Overview

Chris Bussert has more than 30 years of experience in helping clients protect and defend their most important assets and brands. Mr. Bussert represents clients in trademark, franchise, copyright, and unfair competition litigation, including proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and in licensing and trademark clearance and prosecution matters.

Mr. Bussert was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Franchise Law, Intellectual Property Litigation and Trademark Law in 2019 and the 12 years immediately preceding, and was also named a 2015 "Atlanta Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Franchise Law by The Best Lawyers in America®. He was listed in “The Trademark Experts’ Experts” by World Trademark Review, and was selected in World Trademark Review's inaugural guide to the top 1,000 trademark practitioners in the world. He is also listed in the "International Who’s Who of Trademark Lawyers", the "International Who’s Who of Franchise Lawyers", and the "International Who's Who of Business Lawyers" by Law Business Research Ltd. He was named a 2008 Georgia "Super Lawyer" in the areas of Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property Litigation and Franchise/Dealership Law by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. Bussert has been recognized as one of Georgia Trend's 2012 “Legal Elite” for Intellectual Property Law. In 2010, and again in 2018 and the three years immediately preceding, he was named a "Legal Eagle" by Franchise Times and was named by Legal Media Group to the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Guide to the World's Leading Trademark Lawyers. He was listed in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of Chambers USA for Franchising and was also ranked nationally for Franchising in the 2017 and 2018 editions. Mr. Bussert is a recipient of the 2016 Client Choice Award USA & Canada in the Intellectual Property - Trademarks category for Georgia from Lexology and the International Law Office (ILO). He received the 2010 University of Toledo College of Law Distinguished Alumnus Award. Mr. Bussert is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell.*

* CV, BV, and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedure's standards and policies.

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Experience

Represented Dwyer Group concept Glass Doctor. Successfully defended claim made by a former franchisee that the parties’ dispute must be arbitrated. Synergistic International, Inc. v. Monaghan, 2013 WL 5587269 (C.D. Ill. Oct. 10, 2013).

Defended Network Communications Inc., a national publishing company, in a trademark infringement action. Obtained summary judgment that the plaintiff’s mark was generic. New Homefinders Inc. v. Network Communications Inc., No. 06-0442 (N.D. TX filed Feb. 26, 2008).

Represented the National Football League in 1994 and 2000 in connection with obtaining multi-county preliminary injunction and seizure orders in connection with anticipated counterfeiting activities at Super Bowl XXXIV and XXVIII. National Football League Properties, Inc., St. Louis Rams Partnership and Tennessee Football, L.P. v. Does 1 through 100 (Fulton Co. Sup. Ct. 1994, 2000).

Represented Abatement Technologies Inc., manufacturer of negative air machines used for asbestos removal, in an action brought by a competitor based on misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. Obtained summary judgment on all claims asserted by the competitor.

Represented Roosevelt Thomas & Associates, a national diversity consulting firm, with negotiating license agreements with a number of global Fortune 500 companies to use the consulting firm’s copyrighted materials.

Represented Dwyer Group concept Glass Doctor. Obtained a preliminary injunction against infringer. Synergistic International Inc. v. Windshield Doctor, Inc., 2003 WL 21468568 (C.D. Cal. April 28, 2003).

Represented the Callaway Gardens Resort in connection with negotiating license agreements involving the organization’s nationally recognized CALLAWAY and CALLAWAY GARDENS brands.

Represented Tandy Corporation, in connection with a license agreement between RadioShack and Cartoon Network, a Time Warner subsidiary, to allow RadioShack to use certain Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters in a national advertising campaign.

Represented Two Men and a Truck. Obtained a preliminary and permanent injunction against an infringer and an award of attorney’s fees. Two Men and a Truck/International, Inc. v. Robert Lee Thomas, et al., 908 F. Supp. 2d 1029 (D. Neb. Nov. 7, 2012).

Represented a national steakhouse franchisor against a third party operating under a confusingly similar mark. Obtained a permanent injunction and an award of the infringer’s profits on behalf of the franchisor.

Achieved a win on behalf of our client, The Dwyer Group and specifically its Mr. Appliance subsidiary, against Woodrow and Deborah Holloway, former Mr. Appliance franchisees, and The Appliance Doctor of Central Alabama, an appliance repair business operated by the Holloways. The Holloways were accused of violating their franchise agreements post-term non-compete provision and violating other obligations of their franchise agreement by failing to assign to Mr. Appliance their former MR. APPLIANCE telephone numbers. After a bench trial, we obtained a permanent injunction enforcing the non-compete provision to its full extent, an assignment of the Holloways’ former MR. APPLIANCE telephone numbers and award of attorneys’ fee. Mr. Appliance Corp. v. Woodrow Holloway et al., No. 6-004 (W.D. Tex. filed Jan. 7, 2010).

