Intellectual Property Litigation partner, Floyd Mandell, who is the national co-chair and founder of Katten’s IP department, earned a spot among Law360’s 2019 IP MVPs following his recent trademark victory for Gatorade. Law360 MVPs are attorneys who have distinguished themselves from their peers through high-stakes litigation, record-breaking deals and complex global matters and are selected from among 900 submissions.
In a recent article, Law360 interviewed Floyd about why he chose to be an IP attorney, his biggest accomplishment and challenge over the past year, what motivates him, and his advice for associates and younger attorneys. Floyd also discussed other notable cases he has worked on, including representing large national and international companies such as Microsoft, Forever 21, Planet Hollywood, Topshop, Universal Studios and the general entertainment industry against trademark and copyright complaints.
When asked why he chose to work as an IP attorney, Floyd said, “It wasn’t something that I had planned to do my whole life, it was just something that I fell into but also really loved it from the first day I started it. If you think about the kind of area of law this is, you are protecting consumers from confusion. You are protecting against people monopolizing descriptive terms. You are really looking toward the goal of fair competition, and you’re dealing with people that regard their intellectual property assets as their most important assets of the company, so you’re given a lot of responsibility.”
Floyd described his greatest accomplishment over the past year as defending Gatorade against trademark infringement litigation brought by a company called SportsFuel, who sued Gatorade for using the slogan “Gatorade The Sports Fuel Company.” Floyd successfully argued that the term “sports fuel” was fair use.
On his biggest challenge, Floyd explained his difficulty managing his caseload this year, including an increase in pro bono work, but he credits his ability to be successful in his work and meet challenges with the help of his wonderful colleagues and staff at Katten. On what motivates him, Floyd said he is not only motivated by his relationships at Katten, but also by his strong relationships with clients, friends and family.
“When people trust me to handle a matter, or if they trust me even as a sounding board, whether it’s involving their career or a tough issue on the case, it’s very gratifying, and it motivates you,” Floyd said.
To younger attorneys, Floyd offers the following advice: “You only have one career and one life, and you should feel professionally fulfilled and feel good about yourself.” Especially with regards to his pro bono work, Floyd said he does his work because it makes him feel good to give back to the community and make a difference in people’s lives. “You should be going to the office and feeling good about yourself and feel like you’re contributing,” Floyd said.
Read “MVP: Katten’s Floyd Mandell” in its entirety.