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OVERVIEW

Donald E. Knebel
Of Counsel (Retired)

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P 317-231-7214

F 317-231-7433

OVERVIEW

Donald E. Knebel
Of Counsel (Retired)

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P 317-231-7214

F 317-231-7433

Donald E. Knebel is of counsel (retired) in Barnes & Thornburg, resident in the Indianapolis office. He was a member of the firm's Intellectual Property Law Department.

OVERVIEW

Donald E. Knebel Of Counsel (Retired)

Indianapolis

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204-3535

P : 317-231-7214

Donald E. Knebel is of counsel (retired) in Barnes & Thornburg, resident in the Indianapolis office. He was a member of the firm's Intellectual Property Law Department.

Donald's concentrated his practice on cases involving claims of patent infringement, violations of the antitrust laws, unfair competition and trademark infringement, improper termination of distributors and sales representatives, and violation of non-competition agreements. He was involved in cases in 23 states and tried cases to verdict in 10 states. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since the first edition in 1983 and was named the 2011 Indianapolis Intellectual Property Litigation Lawyer of the Year. In 2015 and 2018, he was recognized by Best Lawyers as a "Lawyer of the Year." He has been identified by Chambers USA America's Leading Lawyers for Business publication as 'the best in Indiana for patent litigation.' A survey by Mondaq, an English company, identified him as one of the most recommended lawyers in the world in the field of patent law. Additionally, Donald has been recognized as an Indiana Super Lawyer.

Donald serves as adjunct professor and senior advisor to the Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law. He has lectured widely to many types of groups on assuring compliance with antitrust laws and related topics. He was also a frequent speaker on the use of technology, including animation, in patent cases. Donald has written numerous articles, several published in recognized journals, involving antitrust laws and the protection of intellectual property. He is coauthor of the Indiana chapter of State Antitrust Practice and Statutes, published by the American Bar Association.

Donald received a B.S.E.E. with highest distinction from Purdue University in 1968 and worked from 1968 to 1971 as an electronics design engineer for Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School in 1974 and joined Barnes & Thornburg that same year. Donald is admitted to practice in Indiana and before the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th and Federal Circuits, as well as several federal district courts.

EXPERIENCE
  • Affirmed trial court's finding of non-infringement of defendant's patent.
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys represent defendant Knauf Insulation GmbH, a leading manufacturer of fiberglass insulation, in three related antitrust actions concerning allegations of price fixing and price differentials to a major customer. The direct purchaser plaintiffs, on behalf of a class of contractors who purchased residential fiberglass insulation, alleged that the five largest producers of fiberglass insulation engaged in price-fixing by agreeing with a large, common customer (Masco) to maintain a "price spread" between insulation sold to the customer and that sold to other contractors. Plaintiffs alleged damages in the action exceeding $750 million. After three manufacturers had already entered settlements in the direct purchaser case, Knauf negotiated a cost-of-litigation settlement that was less than half the settlement of any other defendant, and only 10% of one of the manufacturer's settlements. Masco settled on the eve of the trial in the summer of 2012.

    Two groups of indirect purchasers also filed suit. Barnes & Thornburg negotiated dismissal with prejudice on behalf of all defendants in one case in exchange for an agreement not to seek sanctions (Lummis). Motions to dismiss the second case are still pending in the Northern District of Georgia (Von Der Werth).

    Columbus Drywall & Insulation, Inc. et al v. Masco Corp., et. al., Case No. 1:04-cv-3066-JEC (N.D. Ga 2004) (Direct Purchaser Class Action); Von Der Werth v. Johns Manville Corporation, et al., Case No. 1:07-cv-2012-JEC (N.D. Ga 2007) (Indirect Purchaser Class Action); Lummis v. Johns Manville Corporation, 2:05-CV-298-FTM-29SPC, (M.D. Fla 2005) (Indirect Purchaser Class Action)
  • Barnes & Thornburg attorneys represented Peg Perego, a manufacturer of premium quality strollers, high chairs and car seats, in three cases alleging that baby product manufacturers conspired with Babies ‘R’ Us to impose resale pricing policies on Internet retailers in violation of Section One of the Sherman Act. Two retailers brought the first case in 2005, followed by follow-on nationwide class actions brought by consumers who purchased the relevant products from Babies ‘R’ Us. After five years of motions to dismiss (including one granted with leave to amend after the Supreme Court's ruling in Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc., 551 U.S. 877 (2007)), extensive discovery, and class certification, defendants reached an agreement in 2010 to globally settle the class actions. Peg Perego's contribution to the class settlement amounted to less than 9 percent of the claimed single-damages against it. All Defendants other than Peg Perego settled the retailer action shortly after the class settlement, but Peg Perego elected to take its case to summary judgment and, if necessary, trial on plaintiffs' claims of more than $12 million in treble damages. After Barnes & Thornburg attorneys completed oral argument on the summary judgment motion in September 2011, the plaintiffs agreed to settle the entire action and dismiss their claims with prejudice without any payment by Peg Perego.

