Joe Fortner is co-chair of the Firm's Commercial Litigation Practice Group, and has represented clients in a wide range of intellectual property, business and commercial matters. He regularly represents clients in claims arising from contractual disputes, business fraud and other commercial torts, software development and other technology-related claims, trade regulation, unfair trade practices, employee termination, land use and environmental litigation, class actions, and product-related commercial disputes. He has done so in State and Federal Courts in numerous jurisdictions, as well as in international and domestic arbitration.
Joe also assists clients in their intellectual property matters, and chairs the Firm's intellectual property practice. He represents clients in trademark and trade dress, copyright, and patent disputes, including in the financial services, information technology, firearms, music, and other industries, and has litigated before the Trademark Trial & Appeals Board. In addition, he has represented clients in trade secret, domain name and licensing disputes, cyber-defamation litigation, and the enforcement of other intellectual property rights.
In addition to - and in part based upon his experience in -- his litigation practice, Joe advises clients with respect to intellectual property issues, negotiates agreements and relationships, and oversees the securing of federal registrations. Joe also counsels and represents clients in their other commercial concerns, and helps the firm's clients take proactive steps to both protect their rights and manage risks.
Joe co-chairs the Firm's Product Liability and Toxic Tort Practice Area. He has litigated products liability cases for numerous companies, and has defended a wide range of products manufacturers and sellers, including electrical equipment, transportation devices, consumer goods, power tools and manufacturing systems, in commercial claims and litigation arising from personal injury.
From 2007 until 2009, Joe was the Chair of the 1200-member Commercial Litigation Committee of DRI - the Voice of the Defense Bar. He has written and lectured on such topics as trademark and trade dress litigation, trademark dilution, antitrust issues, equitable remedies, trial procedures, and e-commerce, including authoring the Connecticut portions of several compendiums regarding trade secrets and product liability. Before joining the firm, Mr. Fortner practiced in New York within the Litigation Department of a large, multi-national firm. There, he handled a wide range of commercial and litigation matters, including contract disputes, lender liability and banking matters, accountant liability, and Lanham Act claims.
News & Events
Joseph Fortner Appointed DRI Commercial Litigation Chair
Joseph Fortner, Jr. partner in the Business and Commercial Litigation Group at Halloran & Sage, has been appointed by DRI as the Chair of its Commercial Litigation Committee. Joseph, whose practice focuses on business and commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation, and counseling, has been Vice-Chair and Publications Chair of this arm of DRI for several years. He has been actively involved in the organization's growth.
DRI is the largest national association of lawyers and others concerned with the defense of civil actions. Its Commercial Litigation Committee, with more than 1000 members, is a diverse group of commercial lawyers from large and small firms, and numerous corporations. Members share a common interest in business and commercial litigation, and the Committee offers publications, seminars, and subcommittees related to intellectual property litigation, business torts, technology litigation, D&O and E&O litigation, commercial class action litigation, related insurance coverage litigation, and other topics of interest to corporate counsel and their outside counsel.Joseph Fortner Addressed Trademark Matters at National DRI Conference
Joseph Fortner, Jr. a member of the Business and Commercial Litigation Group, spoke concerning initial interest and post-sale confusion in trademark matters at the DRI Intellectual Property Seminar held November 2-3, 2006 at the Ritz Carlton, Key Biscayne, Florida. The two-day national seminar utilized a hypothetical to integrate lectures and practical demonstrations from experienced practitioners and clients, and included discussions by trial counsel in several recent, high-profile intellectual property cases. As part of this faculty, Jospeh, the Vice Chair of DRI's Commercial Litigation Committee, discussed the theories behind and role of these theories of trademark infringement, where there is no evidence that purchasers are confused yet liability may be imposed. Using real world examples, Joseph discussed a smoke-filled world where mark holders seek redress and injunctions against ostensibly evocative products, based upon an initial consumer reaction and upon how non-consumers perceive the infringing product after the sale. Joseph Fortner Appointed as DRI Commercial Litigation Committee Vice Chair
Joseph Fortner, Jr., partner in the Business and Commercial Litigation Group at Halloran & Sage LLP, has been appointed by DRI as the Vice Chair of its Commercial Litigation Committee. Joseph, whose practice focuses on business and commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation, and counseling, has been the Publications Chair of this arm of DRI for several years, and has been actively involved in its growth.
DRI is the largest national association of lawyers and others concerned with the defense of civil actions. Its Commercial Litigation Committee, with more than 1000 members, is a diverse group of commercial lawyers from large and small firms, and numerous corporations. Members share a common interest in business and commercial litigation, and the Committee offers publications, seminars, and subcommittees related to intellectual property litigation, business torts, technology litigation, D&O and E&O litigation, commercial class action litigation, related insurance coverage litigation, and other topics of interest to corporate counsel and their outside counsel.
