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Dean Eyler

Dean Eyler is an experienced litigator who represents clients in intellectual property and complex commercial disputes. He knows that being a successful litigator is about more than just winning cases. Dean prides himself on being a trusted advisor, making sure clients know what to expect, and on crafting strategies to best achieve clients’ goals. Dean has substantial experience in litigating trademark, trade dress, copyright, trade secret, and false advertising cases. Dean devotes much of his practice to brand protection, trademark infringement, and unfair competition litigation for clients in federal courts across the country and at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Dean has been repeatedly recognized by World Trademark Review, where he has been described as “an enforcement heavyweight,” “redoubtable,” “a go-to on complex or unusual disputes,” and “an exemplary brief writer and persuasive oral advocate.” He has also successfully handled multiple copyright infringement cases through successful jury verdicts, and represented clients in many trade secrets and patent infringement cases. He previously led the firm's Intellectual Property Litigation practice team. 

In addition, Dean has represented clients in a variety of commercial litigation matters. He has counseled clients and handled disputes in federal and state courts as well as arbitration regarding disputes about license agreements, breach of contract, and unfair competition claims. 

Dean has been involved in leadership at the firm and in several community organizations. He previously served as chair of the firm’s recruiting and pro bono committees. For seven years, he served as chair of the advisory board for the Minnesota Urban Debate League, and has served on other boards for community organizations.

Dean is also committed to pro bono representation and work in the community. He regularly represents clients seeking asylum, has worked on many human rights projects, and represents tenants in housing court matters. Dean received the Gray Plant Mooty Pro Bono All-Star award for longtime contributions to pro bono work. In 2016, Dean accepted a Volunteer Award from The Advocates for Human Rights on behalf of the firm’s asylum team, which he leads. Dean was also recognized as a 2016 Attorney of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer for his work with a team that established the new Appeals Self-Help Clinic at the state law library.

After law school, Dean served as a law clerk for Donald P. Lay, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor at the William Mitchell College of Law and a Special Assistant City Attorney for the City of Minneapolis.

Dean, his wife, and their two children live in Plymouth, Minnesota. When he is not practicing law, Dean enjoys skiing, biking, basketball, and reading.

Representative Experience

Intellectual Property Cases

  • Romag Fasteners v. Fossil, No. 18-1233 (authored amicus bried filed in US Supreme Court on behalf of the American Intellectual Property Law Association in support of neither party, urging the Court to hold that willfulness is not a prerequisite to an accounting of profits for a violation of Section 35(a) of the Lanham Act).
  • Energy Intelligence Group v. CHS McPherson Refinery, Civ. No. 16-cv-1015 (D. Kan. 2018) (lead counsel for defense of the Refinery in copyright infringement case through four-day jury trial; jury found in favor of statute of limitations defense and awarded plaintiff only two percent of amount requested; court denied plaintiff’s motion for attorneys’ fees as prevailing party, 2019 WL 367788).
  • HealthPartners v. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, Civ. No. 16-cv-02970 (represented health care provider and health insurance company in declaratory judgment action against world’s largest retailer seeking declaration that logo marks do not infringe trademarks; case successfully resolved prior to trial, and client continues to use its mark).
  • Arctic Cat v. Sabertooth Motorcycles, Civ. No. 13-cv-00146 (successfully defended motorcycle manufacturer sued by public company seeking to invalidate client’s registered trademarks and to register mark for itself; claims resolved prior to trial, after asserting counterclaims for reverse confusion trademark infringement and prevailing on numerous motions, including three dispositive motions).
  • Berkshire Properties v. HomeServices of America, Inc. et al, Civ. No. 16-cv-00260 (selected to represent several Berkshire Hathaway companies in defending reverse confusion trademark infringement claim in District of New Jersey; case resolved that allowed clients to continue using the “Berkshire” brand).
  • Higher Dimension Materials v. Performance Fabrics (tried two-week AAA arbitration in 2016 resulting in permanent injunction and award of lost royalties for our client based on breach of license agreement, misappropriation of trade secrets, and infringement of patent).
  • Concaten, Inc. v. AmeriTrak Fleet Solutions, 131 F. Supp. 3d 1166 (D. Col. 2015), aff’d, 669 Fed. Appx. 571 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 11, 2016) (obtained judgment on the pleadings dismissing all five asserted patents as directed to ineligible subject matter; affirmed by Federal Circuit Oct. 11, 2016).
  • Schlagel, Inc. v. S-M Enterprises, Inc., Civ. No. 13-cv-0446 (represented Schlagel in enforcing one of its patents related to grain handling equipment against competitor; following initial discovery the case resolved favorably, and competitor redesigned its product).
  • Birchwood Laboratories v. Battenfeld Technologies, Nos. 09-cv-3555(MJD/JJK), 11-cv-883(MJD/JJK) (D. Minn. 2012) (represented sporting goods manufacturer in declaratory judgment action to invalidate competitor’s patent, and defending patent infringement claims, and in defending parallel patent false marking case; successfully resolved before trial).
  • Saul Zaentz Co. v. Wozniak Travel, Inc., 627 F. Supp. 2d 1096 (N.D. Cal. 2008) (granting summary judgment in client’s favor, dismissing trademark infringement claims by producer of Lord of the Rings films, where client had used its mark HOBBITT TRAVEL for three decades).
  • Taylor Corp. v. Four Seasons Greetings, LLC, 403 F.3d 958 (8th Cir. 2005) (successfully represented plaintiff in copyright infringement dispute regarding greeting card designs; affirmed on appeal).
  • Straumann Comp. v. Lifecore Biomedical, Incorporated, 278 F. Supp. 2d 130 (D. Mass. 2003) (represented defendant dental implant manufacturer in trade dress product design case; motion for preliminary injunction denied; summary judgment for defendant).

