Alioto & Alioto LLP is a business litigation firm located in Northern California. Our clients are small to medium-sized businesses including listed, public companies. We work on either a contingency or time and materials basis. When required, we have associated other attorney specialists to work under our direct supervision to aid in the prosecution or defense of our clients' cases. Such association is always done with prior client guidance and approval.
The practice of Alioto & Alioto LLP is to represent clients in business litigation. This litigation has been on behalf of the antitrust plaintiff and includes antitrust defense, intellectual property disputes (patent, copyright, trade secret, trademark and Lanham Act litigation), and various typical business disputes such as contract, partnership and shareholder disputes, real estate claims and etc.
John I. Alioto Statement of Qualifications
The following Statement of Qualifications is a brief description of the highlights of my experience in business litigation:
- From August 2014 to September 2015, lead counsel for a constructive discharge plaintiff and negligence cross-defendant, a former Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Manager for a boutique winery in Napa Valley in Carlos Montero v. W. H. Smith Wines, LLC et al. in Napa County Superior Court. These were claims that the employer winery failed to provide a safe and secure workplace, free from credible threats of violence. The plaintiff was eventually assaulted by a co-worker. We won a $500,000 jury verdict after an eight (8) day trial. The jury award included punitive damages and the cross-claim was dropped. Shortly after judgment was entered on the verdict, the case was settled on favorable terms.
- From February 2013 to March 2014, co-lead counsel for trademark defendant and antitrust counterclaimant SURFACESUPPLIED INC., a specialist in underwater electronics, in Kirby Morgan Dive Systems, Inc. v. SURFACESUPPLIED INC. et al. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. These were claims of trade dress infringement by the dominant firm in the commercial diving helmet market designed to eliminate its small rival. The defendant's trademark defenses were based on functionality and fair use. On the eve of crucial rulings concerning the functionality summary judgment motion and the motion to dismiss the antitrust counterclaims, the case was settled on favorable terms.
- From 1998 to 2003, lead counsel for the patent defendants and antitrust counterclaimants Ken Greer, Elan Computer Group, Inc. and Rainbow Technologies, Inc., software developers, in Globetrotter Software, Inc. v. Elan Computer Group, Inc. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Jose Division). For reported opinion on the appeal of the denial of preliminary injunction and Markman order, see Globetrotter Software Inc. v. Elan Computer Group, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2001) 236 F.3d 1363. These were claims of infringement of a software patent by the dominant player in the license management software market designed to eliminate its small rival. Summary judgment of non-infringement and on the counterclaims was granted in September 2001 and November 2002. On March 23, 2004, the Federal Circuit reversed the non-infringement judgment and affirmed the dismissal of the counterclaim. See, reported opinion at 362 F.3d 1367. Shortly thereafter, the case was settled.
- From 1996 to 2001, lead counsel in Burlingame and Shepherd v. Pillar Point Partnership, VISX Incorporated and Summit Technology, Inc. et al.; co-lead class counsel for the antitrust class action plaintiffs in In Re: Pillar Point Antitrust and Patent Litigation; lead counsel for patent defendants Drs. Garabet and Shammas in Garabet et al. v. Summit Technology, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. These were the patent claims of the alleged inventors and patentees against various ophthalmologists and clinics and antitrust claims and counterclaims alleging, among other things, price fixing on per procedure charges for laser vision correction. Alioto & Alioto was the first firm in the country to bring antitrust price fixing cases for the $250 per procedure charge made by Summit and VISX. Our cases pre-dated successful Federal Trade Commission charges which led to the break-up of the so-called Pillar Point Partnership in June 1998. In November 2001, these cases were settled. The antitrust defendants VISX and Summit Technology, Inc. dismissed their patent infringement claims and paid $50 million to the class of ophthalmologists who suffered the per procedure charge.
- From 1997 to 1999, lead counsel for plaintiff, a quick lube oil change chain, in Oil Changers, Inc. v. Quaker State Corp. and Pennzoil Company in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This was an antitrust case which included a Section 7 Clayton Act (anti-merger) claim. There was a companion fraud claim brought in State Court against Quaker State only. On the eve of trial, the case was settled.
