David Levitt is an experienced trial lawyer and mediator who focuses his practice in a number of distinct areas, including:
. Mr. Levitt’s intellectual property practice has included litigation and licensing issues in the areas of trademark, copyright, patent and computer law. He has advised clients on right of publicity issues involving the models used for a video game, litigated the use of trademarks as domain names (including issues of trademark infringement, trademark dilution, fair use and “first sale”), and successfully defended a record company which had purchased copyrights to music against claims of copyright infringement, reverse passing off and fraud made by the original artist. His work has included the defense of a copyright claim alleging that a television producer did not properly clear synchronization and master use rights for music, and representation of architects and magazine publishers in copyright and trademark matters. He has also provided advice on First Amendment implications in the context of publicly debated issues such as purported cancer cures.
. Mr. Levitt’s insurance coverage work has been diverse, spanning the range from “simple” personal lines coverage disputes to complex coverage litigation involving environmental and bankrupt health care providers. Included in his work has been resolution of coverage issues involved in hundreds of claims against insolvent national health care and nursing home operators, negotiating and litigating disputes in the bankruptcy court between the insurers, the debtor or trustee and the claimants. Mr. Levitt also has extensive experience in indemnity and duty to defend issues arising out of additional insured situations. Because he began his practice in the insurance coverage area, expanding it very early to the defense of claims, he has a unique appreciation of the risk-shifting issues facing insurers and self-insureds.
. Mr. Levitt’s product liability experience includes both chemical and machine related claims, both in the industrial and consumer contexts. Cases have included claims involving such diverse products as tractor-trailers, qualities of glass as used in high-rise buildings and pressure vessels, benzene, asbestos, gas valves, punch presses, welding equipment, grinding equipment, construction equipment, furnace design, heat-treating processes, food processing equipment, cancer drugs and floor joists. His product liability experience also naturally leads to the defense of fire claims, and he has tried and otherwise resolved cases involving fires allegedly caused by defective neon signs, carbon black, vaporizers, ceiling panels, gas valves and gas ranges, among others.
. Mr. Levitt has represented several trucking companies in serious cases involving a number of jurisdictions, and is experienced in the unique litigation needs of such organizations.
Mr. Levitt brings a fresh look and creative viewpoint to legal issues on a variety of topics affecting litigation. He particularly focuses on giving advice to clients regarding preventive measures that might avoid litigation in the future, or at least enhance the expectation of prevailing should litigation occur. He is frequently consulted on a preventive law basis, especially on issues involving insurance coverage, self-insurance and risk-shifting.
Mr. Levitt’s product liability litigation experience helps him to translate scientific issues for lay juries and judges. This is important both for product liability and intellectual property work.
Mr. Levitt joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in September 1979. He is the Leader of the firm’s Intellectual Property Practice Group.
Mr. Levitt is the 2010-2011 Secretary/Treasurer of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC) and will become its President in 2014. He is a past editor-in-chief of The IDC Quarterly
, as well as a frequent contributor, and he served as a member of the IDC Board of Directors for a number of years.
Mr. Levitt was a founding member of the Trucking Industry Defense Association. He is also a member of the American Bar Association sections on Litigation and Tort & Insurance Practice, including their intellectual property, product liability and insurance coverage committees, and a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association.
Mr. Levitt is also a very active member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI). He has written for many of its publications and served as editor on others. In October 2009 he was appointed Chair of the DRI Commercial Litigation Committee Intellectual Property Specialized Litigation Group (SLG). He served as the group’s Vice-Chair from 2007 to 2009. In addition, Mr. Levitt was profiled in the “Leadership Spotlight,” section of the December 3, 2007 edition of DRI’s e-newsletter, The Business Suit
Mr. Levitt has been recognized by his peers as a Leading Lawyer in the categories of Insurance / Insurance Coverage / Reinsurance Law, and Personal Injury Defense Law: Products Liability. In addition, he holds the AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability.
In 2007, Mr. Levitt was named as a “Super Lawyer” in the area of Intellectual Property by Illinois Super Lawyers
magazine. In August 2008 he was selected for inclusion in the August 2008 Corporate Counsel Edition of Super Lawyers
In the Fall of 2005, Mr. Levitt completed intensive training in mediation from the faculty of Pepperdine University School of Law’s top-ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and is a Certified Mediator in the Cook County Court-Annexed Major Case Civil Mediation Program.
Mr. Levitt’s writing and speaking background is extensive and mirrors the diversity of his practice.
He is the Editor in Chief of the Defense Research Institute’s “Defending Intellectual Property Claims – 2006,” published in October 2006, and is a co-author of one of its articles: “The Defense of Intellectual Property Misuse after Illinois Tool Works v. Independent Ink
.” Mr. Levitt is also the author of “Defenses to Assertions of Joint Patent Infringement,” a chapter in “Defending IP Claims, Vol. II,” also published by the Defense Research Institute, in 2007.
