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Masuda Funai represents domestic and foreign-owned businesses from nearly every industry and profession regarding their commercial, competition and trade law challenges and objectives. Our decades of experience give us a unique perspective for analyzing the complex issues inherent in such matters, and in designing solutions that minimize our clients’ exposure to risk while strengthening their chances for success.

Our competition and trade experience includes legal counsel pertaining to antitrust, unfair trade practices, import and export compliance, domestic and international sales and distribution agreements, secured sales arrangements, nationwide and cross-border logistics and FDA compliance, as well as government contracts, Buy American and Made in America matters. We counsel clients on the various federal and state laws and court decisions that impact today’s competitive economy, including competitor collusion and false and/or deceptive and corrupt trade practices. We advise on pricing, trade secrets and intellectual property, false advertising, employee raiding and violations of covenants not to compete.

Our firm understands the legal and economic circumstances underlying trade-related initiatives. Our attorneys are knowledgeable in technical areas of the Lanham Act, federal and state fraud statutes, trade secret laws, the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman Antitrust Acts, trade dress and trade disparagement laws, as well the Buy American Act and Buy America provisions.

We know how to interact with the state and federal agencies that supervise and govern competition and trade, including the Departments of State, Justice and Commerce, as well as the Federal Trade Commission and Food & Drug Administration. We are dedicated to overcoming the specific U.S. legal challenges presented by domestic, international, digital and commercial traffic in goods, services and communications. The true value of the counsel and representation our lawyers provide in competition and trade law is not only measured by the number of projects successfully completed for scores of regional and nationwide manufacturing, distribution, sales and service systems of domestic and foreign companies, but also by the many thriving working relationships we maintain with clients who retain us again and again.

In the event litigation should arise, we help our clients with domestic and cross-border disputes involving sophisticated competition issues. Our global network of resources allows us to leverage the experience of legal professionals worldwide in order to deliver comprehensive advice on domestic and international trade.

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Range of Services Experience

Experience

Advised a supplier of industrial machinery on supply of production equipment to a leading manufacturer of electric cars.

Helped a manufacturer of capital equipment conclude an Equipment Development and Purchase Agreement with a major Silicon Valley consumer electronics brand, while protecting the manufacturer's key intellectual property rights, and minimizing its exposure to indemnification and liability.
Helped an electronic components manufacturer prove the accuracy of its pricing in a pricing dispute with a worldwide manufacturer of optical and electronic products under strategic agreement.
Representation of a large Japanese manufacturer of industrial equipment (and its foreign subsidiaries) in the restructuring of its supply arrangements and licensing of manufacturing technology with its European counterpart (and subsidiaries) worldwide, attributable for sales of several hundred million dollars annually.
Advised a component manufacturer of name brand consumer electronics in an investigation of breach of secure supply chain by a third party utilizing components for a competing brand.
Successfully represented an importer of industrial tools before U.S. Customs authority in prior disclosure proceedings which avoided penalties on $10 million worth of imported merchandise.
Advised a major manufacturer of mechanical components on impacts and financial strategy necessary to respond to U.S. antidumping and counterveiling duty orders on imported steel products.
Advised an automated production equipment supplier on export control regulation compliance in supply of equipment to a major manufacturer of commercial spacecraft.

Settled on highly favorable terms claims of wrongful dealer termination pending in federal court in Puerto Rico against a manufacturer of outdoor power equipment.

Successfully represented companies in state and federal court on trade secret protection, unfair competition, breach of fiduciary duty and tortious inference cases.

Obtained a judgment in excess of $400,000 in federal court for a Japanese bank concerning a dispute over a standby letter of credit.
Prepared and negotiated secured financing agreements for the sale of industrial equipment in the United States and Mexico.
Prepared, negotiated and implemented standard and customized contracts, including sales representative, distributorship and terms and conditions of sale agreements, for a variety of industries, such as printing presses, electronic components, automotive parts and machine tools.

Negotiated numerous equipment sale and finance agreements, including long-term agreements representing hundreds of millions of dollars in sales and financing.

