Courtland Merrill is a trial attorney whose practice focuses exclusively on business and intellectual property disputes.
His litigation experience includes trials and appeals of contract disputes, enforcement of patent and other intellectual property rights, claims for trade secret misappropriation, and litigation of non-compete agreements, among other matters.
As lead trial counsel, Courtland won a $1.85 million jury verdict for his client, Circuit Check, Inc., following a 4-day trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Circuit Check brought claims against competitor QXQ, Inc. for infringement of patents related to circuit board test fixtures. After deliberating less than three hours, the jury rejected QXQ’s obviousness defense, found infringement was willful, and awarded Circuit Check $1.85 million in lost profits and reasonable royalties. Later, however, the district court set aside the jury’s verdict, concluding that Circuit Check’s patents were invalid because the invention would have been obvious to even a “caveman.” Courtland argued the appeal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The appellate court reversed the district judge in Wisconsin and reinstated the jury’s verdict in favor of Circuit Check. See Circuit Check, Inc. v. QXQ, Inc., 795 F.3d 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The national legal publication Law360 identified Courtland as a “Legal Lion” as a result of his work on the Circuit Check case.
In a separate matter, Courtland obtained summary judgment of non-infringement on behalf of his client in two separate patent cases involving particle detecting technology. In the first case, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted Courtland’s client summary judgment that it did not infringe one patent. In a second case, the Central District of California ruled that Courtland’s client also did not infringe four additional patents asserted by the same plaintiff. Both district courts determined that each case was “exceptional” and awarded Courtland’s client its attorneys’ fees.
Courtland joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in 2008. He has been repeatedly selected to the “Rising Star” list by Super Lawyers, and he has also been selected to the exclusive list of “Future Stars” by Benchmark Litigation.
Represented plaintiff Sutura against Abbott Labs in litigation of nine patents covering vascular closure technology. Recovered $23 million settlement on behalf of client.
Obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendants, personal guarantors of $13 million loan. The district court ruled defendants had no liability to the bank under the asserted guaranty.
Represented plaintiff in the recovery of $25 million in insurance proceeds, as well as additional bad faith damages of $15-40 million, against AIG subsidiary. The case was satisfactorily and confidentially resolved just before trial in May 2011.
Defended dental products manufacturer in patent litigation involving composite dental filling technology. Obtained judgment of non-infringement. Awarded $128,000 in attorney’s fees.
Represented plaintiff, the manufacturer of metal DVD/Blu-ray packaging, against competitor for design patent and trade dress infringement. Secured preliminary injunction and subsequent settlement barring further sales of competitor’s infringing products.
Defended Cardiovascular Systems and individual sale representatives against claims by ev3 for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference. Successfully compelled arbitration of claims against sales representatives.
Member, Hennepin County Bar Association
Member, Federal Bar Association
Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association
Member, Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association
Oil States v. Greene's Energy: Will Justice Gorsuch Make Patent Litigation Great Again? Attorney at Law Magazine - Minnesota Edition, January 2018
SCOTUS Re-Evaluation of Venue Could End Alleged Forum Shopping in Patent Cases, Attorney at Law Magazine - Minnesota Edition, May 2017
Patent Jury Trials: Do Administrative Proceedings at the U.S. Patent Office Undermine Patent Owners' Right to a Jury? Minnesota Lawyer - Sponsored Blog, October 2016
The Rise and Fall of Business Method Patents, Attorney at Law Magazine - Minnesota Edition, April 2015
How to Win a Patent Case (or Any Complex Litigation) without Your Client Going Broke, Attorney at Law Magazine - Minnesota Edition, June 2014
Cheap, Powerful Patent Protection: What You Need To Know About Design Patents, Attorney at Law Magazine - Minnesota Edition, June 2013 (co-authored with Michael B. Lasky)
Expert Witness Disclosures: How to Comply and Avoid Exclusion, Bench & Bar of Minnesota, April 2008
New Developments in Non-Compete and Tortious Interference Litigation, Minnesota CLE Employment Law Series (October 1, 2015).