Commercial Litigation

  • Biotel, Inc. v. CardioNet, Inc., Case No. 09-cv-02013 (D. Minn.) (represented public medical device company pursuing breach of merger agreement; case resolved with merger closing).
  • Northern PCS Services, LLC v. Sprint Nextel Corp., 2007 WL 951546 (D. Minn. March 27, 2007) (represented regional affiliate in dispute with Sprint Corporation regarding exclusivity rights; prevailed on summary judgment motion, which led to buyout for over $300 million).
  • Paul Kaiser v. Direct Focus, Inc., 2004 WL 2050560 (Minn. App. Sept. 14, 2004) (won summary judgment as lead counsel for fitness equipment manufacturer in dealer termination case; affirmed on appeal).
  • Chafoulias v. Peterson and ABC, 668 N.W. 2d 642 (Minn. 2003) (represented media defendant in defamation case: judgment for defendant, that plaintiff is a limited purpose public figure, who cannot prove actual malice, affirmed by Minnesota Supreme Court).
  • Represented large tire manufacturer in negligence action against insurance broker, resulting in $3.1 million jury award.
  • Lead counsel for plaintiffs and defendants in several real estate and commercial landlord-tenant cases.
  • Represented plaintiffs and defendants in significant minority shareholder cases.

Pro Bono Human Rights Matters

  • Represented woman from Guinea seeking asylum based on domestic violence; asylum granted following asylum interview.
  • Represented woman from Cameroon seeking asylum based on practice of levirate marriage; asylum granted by Immigration Court at trial.
  • Represented woman from The Gambia seeking asylum based on female genital mutilation and fear of forced marriage; asylum granted following asylum interview.
  • Represented woman from Kenya seeking asylum based on female genital mutilation and fear of forced marriage; withholding of removal granted, following trial in Immigration Court.
  • Represented woman from Somalia seeking asylum based on gender-based persecution; prevailed in BIA appeal based on ineffective assistance of counsel.

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota

Honors

  • Attorney of the Year, Minnesota Lawyer, 2016
  • “Leading Trademark Lawyer,” World Trademark Review, 2015-2020
  • “Minnesota Super Lawyer,” Thomson Reuters, 2014-2018
  • “North Star Lawyers,” Minnesota State Bar Association, 2012-2015, 2017-2018
  • “Minnesota Rising Star,” Thomson Reuters, 2004, 2006-2011
  • Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow, 2008-2009
  • Gray Plant Mooty Pro Bono All-Star, 2006

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, Intellectual Property & Litigation sections
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association, Chair, Trademark Litigation Committee
  • Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association
  • The Advocates for Human Rights, Board of Directors

Community Involvement

  • Minnesota Urban Debate League, Advisory Board, former chair (2011-2018)
  • Wayzata School District Legislative Action Committee, former chair and co-chair
  • Gray Plant Mooty’s pro bono committee, former chair
  • Housing Committee for Volunteer Lawyers Network, former co-chair
  • Good Samaritan Discipleship (organization building a school in Liberia), board member
  • Edina High School, former high school debate coach

Presentations

  • "Taking and Defending a Rule 30(b)(6) Deposition of an Organizational Designee," Minnesota Continuing Legal Education: Civil Litigation Half-Day Seminars. January 28,  2020
  • “Intellectual Property at the Supreme Court: Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc.” American University Washington College of Law Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. January 14, 2020
  • “Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Live Hearing (TTAB)," moderator, AIPLA 2019 Annual Meeting. October 29, 2019
  • “Advanced Practice Tips for TTAB Litigation,” Midwest IP Institute Seminar. September 27, 2019
  • "Advanced Trademark Law 2019," Practicing Law Institute Seminar, Co-Chair. March 13, 2019
  • “Taking and Defending Rule 30(b)(6) Depositions,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education Seminar: Planning, Preparing, Taking & Defending Depositions, Minneapolis, MN. September 20, 2018
  • “Take Your Trademark Battle to the TTAB or Make a Federal Case Out of It,” moderator, AIPLA Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.. October 1, 2017
  • “Is Time of the Essence: Laches in Trademark Litigation,” Practicing Law Institute Advanced Trademark Law Annual Review 2013, New York, New York. April 18, 2013
  • “Declaratory Judgment Jurisdiction: New Risks and Strategies in Trademark Disputes,” Gray Plant Mooty Hot Topics in IP Litigation Roundtable. February 1, 2009
  • “Non-Compete/Confidentiality Agreements,” Gray Plant Mooty Corporate Counsel Breakfast Series. September 1, 2005
Photo of Dean  Eyler
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
F: 612.632.4016

Assistant

Lori Kleinschmidt
612.632.3441
Email

Education

University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., with high distinction, 1996

  • Order of the Coif

University of Northern Iowa, with highest honors, 1993