal. January 5, 2011)
  • Obtained summary judgment on liability for service mark infringement, unfair competition. and cybersquatting, as well as a permanent injunction, an accounting, and other relief for the plaintiff in Children’s Legal Services PLLC v. Kresch, 545 F.Supp.2d 653 (E.D. Mich. 2008), affirmed, (6th Cir. June 18, 2009). The combined result was to put an end to a nationwide advertising campaign for legal services that infringed on the plaintiff’s family of marks 
  • Won $150,000 judgment (affirmed on appeal) against retailer displaying infringing trademarks
  • Handled litigation in federal and state courts, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and/or UDRP arbitrations for trademark owners who sell computers, sporting goods, IT services, adhesives, toy guns, auto parts, clothing, cell phones, luxury automobiles, religious programming, financing services, phone books, and daycare services, among others

Right of Publicity

  • Part of a team that defeated claims involving the Guitar Hero video game. Romantics v. Activision, 532 F. Supp.2d 884 (E.D. Mich. 2008) (defeating preliminary injunction motion); 574 F. Supp.2d 758 (E.D. Mich. 2008) (summary judgment). In a separate case, won summary judgment against claims involving use of a plaintiff's image in a video game
  • Successfully litigated publicity rights claims in federal and state courts involving photographs of a model, scenes in documentary films, and performances in concert DVDs

Social & Emerging Media

  • Obtained removal of infringing, defamatory, and “revenge porn” content from social media sites, including in new technological circumstances presenting issues of first impression
  • Advised multiple clients on the reach of publicity rights in social media
  • Drafted policies for clients governing social media usage by various constituencies within organizations
  • Represented multiple companies in the Augmented Reality industry
  • Conducted social-media related due diligence for corporate transactions

Media & Entertainment Law

  • Second chair in 10 year litigation that resolved in favor of the "Up in Smoke" Tour; defendants had been accused of eavesdropping for recording their encounter with police and publishing it as a bonus track on the concert DVD. Bowens v. ARY(Mich., Mar. 18, 2011)
  • Second chair and brief writer for lead plaintiff in case that recognized a constitutional right of public access to quasi-judicial administrative proceedings, including deportation hearings of suspected terrorists 
  • Extensive experience litigating theft of satellite TV signal, including the forensic examination of hard drives, subpoena and search of online transaction records, and investigation of email and website use; multiple suits over botched installations of commercial hardware and software
  • More than 10 years of experience representing newspapers, television news stations, and other media outlets in media law issues, including defending against defamation, invasion of privacy, and related claims; access to closed courts and records; challenging denials of Freedom of Information Act claims; undoing gag orders; and defending reporters' privilege to keep sources confidential

Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Represented franchisors and putative franchisors in litigation with various would-be or former franchisees
  • Defended a high-technology manufacturer against breach-of-partnership contract claims valued at $300 million
  • Obtained foreclosure of commercial real estate and $890,000 award of deficiency and fees
  • Successfully challenge to tax forfeiture under Michigan Property Tax Act
  • Sought emergency injunctive relief against automotive suppliers who threaten to disrupt supply chains
  • Defended a vehicle manufacturer against product liability claims stemming from a fatal accident
  • Represented congregations and denominational organizations of various faiths in disputes concerning ownership of houses of worship and disaffiliation of churches from denominations

Admissions

  • Admitted pro hac vice to practice before various U.S. District Courts, including the Central District of California, the District of Columbia, the District of Utah, the Middle District of Florida, the Middle District of North Carolina, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Middle District of Tennessee, the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Florida, the Southern District of New York, the Western District of New York, the Western District of Washington

Click here to view Macomb County Circuit Court ADR application.