As part of the Committee's growth, Joseph is also Co-Chair of its Long Range Planning Committee.ALERT: 'Can-Spam Act of 2003' - Limitations on Commercial E-Mail
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, which became effective on January 1, 2004, sets forth new federal restrictions on the use of commercial e-mail which could have significant effects on businesses that use e-mail to advertise or to communicate with customers. The Act outlines three categories of commercial e-mail, two of which are potentially relevant to our clients:
1) Commercial Electronic Mail Message (CEMM), defined as any e-mail message the primary purpose of which is commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service; and
2) Transactional or Relationship Message, defined as an e-mail message with the primary purpose of facilitating or confirming commercial transactions, providing warranty, product recall or safety information to consumers, providing notification regarding ongoing commercial relationships, or the delivery of goods or services such as product updates that the recipient has previously agreed to receive. The Act specifically excludes the above-described Transactional or Relationship Messages from the definition of CEMMs and, for the most part, they do not fall within the scope of the Act.
The legislation does not outlaw the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail; rather it is focused on certain misleading tactics used by businesses that send those messages. Businesses that send unsolicited commercial e-mail must ensure that they comply with the following key provisions of the Act:
Labeling: unsolicited e-mails must be clearly identified as solicitations or advertisements.
Header information: header information is defined in the Act to mean the source, destination, and routing information attached to the e-mail and includes any information that appears in the line identifying a person initiating the message. The sending of any message, including a Transactional or Relationship Message, which contains materially false or misleading header information is prohibited. It is also unlawful for businesses to allow themselves to be promoted by third parties that they know or should have known are using such materially false or misleading header information.
Opt-out procedures: senders must provide means for consumers to decline to receive future CEMMs. Failure to comply with a consumer's request is a violation of the Act.
Subject lines: senders are prohibited from using misleading or fictitious subject lines in CEMMs in order to trick consumers into opening the message.
Sender's addresses: unsolicited CEMMs must contain sender's e-mail address and postal address.
Bulk solicitation: the use of automated means, such as harvesting, to establish multiple e-mail accounts for the sending of unsolicited e-mail messages is also banned. Furthermore, it is a felony to transmit more than 2,500 CEMMs in a 24-hour period, 25,000 in 30 days, or 250,000 in one year.
Enforcement of the Act is assigned to the Federal Trade Commission. Violators are subject to penalties of up to $2 million as well as prison terms of up to five years for violations of the Act's felony provisions. In addition, the Act authorizes civil actions to be brought by state attorneys general on behalf of its citizens and by Internet service providers for fraud or abuse. Individual consumers do not have the right to sue.
It is also to be noted that numerous states have adopted anti-spam laws.
If you may potentially be affected by this new legislation or are concerned about the impact of state laws, please contact us.
This Alert is provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. This publication may be considered advertising under applicable state laws. 2004 Halloran & Sage February 24, 2004.Media Alert: Halloran & Sage Partner Participates in IP Law Roundtable Discussion
In mid-October, the Connecticut Tech Tribune invited several leading Intellectual Property attorneys to a panel discussion on legal issues affecting Connecticut's technology firms. Halloran & Sage Commercial Litigation Partner Joseph G. Fortner, Jr.. participated in the two-hour roundtable discussion and an article featuring the highlights of the discussion appeared in the November, 2003 Connecticut Tech Tribune.
When asked by Connecticut TechTribune what are the current Intellectual Property issues for tech companies that are keeping attorneys busy, Fortner offered several thoughts. Focusing on one area, trade dress, he noted that:
There remains a real question on the scope of trade dress (the look and feel of a product) with some of the more recent decisions from the Supreme Court. You're going to get into the tussle on functionality whether in fact those features making it reliable, safe, et cetera, are functional. Because if they're functional, then you won't get trade dress protection.Recent Developments in the Law of Trademarks, Trade Dress, and Related Matters D.R.I. Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation Seminar
Joseph Fortner, Jr. , a member of the Firm's Commercial Litigation and Business and Commercial Law groups, spoke at the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Intellectual Property Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona on the topic of Recent Developments in the Law of Trademarks and Trade Dress. He discussed the latest cases and theories in the areas of trademark, trade dress, cases under the Federal Anti-Dilution Act, and cybersquatting law developments. He provided participants with an overview of some of the fundamentals of intellectual property law and informed experienced practitioners of significant developments in these areas.
When not practicing law, Joe works on his jazz and blues guitar skills (including in a guitar/vocal duo with his wife (who is also a practicing lawyer)). He spends free time on two wheels on New England's scenic roads, and participates in outdoor sporting activities.