Negotiated software development, licensing and distribution agreements for an international video game developer and distributor.
People

People

Richard O. Briggs
Of Counsel, Los Angeles
P 310.630.5900
Steven L. Katz
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Kenton P. Knop
Associate, Chicago
P 312.245.7460
George H. Kobayashi
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Reinhold F. Krammer
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Asa W. Markel
Principal, Los Angeles
P 310.630.5900
Sachiyo Yamada Miller
Associate, Los Angeles
P 310.630.5900
Monika R. Oyama
Associate, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Joseph S. Parisi
Principal, Schaumburg
P 847.734.8811
Stephen M. Proctor
Principal, Schaumburg
P 847.734.8811
Nancy E. Sasamoto
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
John B. Stanis
Principal, Schaumburg
P 847.734.8811
Edward J. Underhill
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Gary Vist
Principal, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
Jiwon Juliana Yhee
Associate, Chicago
P 312.245.7500
News & Events
Legal Updates/Client Advisories
U.S. Imposes List 3 Tariff on Chinese Goods
This week the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) released the final version of its third list of Chinese origin goods subject to a 10% import…
Breach of Contract and Interference Claims Fail Due to Statute of Limitations
In a recent update, we discussed a topical 7th Circuit Court of Appeals case in which an unpaid law firm successfully fended off a defense…
Ten Years After Crash, Litigation Continues – Directors of Bankrupt Holding Company not Liable to Trustee
The Great Recession of 2008 may seem a distant memory. September 15, 2018 is the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, the…
U.S. Tariffs on Chinese Goods Continue
Many companies have already begun reviewing their supply chains to determine if it is possible to avoid or minimize the use of Chinese…
Unsigned Contract Still a Written Contract
Can an unsigned contract still be a contract? The answer is yes, for statute of limitations purposes, says the 7th Circuit Court of…
Fraudster's "Blame the Victim" Defense Fails
Richard Carter was a rancher in Wyoming where he operated a family-owned cattle ranch. He had the misfortune of using a dishonest broker…
"Notwithstanding Anything to the Contrary" Language Disputed in Recent Case
Drafters frequently use language such as “Notwithstanding anything [in this section] or [in this agreement]” to emphasize and make clear…
U.S. Allows Importers to Obtain Exclusions to Tariffs on Chinese Goods
U.S. importers of Chinese goods and components should be aware that the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has posted instructions…
U.S. Commerce Department Grants Product-Specific Exemptions to Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
This past week, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that it will be excluding 42 steel products on behalf of seven different companies…
GDPR and Overseas Businesses: Beware the Standard Contractual Clauses
Most businesses should be aware by now that the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR) takes effect this week in the territory of the…
U.S. Announces Suspension of Tariffs on Chinese Goods
This Sunday (May 20, 2018), U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the U.S. will suspend the imposition of Tariffs on…
Public Comment Deadline for Chinese Import Tariffs Closing
This Friday (May 11, 2018), the deadline will have passed for public comments to the U.S. Trade Representative’s list of approximately…
The New EU Data Protection Regulation - A Global Standard For Data Privacy
Authors: Reinhold Krammer Co-Author: Caroline Kaeb (Foreign Legal Adviser) The new EU General Data Protection 2016/679 regulation (the…
Trademark Licensees in Limbo Again?
After a January 2018 decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals, trademark licensees are faced with uncertainty again. (In re…
DOJ Announces First-of-its-Kind Settlement Regarding "No-Poach" Agreement
On April 3, 2018, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit…
FTC Updated Guidance to Avoid "Gun Jumping" Liability During M&A Negotiations
On March 20, 2018, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued updated guidance concerning compliance with the antitrust laws while…
Facebook Privacy Litigation: U.S. Style Data Regulation
As the month of March ended, Facebook faced at least sixteen separate lawsuits relating to or spurred by the revelations concerning…
Overview of 2018 U.S. Tariffs
During 2018, President Trump has ordered three separate tariffs on products imported into the United States: Section 201 “safeguards” for…
Trump Directs U.S. Trade Representative to Propose Tariffs on Chinese Imports
This Thursday, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) concluded his seven-month investigation into whether the Chinese government unfairly…
Update on Country Exemptions from U.S. Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
On Thursday, the Trump Administration announced that the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports would be temporarily suspended…
E-1 Treaty Trader vs. E-2 Treaty Investor in the Age of Tariffs and Trade Wars
On March 23, 2018, in accordance with the March 8, 2018 Presidential Proclamation, the US will assess a 25% tariff on imported steel and a…
Department of Commerce Gives U.S. Importers New Procedures for Exemptions to Trump Steel and Aluminum Tariffs
This week, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) began taking applications from interested parties in the…