- From 1995 to 1997, lead counsel for defendant and counterclaimant, a prominent Bay Area ophthalmologist, in Summit Technology, Inc. v. High-Line Med. Instruments Co., the United States District Court for the Central District of California. This case involved Lanham Act and unfair competition claims concerning the new technology laser vision correction. The matter was settled by a dismissal of the claims against my client after the district court sustained our positions on the various motions to dismiss. For reported opinions, please see Summit Technologies, Inc. v. High-Line Med. Instruments Co. (C.D. Cal. 1996) 922 F.Supp. 299 and 933 F.Supp. 918.
- From April 1999 to January 2000, lead counsel for plaintiff Mortgage Internet Technologies, Inc. v. M & A West, Inc. et al. in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. An on-line web host and software vendor to on-line mortgage lenders and borrowers, plaintiff claimed that the defendants infringed its trademark "Virtual Lender" by using the website domain name "virtuallender.com." The case lasted 10 months and resulted in a preliminary injunction in plaintiff's favor. The preliminary injunction prevented the use of plaintiff's "Virtual Lender" mark. After the preliminary injunction, the case was favorably settled and the plaintiff now has the website domain name "virtuallender.com."
- From 1995 to 1997, lead counsel for defendant in Litle & Company, Inc. v. Robert S. Mann, the United States District Court for the Central District of California (Los Angeles); and lead counsel for the same client in a counter attack Robert S. Mann v. First USA Paymentech, Inc. et al., San Luis Obispo County Superior Court. This is complex business litigation which involves the claim by a credit card processor against a direct marketing merchant for so-called "credit card chargebacks." In late 1996, after the opposition's case was presented, the district court judge granted judgment of dismissal in the client's favor. Thereafter, the whole case was settled favorably for the client.
- From 1994 to 1996, lead counsel for plaintiff, a NASDAQ listed company, in Central Garden & Pet Company v. Colgate Palmolive Company et al., the United States District Courts for the Western District of Washington and Central District of California, and Superior Court for the State of Washington. This was an antitrust and intellectual property case (trade secret) against Colgate Palmolive Company and Hill's Pet Nutrition. In 1995, the intellectual property case was tried to a jury and resulted in a verdict for the client. Before the appeal was final, the dispute was settled on a favorable basis.
- From 1991 to 1994, lead counsel for defendant and counterclaimant, a NASDAQ listed company, in Coors Brewing Co., et al. v. Aura Systems, Inc., United States District Court for the District of Colorado. Originally brought by Coors, this was a trade secret defense which involved a patent as prior art. It was also an antitrust and fraud claim brought by Aura Systems, an electromagnetic actuator inventor, as a counterclaim. In 1994, the case resulted in a favorable settlement.
- From 1990 to 1993, lead counsel for plaintiff in SOCS Research, Inc. v. N.V. Philips, Sony Corporation, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This was an antitrust case brought by a high density CD patent holder against large, competitor electronic companies. It was litigated for three years and favorably settled in June 1993. The client received cash and was able to establish a now going public company based on technology licenses received.
- From 1990 to 1994, lead counsel for plaintiff in High Technology Careers v. San Jose Mercury News, published opinion found at 996 F.2d 987 (9th Cir. 1993). This is an antitrust action with related state court claims brought by plaintiff competitor in the market for newspaper recruitment advertising in Silicon Valley. In the 9th Circuit, plaintiff successfully reversed a district court grant of summary judgment in an opinion favorable to the antitrust plaintiff. The matter was thereafter tried before a jury in 1994. The jury returned a defense verdict which was affirmed on appeal.
- From 1990 to 1994, lead counsel for plaintiff in Metro Publishing, Ltd. v. San Jose Mercury News published opinion found at 987 F.2d 637 (9th Cir. 1993). This is an antitrust, trademark and below-cost sales action brought by plaintiff alternative newspaper against a large metropolitan daily. In 1994, the matter was favorably settled.
