Before joining Christian & Barton, Robert D. Michaux, a member of the firm’s intellectual property team, served as plaintiff’s counsel in a multi-jurisdictional copyright infringement action against the federal government and two of its defense contractors.
On April 2, 2019, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) ruled a U.S. Department of Defense agency must face the $63 million infringement claim brought by Neil Zaccari, a former defense contractor employee. The government had asked the court to dismiss the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1500, a peculiar jurisdictional statute that bars bringing a case in the CFC if the allegations are based substantially on facts in a suit pending in a district court. The reported opinion was decided solely on the briefs submitted by Michaux and from the Department of Justice.
Zaccari alleges the Defense Contract Management Agency infringed his copyright for software that automates defense contract reviews by installing thousands of unauthorized copies on computers across the agency. Zaccari’s legal team filed separate lawsuits in two different district courts against defense contractors Apprio and Discover Technologies (DT) in addition to the suit in the CFC, which is the exclusive venue for copyright infringement claims against the government.
In her opinion, Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith wrote “It may be that a great host of facts would be exactly the same in all three suits, but the conduct necessary to prevail in the district courts would be markedly different from the conduct at issue in this suit. … [T]he copyright infringement claims in the Apprio suit and the DT suit are not ‘based on substantially the same operative facts’ as the copyright infringement claim brought in this suit.” Her order allows Zaccari’s infringement claim against the government to move forward regardless of the other pending suits.
Michaux is no longer serving as counsel of record in the litigation.
The following Christian & Barton attorneys were selected for inclusion on the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list: Peter E. Broadbent Jr. (intellectual property); Christopher M. Gill (real estate); W. David Harless (business litigation); R. Braxton Hill IV (business litigation); Belinda D. Jones (civil litigation defense); Jonathan M. Joseph (health care); David B. Lacy (general litigation); Roman Lifson (civil litigation defense); Craig T. Merritt (business litigation); Michael J. Quinan (business litigation); Cliona M. Robb (energy and natural resources); Michael W. Smith (business litigation); E. Ford Stephens (insurance coverage); and Henry I. Willett III(civil litigation defense). In addition, S. Perry Coburn and Robert D. Michaux were both named to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list in the business litigation category.
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