Status of U.S. Import Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum
The United States will assess import duties of 25% and 10%, respectively, of the value of all steel and aluminum imported on or after March…
Does Vague and Subjective Wording Imply A Meaningless Contract?
Contracts should be precise and objective. Drafters should avoid subjective and vague language that could be subject to conflicting…
Another Release Unsuccessfully Attacked by Releasing Party
In our update of January 2, 2018, we reported on a 7th Circuit case in which the releasing party, ADM, unsuccessfully tried to overcome the…
FTC Announces Increased Hart-Scott-Rodino and Clayton Act Section 8 Thresholds for 2018
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced its 2018 jurisdictional and filing fee thresholds under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust…
Challenger to Arbitration Award in More Trouble
In our December 4, 2017 Commercial, Competition & Trade Update, we discussed a recent 7th Circuit case in which the losing party in an…
Termination and Settlement Agreement is Really Final, In Spite of Efforts to Overturn
Most parties which conclude a release and settlement, or similar, agreement would probably expect the agreement to be final. According to a…
Another Failed Effort to Overturn Arbitration Award
In several previous Risk Management Updates, we have reported on losing parties' challenges to an arbitration award. While challenging an…
Fraudster and Victim Both Fail to Shift Loss
Anyone faced with a claim or a loss will look for someone else to pay the claim or bear the loss. In an interesting decision from the 7th…
Dealer's $6.5 Million Judgement Against Supplier Reversed Under Indiana Franchise Law
Courts and lawyers must deal with ambiguous statutes all the time. But Judge Wood's frustration with the Indiana Deceptive Franchise…
Effects of Assignor's Bankruptcy on Assignment of Payment Stream
In a May 2, 2017 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided the fate of a stream of rental payments from the bankrupt owner of a…
Federal Regulator to Accept Comments on Proposed Curbs to Late Charges for Containers
Less than a year after the West Coast ports of the United States recovered from labor disputes that resulted in significant transportation…
U.S. Federal Judge Refuses to Alter Bankruptcy Orders Protecting Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd.
Recent Events The federal district court in New Jersey recently denied an appeal by maritime creditors of Hanjin to lift bankruptcy…
Emergency Appeal in Hanjin Shipping Case Highlights Disconnect between Bankruptcy and Maritime Law in the United States
A number of towage and bunker suppliers in the Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. chapter 15 case have requested the intervention of a district court…
UNCITRAL Model Law Assists in Flow of Hanjin Containers during Bankruptcy
This past weekend, Hanjin vessels commenced unloading operations on the U.S. West Coast for the first time since Hanjin filed its…
Hanjin Shipping Now Under U.S. Bankruptcy Protection: Options for Shippers and Intermediaries
Yesterday afternoon in Newark, New Jersey, Judge John K. Sherwood of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court granted Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd.'s request…
The Gap is Closing on Vessel Seizures in the Hanjin Emergency
The Wall Street Journal has recently observed that if Hanjin Shipping Co. Ltd. fails in its attempts to reorganize and emerge from…
Judges Clash in Overturning Arbitration Awards
The debate about arbitration vs. litigation goes on, with partisans both for and against. One argument used by both sides is the finality…
Giving Up What You Are Entitled To
There were two recent cases from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, one on May 16 and one on May 17. The parties, judges, and areas of law…
End-User Makes End-Run to Sue Manufacturer/Supplier of Competing Product
One of the issues to be negotiated in a distributorship agreement is the allocation between the manufacturer and the distributor of risks…
Trademark Infringement Suit That Should Not Have Been
Often trademark infringement suits result from the unanticipated intersection of two apparently unrelated products or services. Sometimes…
Requirements Contract or Not? Courts Disagree
A contract for the sale of goods should state a quantity to be enforceable. (Uniform Commercial Code Article 2-201). Article 2 of the UCC…
Update: Bad Faith Negotiation or Hard Bargaining? Turns Out to Be Hard Bargaining
In an August 3, 2011 Business Update, we reported on a 7th Circuit decision which a thwarted purchaser of a business sued to recover a…
Dissatisfied Buyer Loses $2.7 Million on "Economic Loss" Doctrine
Child Craft, LLC (also known as Harrison Manufacturing, LLC) manufactured furniture for young children and infants. One of its key…
Wisconsin Dairy Equipment Manufacturer Gets Milked By Court
BouMatic is a Wisconsin dairy equipment manufacturer. Tilstra Dairy Equipment was its dealer in southwestern Ontario. BouMatic was not…
Contract With One-Sided Termination Enforced – Not a Perpetual Contract
In an earlier Risk Management Update, we reported on an Illinois case in which the court declined to enforce what it considered to be a…
"Exclusive" is a Dangerous Word to Use in Agreement
Many sales and distribution agreements purport to grant "exclusive" rights to a distributor or sales representative. A recent 7th Circuit…
Court Strikes Down Bogus Arbitration Provision
