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“Just excellent.” That’s how one of Cynthia Weber’s longtime clients describes the 56-year-old trademark specialist at Sughrue Mion. “She’s never lost a case” for us, adds Dennis Ahearn, associate general counsel for intellectual property and technology law at Lockheed Martin Corp. “She knows just about everything I can think of that you need to know in trademarks.” That broad knowledge base helps Weber pursue a diverse practice with a large international component, while also serving as managing partner of Sughrue, a 100-lawyer intellectual property firm, since 2000. “My work is varied, doing a lot of interesting things for a lot of different clients,” she says, including everything “from how to protect a boat hull design to infringement situations to licensing to registration and clearance searches.” In one current case, longtime client Bridgestone Corp. has sued Stamford Tires & Wheels Inc. in North Carolina federal court for trademark infringement. Yasuhiro Takeda, the Tokyo-based director of intellectual property for Bridgestone, writes in an e-mail that “Cindy-san” (using the Japanese honorific) is “indeed one of the best trademark attorneys I have ever seen.” “She has been closely working with us for decades, and provided the best professional service for protecting our corporate brand: Bridgestone. She always gives us her timely and competent advice,” writes Takeda. Weber also represents subsidiary Bridgestone Sports, which makes golf and tennis equipment. “I give her 10 out of 10 points,” writes Jun Ichinose, general manager of the intellectual property department in Tokyo. “I believe she knows every and all laws in trademarks, trade dress, unfair competition, copyrights and related [areas]. … She completely understands what our company does and is heading for.” She also understands Bridgestone’s competitive situation and, Ichinose adds, “Most importantly, she is a fighter.” Another client who has won with Weber is New Century Financial Corp. In 2006, she represented New Century when it sued 1-2-3 Home Loans Inc. for infringing its “Home 1-2-3″ trademark. After a bench trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, New Century won the case. The verdict included both injunctive relief and a payment of $187,000 in accounting of profits. One of Weber’s best-known early cases was Fuji Photo Film Co. v. Shinohara Shoji Kabushiki Kaishi. Both companies claimed the right to use the name “Fuji” on graphic arts equipment and supplies in the United States. Weber’s client, Fuji Photo Film, lost at the district court level, but won in a 1985 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The decision is often cited in other trademark cases, especially the line, “If potential purchasers are confused, no amount of good faith can make them less so.” Another notable win came in 2001 before the 7th Circuit, when Weber represented CAE Inc., a maker of flight simulators and air traffic control systems. The company sued environmental consulting firm Clean Air Engineering Inc. for trademark infringement, objecting to its use of the initials “CAE.” The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board found in favor of Clean Air Engineering, ruling that confusion was unlikely even though the marks were virtually identical. But the district court, faced with cross motions for summary judgment, found in favor of Weber’s client, a decision affirmed by the 7th Circuit. Not all of Weber’s victories are in the courtroom. For example, she initially began working with Lockheed’s Ahearn when he was a lawyer with Comsat, which was bought by Lockheed in 1999. Ahearn tells how Weber persuaded a number of dictionaries to change their entries so that “Comsat” was listed as a trademark rather than a generic term for a commercial satellite. “She’s wonderful to work with,” says Ahearn. “I’ve never, ever had any disagreements with her. There have never been any issues with her, nothing about billing, nothing about quality. Everything has always been top of the line.” Weber counts Volvo among her longtime satisfied clients as well. Monica Dempe of Volvo Trademark Holding AB in Sweden writes via e-mail, “I personally appreciate her swift and to-the-point advice together with her ability to find the right level of approach when dealing with infringers.” Dempe adds that Weber’s ability “to effectively resolve issues rather than to pick fights is a strength I appreciate.” The daughter of a patent attorney, Weber developed an early interest in intellectual property, although she says, “As a liberal arts major, I thought trademarks would be better than patents.” She earned her J.D. from Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law in 1976 and then clerked for Judge Catherine Kelley at the D.C. Court of Appeals. She spent less than a year at the now-defunct IP boutique Morton & Roberts before moving to Sughrue in 1978.

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