- From 1985 to 1990, lead counsel for plaintiff, a Los Angeles real estate syndication with in excess of 8,000 limited partnership investors, in Traweek v. S & S Investors, et al., San Diego (California) Superior Court. This was a contract, fraud and negligence action brought by Traweek who had purchased a $23.5 million apartment complex in Vista, California. The matter was litigated for five (5) years, tried before a jury over a two (2) month period. In 1989, the matter was favorably settled and the client received a cash payment. For an antitrust case brought for the same client, see Traweek v. City & County of San Francisco, 920 F.2d 589 (9th Cir. 1990).
- From 1985 to 1990, lead counsel for plaintiff, a private developer in Caz v. Bell Savings & Loan Association, Santa Clara (California) Superior Court. This was a lender liability action brought by plaintiff borrowers who purchased a $20 million parcel of real property from the Savings & Loan. In 1990, the case was tried before a jury and resulted in a verdict in favor of plaintiffs. In addition, the court made an award of attorney fees in our favor. The jury verdict was reversed on appeal in light of a FSLIC immunity doctrine which had developed against us.
- From 1986 to 1988, lead counsel for plaintiffs, a group of private insulation contractors, in Angelus Heating and Air Conditioning, et al. v. Southern California Gas Company, Inc., San Bernardino (California) Superior Court. This was an antitrust, contract, fraud and negligence action brought against a large, Southern California public utility. The matter was favorably settled in August of 1988.
- From 1986 to 1992, lead counsel for two of the plaintiffs in Stratmore v. Leslie Combs II, et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This was a federal and state securities action brought by plaintiff purchasers of private placement stock in Spendthrift Farms, Inc. The matter was litigated for approximately six (6) years. In 1989, it was tried before a jury over a period of approximately two and one-half (2 1/2) months and resulted in a defense verdict. Before trial, three of the defendants settled and agreed to pay $2.6 million to plaintiffs, two of whom were my clients. After trial, I was retained by ten other plaintiff purchasers for the appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the defense verdict. See, McGonigle v. Combs, 968 F.2d 810 (9th Cir. 1992).
- From 1984 to 1987, lead counsel for plaintiff, a Silicon Valley start-up, in Simutrek, Inc. v. Pioneer Video, Inc., United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This was an antitrust, fraud and contract action brought by plaintiff purchaser and game manufacturer who utilized laser disc players against Pioneer Electric Corporation of Japan and its American subsidiary, Pioneer Video. In 1987, the matter was tried for one month in the District Court and resulted in a favorable, $800,000.00 verdict. Shortly after trial, the matter was favorably settled.
- From 1985 to 1986, co-counsel for plaintiff, a private Silicon Valley software copyright holder, in American Telecorp, Inc. v. Bell Communication Research, Inc. et al., United States District Court for the Northern District of California. This was an antitrust action brought by plaintiff seller of sophisticated telephone switching devices comprising computer hardware and software against Bellcore, a commonly owned research and development company of the seven regional Bell operating companies. The matter was litigated for approximately one (1) year and resulted in a favorable settlement.
- From 1984 to 1985, co-counsel for plaintiff seller of collision avoidance systems for ocean going vessels in Radar Devices, Inc. v. Raytheon Co., Inc., United States District Court of the Northern District of California. This was a monopolization and restraint of trade case brought by a small manufacturer of hardware and software enhancement to on board ship radar systems. The matter was litigated for one and a half (1 1/2) years after which it was favorably settled.
- From 1980 to 1985, law clerk and later co-counsel for plaintiff, a large agricultural cooperative, in Rice Growers Association v Transamerica De Laval, San Francisco (California) Superior Court. This was a fraud, breach of warranty and negligence action brought by plaintiff purchaser of defective, medium speed diesel engines used to power an ocean-going vessel. The matter was litigated for five (5) years and tried before a jury over a four (4) month period. It resulted in a $39 million verdict in favor of the Rice Growers. After the trial court remitted the verdict, the case was settled on a favorable basis.
Alioto & Alioto LLP is an antitrust, intellectual property and business litigation firm located in Northern California. Alioto & Alioto's clients include small to medium businesses including listed, public companies. Where required, Alioto & Alioto LLP has associated other law firms to work under its direct supervision to aid in the prosecution or defense of our client's case. Such association is always done with prior client guidance and approval.