Courts generally bend over backwards to enforce a freely negotiated arbitration provision, especially between commercial parties. But a…
Fictional "Clean Slate" Computer Program Used In Batman Movie Is Not Infringing Existing Trademark
A recent decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals discussed the concept of "confusion" with respect to an unusual trademark…
Conan Doyle's Estate's "Quixotic" Efforts to Prevent Publication of Sherlock Holmes Book
A recent case from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals illustrates the time and expense required to respond to even a non-meritorious claim of…
Case Again Illustrates Importance of Terms and Conditions Especially Choice of Law – Seller May Lose Chance to Claim Interest and Attorneys' Fees
VLM Food Trading International, Inc. (VLM) was a Canadian agricultural supplier. One of its customers was Illinois Trading Company…
Borrower Escapes, But Guarantor Does Not, on $17 Million Debt
In a recent Risk Management Update, we reported on an Illinois case in which Michael Finley, former NBA star, avoided liability on his…
Another Case Where Freedom of Contract Goes Too Far – A Perpetual Contract
In an earlier Risk Management Update, we reported on a case in which a court refused to enforce what it perceived as an unenforceable…
Illinois Court Either Confirms or Limits Scope of Illinois Sales Representative Statute
The Illinois Sales Representative Act (820 ILCS 120/0.01 et. seq.) ("Act") is intentionally very favorable to sales representatives. It…
Freedom of Contract Goes Too Far - $4.3 Million Escrow is Not Liquidated Damages, But Unenforceable Penalty
One of the principals courts repeatedly cite is that of freedom of contract. For example, in a recent Risk Management Update, we discussed…
"Fiasco" Creates "Peculiar Case" – Unpaid Creditor Loses Chance for Summary Judgment
A common scenario in which a bank offered a line of credit based on a daily cash collateral report created a "peculiar case" which the…
Slow Creditor Loses Out on Chance to Collect $8 Million
There are cases when creditors, who are rarely favored with the passage of time, wait far too long to collect their debt. An example of a…
Protecting "Cracker Barrel" Trademark: Kraft Foods Has Good Week, Starbucks and Cracker Barrel Do Not
As was widely reported, on November 12, Kraft Foods won a $2.23 billion arbitration award against Starbucks arising from Starbucks' early…
Warning to Corporate Plaintiffs: Beware of Suing in a State Where you are Not Qualified
Corporations are created under state law. A corporation created under the law of one state can transact business in another (foreign)…
Former NBA Star Has to Take His Game to Another Level – Appeals Court Refuses to Enforce NBA Star's Personal Guaranty
Tim Grover is a celebrity athletic trainer whose clients have included Michael Jordan, Dwayne Wade, Scottie Pippen and other current and…
Limitation of Liability Contract Provision Enforced – Hotel Owner Loses $4.1 Million
It is common for a contract to include provisions that allocate risks and liabilities among the parties. These could range from a complete…
Effort to Reverse Arbitration Award Fails
In a recent Risk Management Update, we described the "arbitration from hell" in which the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and vacated…
The Arbitration from Hell
Supporters of arbitration as a form of dispute resolution point to its many advantages. These include quicker resolution, finality and use…
Lessons for Secured Creditors in Recent Decision
A recent Seventh Circuit decision authored by Judge Posner offers several lessons for secured creditors competing over the same collateral…
Forum Selection Clause Enforces "Home Court" Advantage
As playoff season approaches in professional football, basketball and other sports, teams will compete for "home court" advantage. Most…
Without a License, Distributor Not Franchisee, Says New Jersey Federal Court
One of the banes of a commercial lawyer is the distinction between an ordinary distributorship and a "franchise" under state law. Most…
Risks and Rewards of Sales Requirements in Distributor and Sales Representative Agreements
Suppliers, when appointing a distributor or a sales representative, will often want to include minimum sales requirements. These…
Written Sales Representative Agreement Succeeds in Limiting Commissions of Terminated Representative
It is common for manufacturers and sellers of products to use independent sales representatives to generate sales. These arrangements can…
Statute of Frauds Defense Fails Based on Course of Dealing
The statute of frauds requires certain contracts to be evidenced by a writing to be enforceable. It is based on an English statute from the…
7th Circuit Creates Conflict Among Federal Courts Regarding Ability of Bankrupt Trademark Licensor to Reject License Agreement; U.S. Supreme Court May Need to Decide
In a recent important decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a trademark licensor could not use its bankruptcy to deny the…
Bankruptcy of Licensor Threatens Twenty Year Old Trademark License in M&A Transaction
Merger and acquisition transactions frequently have included ongoing obligations of the parties to each other. In a recent decision by the…
Events
News
Masuda Funai Welcomes Three New Attorneys
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. is pleased to announce the addition of Lisa Dreishmire and Kenton Knop as attorneys in the firm’s…
Masuda Funai Hosts Northern Ireland Delegation
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell Ltd. hosted the Northern Ireland Delegation on April 16, 2018 as part of its ABC Mission visit to Chicago…