    BabyAge.com v. Toys 'R' Us, Inc, et. al. 2:05-06792-AB (E.D. Pa 2005); McDonough v. Toys 'R' Us, Inc, et. al. 2:05-06792-AB (E.D. Pa 2006); Elliott et al. v. Toys 'R' Us, Inc., et. al. 2:09-cv-06151-AB (E.D. Pa 2009).
  • Barnes & Thornburg represented pharmaceutical company in an action to have two of its employees recognized as investors on a patent. On appeal, the court partially affirmed entry of judgment in our client's favor.
  • Claim against client was dismissed for forum non conveniens in suit for fraud and wrongful termination of distributor.
  • Defended manufacturer of blood glucose meters and test strips against claims of patent infringement in a multi-billion dollar market. The case settled after the plaintiffs potential recovery was reduced by partial summary judgments of laches and invalidity and a motion in limine barring a substantial portion of the plaintiffs remaining damages claim.
  • Defended Martin Marietta in P.R. Chunk's appeal of lower court's decision to award no damages in claim for request for patent royalties; court affirmed lower court's opinion.
  • In this case involving intermittent windshield wipers, claims against the client were dismissed for failure to prosecute. The client collected over $240,000 in discovery and other sanctions.
  • Represented automotive parts manufacturer client in a patent infringement case involving automotive fuel caps. The jury awarded the client more than $1 million.
  • Represented client defendant against claims of monopolization/attempt to monopolize. Defendant defeated motion for preliminary injunction and was granted voluntary dismissal with prejudice in less than a week.
  • Represented defendant named in multi-count complaint for antitrust violations, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, etc. Telecommunication client obtained dismissal of several claims and court granted summary judgment on the remainder.
  • Represented Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., which obtained summary judgment in defending a nationwide antitrust action brought in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania concerning exclusive dealing with sports sanctioning bodies.

    Plaintiff Specialty Tires of America (STA), a producer of racing tires, alleged that defendant Hoosier Racing Tire (Hoosier), a rival tire producer, violated the antitrust laws by entering exclusive agreements with organizations that sanction races on dirt oval tracks in the United States and Canada. The agreements at issue specified that the sanctioning body must require racers to use Hoosier-branded tires, and that Hoosier would pay the sanctioning body a specified amount of sponsorship or promotional money. STA alleged these exclusive agreements violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act because Hoosier had a more than 70 percent share of sales in the alleged market for "dirt oval track tires," and precluded STA from competing for the sale of such tires to racers. STA also sued DIRT Motor Sports, one of the sanctioning bodies with a Hoosier-only tire rule.

    Hoosier filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that STA could not maintain its case because did not suffer an "antitrust injury," as any loss of tire sales it suffered flowed from the competition for exclusive contracts, and injury resulting from the competitive process cannot be compensated by the antitrust laws. Hoosier also argued that, as a matter of law, a sports sanctioning body can decide whether to require its participants to use a particular manufacturer's products without violating the antitrust laws. Hoosier objected to STA's definition of the relevant market and Hoosier's share in that market, but assumed the allegations as true for purposes of the motion.

    The Court agreed with Hoosier and granted summary judgment, holding that “there is no antitrust injury to STA when it loses the competitive battle to be the exclusive supplier,’” and that any injury when it loses a bid is "the inevitable result of competition for exclusive contracts." The Court also held that where "a sanctioning body freely decided to adopt a single tire rule, and then freely selects a supplier, no antitrust violation is present as a matter of law -- either under Section 1 or Section 2 of the Sherman Act," regardless of market share, and that STA had not submitted any evidence that Hoosier used coercive measures to prevent STA from entering into its own exclusive single tire contracts.

    On appeal, the Third Circuit affirmed, in a precedential decision, noting that sports sanctioning bodies "deserve a bright-line rule to follow so they can avoid potential antitrust liability as well as time-consuming and expensive antitrust litigation," and holding that where an organization in good faith has "freely adopted their own equipment rules and then freely entered into exclusive contracts with the respective suppliers," the resulting agreement does not violate the antitrust laws, even if the supplier has a high market share and pays for the exclusivity.

    Race Tires of America, Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., et al., 2009 WL 2998138 (W.D. Pa, Sept. 15, 2009); aff’d 614 F.3d 57 (3d Cir. July 23, 2010); costs awarded 2011 WL1748620 (W.D. Pa, May 6, 2011).
  • Represented publishing client defendant at jury trial in a predatory pricing case in the print advertising industry.
  • Represented the defendant, a Canadian company accused of infringing an Indiana-based company's two patents to systems and methods for semi-trailer tarpaulins. After a combined Markman and summary judgment hearing (oral argument by Vare), the trial court ruled that our client did not infringe either of the patents and that all but one of the claims of one patent were invalid under the on-sale bar of 35 U.S.C. Sec. 102(b). The trial court's ruling was not appealed.
  • The court granted Client's motion for summary judgment, finding that Dow had not infringed upon Crompton Corp.'s patent.
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