Nicole L. Little is a litigator representing clients in intellectual property law matters involving patents, trademarks and unfair competition, and trade secret law, as well as contractual disputes and business torts. Nikki is skilled in all phases of discovery, pretrial, and trial procedure as well as appellate practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She has participated in numerous jury and bench trials, representing clients ranging from individual inventors to multinational corporations.
Nikki’s practice also extends to patent post-issuance proceedings at the USPTO, where she has represented clients both offensively and defensively in parallel with ongoing district court proceedings. In addition, she has considerable experience assisting clients with patentability, infringement, and validity opinions.
Nikki works with clients across a broad spectrum of technologies, including high-speed industrial printers, medical devices, construction and building products, computer software applications, lighting fixtures and circuitry, garage door systems, industrial equipment, tools, and stored-value card systems.
In addition, Nikki has experience in IP-related aspects of advertising, marketing, and promotions. In these areas, she assists clients in negotiating various advertising agreements, such as ad agency, PR agency, sponsorship, joint promotion, partnership, software as a service, work-for-hire, and non-disclosure agreements. Nikki has also counseled clients regarding substantiation, approval, and defense of advertising and labeling claims, as well as legal compliance with federal and state requirements, including with respect to websites, email, social media, mobile, sweepstakes, and other marketing activities.
Nikki is cofounder and chair of Chicago Women in IP (ChiWIP), a networking and mentoring group committed to the connection, promotion, and success of professional Chicago women in all stages of practice of every facet of IP law.
United States Gypsum Co. v. National Gypsum Corp. (D. Del. 2017–19). Represented patent owner USG in pursuing claims of infringement against National Gypsum under numerous patents directed to gypsum wallboard manufacturing technology. In response to the litigation, defendant National Gypsum filed seven petitions with the PTAB requesting inter partes review of the asserted patents, discussed below. Serving in the second-chair role, currently managing all discovery and pretrial matters and assisting with claim construction proceedings.
National Gypsum Corp. v. United States Gypsum Co. (PTAB 2017). Represented patent owner USG in defense of seven petitions and supporting expert declarations filed by National Gypsum in response to district court litigation. Prepared preliminary responses and expert declarations in response to each of the petitions. After considering the petitions, preliminary responses and expert declarations, the PTAB denied institution of trial in all proceedings.
Medline Industries, Inc. v. C.R. Bard, Inc. (N.D. Ill. 2018–20). Currently representing patent owner Medline in a series of cases pursuing claims of infringement against Bard under numerous patents directed to catheterization technology.
Industrial Print Technologies v. Hewlett-Packard Company et al. (N.D. Tex. 2015–20)
Industrial Print Technologies v. Canon, Inc. et al. (S.D.N.Y. 2014–16) Currently representing patent owner enforcing a portfolio of patents directed to variable content digital printing presses. Serving in the second-chair role, assisting with claim construction proceedings and managing all discovery and pretrial matters. Numerous lawsuits against the manufacturers and users of the accused printing systems were filed in different federal courts. Three cases involving Canon were favorably settled in January 2016. Seven cases involving HP equipment were consolidated for pre-trial discovery and claim construction. The case is currently on appeal to the Federal Circuit.
Matlin et al. v. Spin Master Corp. (N.D. Ill. 2018–19). Serving as local counsel for defendant Spin Master against claims of breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment. Has advised lead counsel on various aspects of the case, including in connection with successful motions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for Rule 11 Sanctions against the plaintiff.
Lone Star Silicon Innovations LLC v. Micron Technology, Inc. et al. (N.D. Cal. 2016–19). Currently representing plaintiff in several patent infringement actions for multiple semiconductor process patents that relate to memory and other large-scale integrated semiconductor devices.
Travel Caddy, Inc. v. Uncle Dan’s, Ltd. (N.D. Ill. 2018–19). Represented patent owner Travel Caddy in its enforcement of a series of patents directed to anti-theft backpacks and handbags. The case was favorably settled in January 2019.
