Stephen E. Zlatos

Stephen E. Zlatos serving on the Diplomatic Advisory Committee for the Indiana Global Economic Summit

February 7, 2020

As Honorary Consul of Slovak Republic, Stephen E. Zlatos is honored to serve on the Diplomatic Advisory Committee for the upcoming Indiana Global Economic Summit. The summit, planned from April 26 to 28, 2020, will convene the state’s economic development partners in business, education and government as well as business prospects from across the world. The Summit’s programming will focus on a wide range of high-growth industries and related topics, including advanced manufacturing, defense and cybersecurity, life sciences, agbiosciences, aerospace and IT, and related topics like workforce, connectivity and quality of place, with speakers highlighting best practices, new innovations and economic insights.

Additional information, including registration, is available online at www.indianaglobalsummit.com.


Steve Zlatos, Honorary Consul for Slovakia in Indiana, Part of Indiana Trade Mission

May 31, 2018

During a recent trip to Slovakia, organized in part by Woodard Emhardt Of-Counsel Steve Zlatos, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a memorandum of understanding with the minister of economy from Slovakia. The trip was arranged with the aim to build on established relationships between Indiana and Slovakia.

The focus of the gathering was to identify and enhance collaborative efforts toward two-way investment, trade and workforce development. Opportunities exist in the areas of advanced manufacturing, defense, automotive, energy, agriculture technology, information technology, cybersecurity as well as educational areas. Slovakia has been cooperating with the Indiana National Guard since 1994 and there has been a mutual interest in deepening cooperation beyond the sphere of defense. Indiana University and Purdue University currently have connections to academic institutions in Slovakia.

In addition to Governor Holcomb and Mr. Zlatos, the group from Indiana included U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia Adam Sterling, Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma and wife Cheryl, First Lady Janet Holcomb, Senate President Pro Tem David Long and wife Melissa, and General Courtney Carr, head of the Indiana National Guard. The team met in Bratislava with President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska, and the Prime Minister, Peter Pellegrini.

A large community of Slovaks lives in Indiana, while Indianapolis is home to the Slovak honorary consulate headed by Steve Zlatos.

Honorary Consul for Slovakia in Indiana


Federal Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Declaratory Judgment Action obtained by Woodard Emhardt

October 1, 2012

Matthews International Corp. manufactures and sells a Bio Cremation™ product that uses a hydrolysis process to accelerate the natural decomposition of the body to cremate human remains.  In 2011, Matthews filed suit against our client, Biosafe Engineering, LLC, seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, invalidity and unenforceability of five method patents related to using alkaline hydrolysis to dispose of hazardous organic materials.  Matthews also asserted state law claims of trade libel, defamation, and tortuous interference with contractual relations alleging that Biosafe had wrongly accused Matthews of patent infringement to Matthew’s customers, potential customers and employees. 

Biosafe moved to dismiss all counts for lack of declaratory judgment jurisdiction and failure to adequately plead state law claims. The United States District Court of Western Pennsylvania granted Biosafe’s motion to dismiss all counts for lack of declaratory judgment jurisdiction and failure to adequately plead state law claims.  Matthews appealed.

 On appeal, the Federal Circuit upheld the district court’s holding that Matthews’ dispute with Biosafe lacked the requisite immediacy and reality to support the existence of declaratory judgment jurisdiction.  The Federal Circuit noted that there was no evidence as to when the Bio Cremation™ equipment might be used in a manner that could infringe Biosafe’s method patents and that the Bio Cremation™ equipment could be operated outside of the parameters specified in Biosafe’s method patents.  In addition, while Matthews sold the cremation equipment, it did not practice any of the claimed methods and could not be liable for direct infringement. 

 Immediacy

“A party may not obtain a declaratory judgment merely because it would like an advisory opinion on whether it would be liable for patent infringement if it were to initiate some merely contemplated activity.”  The Federal Circuit held that it would be premature to determine infringement of Biosafe’s patents at least until there was specific and concrete evidence regarding how Matthews’ customers planned to use the Bio Cremation™ equipment.

The Federal Circuit noted that a showing of actual infringement is not required to support declaratory judgment jurisdiction but the absence of any arguable infringing activity showed the dispute lacked the immediacy necessary to support declaratory judgment jurisdiction.

Reality

“In the context of patent litigation, the reality requirement is often related to the extent to which the technology in question is ‘substantially fixed’ as opposed to ‘fluid and indeterminate’ at the time declaratory relief is sought.” Because the Bio Cremation™ equipment could be operated using process parameters that would not infringe the method patents and because Matthews did not specify any operating parameters, the Court considered it impossible to determine whether the operation of the Bio Cremation™ equipment infringed the method patents. The Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s characterization of Matthews’ Bio Cremation™ equipment as “fluid and indeterminate.” A party has no right to obtain declaratory relief when it provides insufficient information for a court to assess whether its future activities would be infringing.

Finally, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court holding that Matthews failed to plead the bad faith element of the state law trade libel, defamation, and tortuous interference claims. The court stated that the state law claims would not be ripe for review even if Matthews had pled the required bad faith element. Until some specific evidence regarding the operating parameters for the Bio Cremation™ equipment is produced, any determination of whether Biosafe acted unreasonably in asserting that Matthews infringed the patents would be premature.

The full decision is hyperlinked Matthews International Corporation v. Biosafe Engineering, LLC, September 25, 2012, Mayer, H.

We congratulate Spiro Bereveskos for his successful argument at the Federal Circuit. We also congratulate Steve Zlatos and William McKenna for writing the successful appeal brief.


How to Prove Reasonable Royalty Damages after Uniloc

March 7, 2011

Below is a presentation describing current reasonable royalty case law for patents in view of the Federal Circuit’s recent Uniloc decision.
Click here to download a copy.