Freeman, Freeman & Smiley LLP

Professional Details

Todd M. Lander, Partner

A litigator specializing in shareholder disputes and intellectual property matters, Todd M. Lander is motivated by anything that stokes his creative furnace. He relishes the challenge of large, complex cases.  In addition, Mr. Lander excels at the most essential component of the art of persuasion —the ability to reduce the complex to the simple and in the process effectively convey his client’s position to judge and jury. 

Shareholder disputes covering myriad issues
Mr. Lander handles shareholder disputes covering myriad issues relating to corporate management and operations, ranging from governance issues and the disputed direction of the company to the suppression of the rights of minority owners, buyouts, compensation paid to principals, breaches of contract and fiduciary duty, fraud, and other torts.

Large intellectual property practice

Another major part of Mr. Lander's practice is litigating intellectual property cases relating to trademark and copyright disputes, design and utility patents, and trade secrets.  He also handles real estate and general business litigation matters. 

Trial and arbitration expertise

Mr. Lander has handled jury and bench trials in both the state and federal courts, and has arbitrated many disputes before numerous tribunals, including the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appellate Board, the NASD (now FINRA) and the Independent Film and Television Alliance. He also has shepherded numerous matters before the California and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeal, resulting in four published opinions.

Mr. Lander was named to the "BTI Client Service All-Stars 2015" list, one of only 354 selected attorneys nationwide.

Professional & Community Involvement

  • International Trademark Association

Representative Clients and Matters

  • Represented trademark owner in dispute with national manufacturer and distributor over trademark and trade dress rights to an entertainment property dating to the 1980’s. Successfully defeated abandonment defense before both the Trademark Trial and Appellate Board (USPTO) and the District Court, despite long period of non-use on the owner’s part.
  • Handled major trademark related dispute concerning rights to a mark in the direct marketing industry. The dispute specifically involved competing applications for the same mark to the USPTO and, by extension, questions regarding the priority of use of the mark in connection with pre-sale activities by the user of a mark. The case was ultimately settled on very favorable terms for the client.
  • Defended complex copyright infringement dispute involving previously un-decided issues concerning the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the extent to which a foreign-based copyright owner must establish appropriate chain of title, and whether, and under what circumstances, the foreign owner is entitled to the presumption of validity of its copyright.
  • Handled myriad copyright, trade mark and trade dress, and design patent claims in the fashion and apparel industry.
  • Took case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, involving the efficacy of California's 2003 arbitration disclosure requirements to self-regulating organizations such as the New York Stock Exchange and the National Association of Securities Dealers. The case implicated sophisticated issues of federal preemption, particularly concerning the application of the 1975 revisions to the Securities and Exchange Act, and generated significant media attention.
  • Acted for and successfully tried a dispute on behalf of a financial institution that saw its lessor’s interest in a commercial tenancy foreclosed upon, after which the foreclosing party petitioned for bankruptcy and the bankruptcy trustee rejected the lease under Section 365 of the Bankruptcy Code. The incoming lessor asserted that a attornment and non-disturbance clause in the institution’s lease compelled the institution to honor that lease – which was negotiated and executed at market values substantially in excess of those at the time of the foreclosure and bankruptcy – triggering a first impression case concerning the efficacy and implication of the attornment and non-disturbance provisions. Trial concluded in a judgment for the institution, on the basis that the foreclosure and the subsequent bankruptcy rejection had vitiated the lease notwithstanding the attornment and non-disturbance clause.
  • Successfully represented former owner of large commercial property against CERCLA contribution claims by present owner, after contamination was discovered on the property. The case entailed sophisticated issues of allocation of fault, and ultimately entailed defeating a summary judgment motion for indemnity filed by the client’s successor in interest (the client sold its business to the successor several years after vacating the property in question, and the buyer was sued as a successor) and pursuing summary judgment on the question of whether the client was an owner or operator under CERCLA. The case was resolved favorably while the latter summary judgment was pending.
  • Arbitrated companion cases concerning the foreign distribution rights of an American motion picture and, specifically, the shifting of the risk of loss where the picture was not released in the United States in a timely manner.
  • Handled case of first impression before the California Court of Appeal concerning the application of the Uniform Principal and Income Act. The Act prescribes the manner in which trustees are to allocate distributions received from corporations. Case was of particular importance because it coincided with the issuance of Microsoft’s first ever dividend, and the adjudication of the dispute directly affected the distribution of the proceeds of that dividend by California trusts.
  • Represented trustees of trust in dispute involving the management and allocation of a multi-million dollar gift made to the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace. The gift was conditional and imposed a specific mechanism for distributing the funds to the Library. That mechanism led to conflict between competing camps of the Library's leadership and within the Nixon family, and resulted in litigation in both California and Florida.

Presentations & Publications

Media Coverage