Mr. Levitt is a co-author of Chapters 4 and 10, “Choice-of-Law Issues Regarding Coverage,” and “Declaratory Judgment Actions,” respectively, in “lllinois Insurance Law,” published in March 2009 by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE).
His other publications include:
- “IP: Developments in Evaluation of Nominative Fair Use in Domain Names,” Inside Counsel, online edition, March 8, 2011.
- “IP: The Trend to End ‘Shortcuts’ in IP Litigation,” Inside Counsel, online edition, February 8, 2011.
- “The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Reed Elsevier – Does It Matter?” The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, April 2010.
- “The ‘Use in Commerce’ Red Herring,” The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, June 2009.
- “Inducing Infringement – How Much Knowledge is Required,” co-author, The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, April 2009.
- “Class Actions – The Challenges Facing Insurers in Defending Class Action Lawsuits,” paper co-author, DRI Insurance Coverage & Claims Institute Conference, April 2009.
- “Internal Procedures Face E-Discovery Too,” guest insurance law column, “Law 360 The Newswire for Business Lawyers,” March 13, 2009.
- “Counsel’s Obligations for E-Discovery: Is Zubulake Right?” Bloomberg Corporate Law Journal, Volume 3, Issue 7, Spring 2008.
- “Is Zubulake Right? Counsel’s Obligations for E-Discovery,” For the Defense, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, August 2007.
- “Declaratory Judgment Actions and the Actual Controversy Requirement,” The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, June 2007.
- “One Defense Lawyer’s Opinion,” IDC Quarterly, Summer 2006.
- “Manufacturer vs. Exclusive Distributor: Who Owns the Trademark?” co-author, The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, February 2006.
- “Attacking the Indian Arts and Crafts Act,” The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, September 2005.
- “Discovery of Coverage Counsel’s File: A Narrow Case with Wide Implications,” IDC Quarterly, Third Quarter 2005.
- “Negligent Entrustment: Get it Dismissed,” TIDA newsletter, Summer 2005.
- “Misuse of ‘Initial Interest Confusion’ in Cyberspace,” The Business Suit, a publication of the Defense Research Institute’s Commercial Litigation Committee, November 2004.
- “A Critical Look at the Right of Publicity: Proper Plaintiffs and Proper Damages,” News Source, a publication of the Center for Intellectual Property Law of The John Marshall Law School.
- “Rights and Liabilities of Third-Party Administrators,” author, presented in several different venues.
- “Declaratory Judgment Suits,” a chapter in the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Liability Insurance publication, author since 1995. “One Defense Lawyer’s Opinion,” author, column appears quarterly in IDC Quarterly.
- “The Insurer Defense Obligation: A Survey of the 50 States,” 1989.
- “Strict Liability and Comparative Fault: What Standard Should Apply,” Illinois Bar Journal, 1986.
Mr. Levitt’s presentations include:
- “State Law IP Remedies and Other Forgotten Claims,” DRI Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, April 2011.
- “Examining the Issues Faced by the Third-Party Claims Handler,” IDC and Illinois Insurance Association 2010 Claims & Defense Tactics Symposium, Oak Brook, Illinois, March 2010.
- “What Every Commercial Litigator Should Know About IP,” DRI Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, October 2009.
- “Class Actions – The Coverage Related Challenges Faced by Insurers,” DRI Insurance Coverage and Claims Institute, Chicago, Illinois, April 2009.
- “Copyright Law for Design Professionals,” Structural Engineers Association of Illinois workshop, Chicago, Illinois, March 2009.
- “IT Contracting,” Hinshaw’s 2008 Health Care Conference, Lisle, Illinois, November 2008.
- “Patent Litigation: The Lincoln Park Zoo – Predators,” Defense Research Institute seminar “Intellectual Property Litigation,” Chicago, Illinois, September 2008.
- “Selected Legal Issues in Filmmaking,” Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, August 2008.
- “Lawyers on the Edge and How to Restore Civility and Competence to the Proceedings,” Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel seminar “Ethics and the Legal Profession,” Chicago, Illinois, June 2008.
- “Counsel’s Obligation for E-Discovery: Is Zubulake Right?” Bloomberg Litigation Seminar “Hot Topics in E-Discovery,” New York, New York, June 2008.
- “First Response – What to Do When Your Client Gets Hit With an Intellectual Property Claim,” live teleconference, Defense Research Institute Commercial Litigation Committee, December 2007.
- “Additional Insureds and Targeted Tenders,” moderator, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s seminar “Construction Insurance Symposium,” St. Louis, Missouri, September 2007.
- “Counsel’s Obligation for E-Discovery: Is Zubulake Right?” speaker and co-chair, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel’s seminar, “E-Discovery,” Chicago, Illinois, January 2007.
- “Legitimate Uses of Trademarks in Cyberspace,” Chicago Bar Association Computer Law Committee, 2002.
- “The Red Herring of Negligent Hiring Claims,” Trucking Industry Defense Association’s seminar, 1997.
- “Premature Prediction of the Preemption Defense’s Demise,” with Scott Smith, Leader’s Product Liability Law & Strategy, 1997.