Represented an international industrial products manufacturer in negotiating an updated worldwide license agreement with another international industrial products manufacturer.

Represented the National Football League and the New Orleans Saints in a trademark dispute involving rights in and to the designation “Who Dat”.
Represented the National Football League in rolling out a co-branding license program involving a wide variety of products. Who Dat?, Inc. v. NFL Properties LLC, et al., Case No. 2:10-CV-02296-CJB-KWR (E.D. La.).

Represented the National Football League and Atlanta Falcons in a trademark dispute involving rights in and to the “Dirty Bird” mark. Alan Weiss v. National Football League Properties, Inc. and Logo Athletic, Inc. and The Five Smiths, Inc. d/b/a The Atlanta Falcons, Case No. 1:99-CV-0928-RLV (N.D. Ga.).

Represented The Science and Technology Museum of Atlanta Inc. in negotiating a license with Discovery Communications regarding use of the “SCITREK” mark.

Represented an international medical products manufacturer in a cross license agreement with an international competitor with respect to worldwide rights in and to an identical mark used by each party.

Obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of a national automobile painting franchisor against a former franchisee enforcing the franchise agreement’s post-termination noncompete provisions.

Represented Harley-Davidson in obtaining a multi-county preliminary injunction and seizure order in connection with anticipated counterfeiting activities during its 100th Anniversary Open Road Tour. Harley-Davidson Motor Co. Group, et al. v. John Does, et al., No. 02-2003 (N.D. Ga. filed July 18, 2002).

Achieved a win on behalf of our client, The Dwyer Group, and specifically its Mr. Electric subsidiary, against Alber Electric, a business operated by a former MR. ELECTRIC franchisee that was accused of trademark infringement and unfair competition. After a bench trial, we obtained a permanent injunction and an award of the infringer's profits. Subsequently, obtained summary judgment against Khalil for his part of the infringement and later an award of attorney's fees. Mr. Electric Corp. v. Reiad Khalil, et. al., No. 2:06-cv-02414-CM-GLR (D. Kan. 2009). Mr. Electric Corp. v. Khalil, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15723 (D. Kan. Feb. 6, 2013) and Mr. Electric v. Khalil, Bus. Franchise Guide (CCH) 15176 (D. Kan. Oct. 16, 2013).

Successfully defended a national haircutting franchisor against former franchisees’ fraud and breach of contract claims in arbitration.

Lead counsel for Two Men and A Truck. Successfully enforced right of first refusal to purchase trademark. Eliminated geographic concurrent restriction on company’s service mark registrations and created national trademark right. Two Men and A Truck Int'l, Inc. v. David Underwood, et. al., No. 11-00598 (E.D. Va. filed June 1, 2011).

Represented Gladys Knight in a dispute involving a former licensee’s right to use her name in connection with a national restaurant chain. Secured a permanent injunction preventing the use of her name by the former licensee. Gladys Knight-McDowell v. Rival Group, LLC, Cascade Foods, LLC, Granite Foods, LLC, and Shanga Hankerson, (N.D. Ga. August 29, 2016) and State of Georgia, ex rel. Tracy Graham Lawson, District Attorney for Clayton Judicial Circuit v. Shanga Hankerson, et al., (Clayton County, Georgia, July 22, 2016).

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Education

University of Toledo, J.D. (1983) magna cum laude, Order of the Coif

Kalamazoo College, B.A., Biology (1978)

Admissions

Georgia (1986)

Indiana (1983)

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (1986)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (1992)

Supreme Court of Georgia (1995)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (2005)

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (2005)

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Professional & Community Activities

ABA Forum on Franchising, Former Governing Committee, Member, Co-Chair 2016 Annual Meeting – Miami Beach, Florida (2016)

The Franchise Law Journal, Former Editor-in-Chief

The Intellectual Property Strategist, Editor

The Trademark Reporter, Former Editor

The International Trademark Association (INTA), ADR Outreach Subcommittee Chair (2009 - 2011), ADR Law Firm Outreach Subcommittee Chair (2007 - 2009), Annual Meeting, Past Chair (2004), Information Resources Committee, Past Chair, Vice-Chair and Subcommittee Chair (1997 - 2003)

Kalamazoo College, Board of Trustees, Former Member, and Alumni Association Executive Board, Past President

University of Toledo College of Law, Dean’s Advisory Council

United States Tennis Association - Georgia, Investment Committee, Member (Since 2013)

United States Tennis Association - Georgia, Area Representative (Since 2015)

United States Tennis Association - Georgia, Adult Competition Committee, Chair (Since 2017)

Georgia Senior Cup Team, Captain (Since 2017)

USA Gordon Trophy, International Team (Since 2016), Men’s 60s, Captain (2017)

Georgia State College of Law, Past Adjunct Professor

University of Georgia, Lecturer

University of Toledo College of Law, Lecturer

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