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Name: William Brewster Age: 39 Firm: Kilpatrick Stockton Biggest Case: Gaylord Entm’t v. Gilmore Entm’t Group J.D.: University of Virginia Career Goal (as a kid): sportscaster William Brewster never achieved his boyhood dream of becoming a sportscaster, but today he gets to hang out in the major leagues. The managing partner of Atlanta’s 500-lawyer Kilpatrick Stockton is a trademark specialist whose client list includes both the National Football League and the National Basketball Association. But Brewster is not just a sports groupie. On behalf of clients he has broken new ground in trademark law. In 1999, in one of Brewster’s biggest cases, he represented both the NBA and the NFL in their lawsuits against a small north Georgia company that produced unlicensed sports trading cards. The cards had photos of individual players in their team uniforms, but the team names and logos had been airbrushed away. The U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled that a color itself could receive trademark protection. But Brewster needed to protect not just a single color, but the specific combinations that make up team uniforms. U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy in the Northern District of Georgia was initially skeptical about Brewster’s argument and denied his motion for summary judgment. During trial Brewster proved that members of the public associated the colors with the teams by using excerpted quotes from different media outlets. Brewster used quotes from USA Today, The New York Times, and The Indianapolis News to demonstrate that across the country black and red is associated with the Chicago Bulls. The judge ended up awarding Brewster’s clients more than $1 million in damages. Brewster is an accidental trademark lawyer. He came to Kilpatrick Stockton right after graduating from the University of Virginia law school in 1987. At the time the firm had three litigation groups, and Brewster was assigned to the one that happened to be filled with IP lawyers. Two years later that group formally became the firm’s IP department. As Brewster gathered experience, he acquired some of his region’s iconic clients. In one of his favorite — and most recent — cases, Brewster represented Gaylord Entertainment Company of Nashville, Tenn., owners of the Grand Ole Opry trademark. The company owns Grand Ole Opry hotels, resorts, festivals and the Opry stage from which the famous radio show is broadcast. Long before Brewster graduated from law school, Gaylord had lost a suit to a Missouri company that had used “Opry” in its name. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that that term was generic. In the late 1990s, Gaylord brought in Brewster to sue a South Carolina company that was calling itself “The Carolina Opry.” Last year Brewster successfully argued in a federal trial court in Tennessee that, despite the appellate ruling from another circuit, the public still linked “Opry” with Nashville. The case is “the only [one] in 100 years where the court has found that a mark could be reclaimed from the public domain,” he says. Brewster, a marathoner, has also represented Adidas America in a series of cases involving the three-stripe mark used to distinguish the company’s sneakers. Practicing trademark law has its advantages. Brewster says that he has “clients in every aisle of the supermarket.” And judges, juries and even courtroom staff are generally interested in his cases, especially the exhibits.

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