The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Industries Co. (N.D. Ill. 2016–18). Served as local counsel for patent owner Chamberlain in its enforcement of a series of patents directed to various novel aspects of their garage door openers. Advised lead counsel on various aspects of the case, including in connection with a motion for preliminary injunction and other procedural issues. Also handled discovery disputes and defended several depositions in connection with the case. The case went to trial in August 2017 with a successful outcome for Chamberlain.
Vaxcel International Co., Ltd. and North Tech International Co., Ltd. v. HeathCo LLC, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., and Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (N.D. Ill. 2015–16). Represented defendants HeathCo and Lowe’s in second-chair role in a patent infringement action regarding a patent that allegedly covered use of LED bulbs in dimmable light fixtures. Also represented Lowe’s in a related claim for breach of contract and other state law claims brought by North Tech. The case was settled after being partially stayed pending institution of an inter partes review, discussed below.
HeathCo LLC v. Vaxcel International Co. Ltd. (PTAB 2016). Prepared a petition and expert declaration challenging validity of the sole independent claim asserted against HeathCo in the corresponding district court action. PTAB issued an institution decision on the challenged claim, leading to the parties’ settlement shortly thereafter.
Google Inc. and Apple Inc. v. ContentGuard Holdings, Inc. (PTAB 2015–16). Assisted in preparing preliminary responses in 35 IPR and CBM proceedings filed against ContentGuard’s digital rights management patent portfolio. Five proceedings dismissed voluntarily. After submission of patent owner preliminary responses, obtained PTAB decisions denying institution of trial in all but one remaining proceeding.
Rain Bird Corporation v. Baseline, Inc. (C.D. Cal. 2014). Represented plaintiff Rain Bird in a patent infringement lawsuit related to irrigation controls. Settlement was reached.
Alexsam, Inc. v. Best Buy Co., Inc., et al. (E.D. Tex. 2010–13).Member of trial team in jury trial consolidating various defenses of invalidity asserted by seven major retailers against patents for activating stored-value cards at the point of sale. Obtained jury verdict affirming validity of the patents.
Outside the Box Innovations, LLC v. Travel Caddy, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2012). Represented Travel Caddy in appeal from district court judgment of partial infringement, invalidity, and unenforceability of patents directed to tool-carrying bags. After assuming representation from another firm, our appellate trial team obtained reversal of both grounds of inequitable conduct, vacator of invalidity ruling, and affirmance of infringement ruling as to one product.
Alexsam, Inc. v. NetSpend Corp. (Travis County Dist. Ct., Tex. 2007–12). Represented plaintiff in a breach of license action involving stored-value cards. Reached successful jury verdict of $18 million in state court case involving breach of license agreement; prevailed in subsequent bench trial addressing a most-favored licensee defense, resulting in $24 million settlement.
Alexsam, Inc. v. IDT Corp. (E.D. Tex. 2007–11). Secured successful jury verdict representing plaintiff in a patent infringement action related to systems and methods for conducting transactions and managing accounts associated with stored-value cards. The jury verdict was named a Top 25 Texas Verdict and the seventh-largest IP verdict in Texas for 2011.
The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Overhead Door Corp. (N.D. Ill. 2011). Settlement was reached.
Software Restore Solutions, LLC v. Apple et al. (N.D. Ill. 2010–11). Represented plaintiff in patent infringement lawsuit related to software fault detection and repair technology that enables software applications to automatically diagnose and fix problems with their set-up configuration for more stable and reliable operation. Settlement was reached.
SmartSignal Corporation v. Xu Xiao (N.D. Ill. 2010). Represented plaintiff in a patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract action for technology related to industrial equipment health conditioning and monitoring. Settlement was reached.
WMH Tool Group, Inc. v. Woodstock International, Inc. and Grizzly Industrial, Inc. (N.D. Ill. 2007). Represented plaintiff in a trade dress infringement action related to woodworking and metal working tools. Settlement was reached.
RPA International Pty Ltd. v. Compact International, Inc. et al. (S.D. Cal. 2006). Represented plaintiff patentee in successful patent infringement action in which a judgment of over $3 million and permanent injunction were entered.