Robert C. Holtzapple has developed a complex civil litigation practice, with particular focuses on intellectual property litigation, partnership and corporate issues, licensor-licensee disputes and distribution termination litigation.
An experienced trial lawyer, Mr. Holtzapple has obtained verdicts and successful results for his clients in both state and federal court. Recent successes include obtaining a $9.89 million jury verdict, including punitive damages (reported at the time to be the highest jury verdict obtained in Marin County history) for a client whose contract to acquire a business was wrongfully frustrated; obtaining the appointment of a receiver to take control of all of the defendant's assets to protect a client's investment; and obtaining summary judgment for a national franchise company in a case arising from allegations that it had infringed others' copyrights in the creation of training materials.
Mr. Holtzapple often represents business entities, officers and directors and individual owners in separation actions. In particular, Mr. Holtzapple has been retained by a number of law firms to assist in resolving issues with departed partners. He has also represented the creator of a popular software technology to download music files from the internet against claims that the creator had entered a partnership with others to market the technology. Mr. Holtzapple also focuses on franchisor-franchisee disputes and for several years he has served as California litigation counsel for a nationwide franchisor.
With respect to intellectual property litigation, Mr. Holtzapple has worked extensively in trademark, trade secret and copyright matters. A frequent lecturer on trademark issues, Mr. Holtzapple has successfully defended a small business that was accused of trademark infringement by Hewlett-Packard (including defeating H-P's application for a preliminary injunction), represented an international winery against a cigar manufacturer, and obtained a permanent injunction for an internet company against a cybersquatter who had registered a competing ".net" domain name. Copyright matters include the defense of a franchise company from allegations that it had infringed others' copyrights in the creation of advertising materials as well as the representation of the authors of computer games and other software programs with respect to copyright claims.
Mr. Holtzapple served as a member of the firm's Executive Committee. In 2004 and 2005, he was recognized as a leading intellectual property litigation attorney in Law & Politics’ list of Northern California Super Lawyers. He has actively participated in pro bono projects for both the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and the San Francisco Lawyers’ Committee for Urban Affairs; as part of his pro bono activities, Mr. Holtzapple obtained a jury verdict, with punitive damages, for an inmate who had been improperly treated by a guard at Pelican Bay State Prison.