Mike Rafter focuses his practice in the areas of trademark and advertising law. He serves as principal trademark counsel for a number of companies with well-known brands and large brand portfolios and manages their trademark portfolios and disputes throughout the world.
Mr. Rafter helps clients implement cost-effective strategies to protect their existing trademarks and, when necessary, to enforce their rights in those marks. He provides straightforward, practical advice when they are considering new marks, helping them understand and evaluate, for example, whether the new mark will be difficult or expensive to protect, or whether someone is likely to sue them for infringement. Mr. Rafter has particular experience with the protection of: non-traditional marks (e.g., color); trade dress (e.g., product configuration or packaging); and marks at risk of losing distinctiveness (i.e., marks that an infringer might allege have become “generic” and therefore cannot be protected).
Mr. Rafter regularly coordinates and manages trademark litigation, opposition and cancellation proceedings in Europe, Asia and South America and has represented many companies in trademark and false advertising litigation in the United States, both in federal court and in proceedings before the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. He has recommended and successfully resolved trademark disputes through mediation and has resolved false advertising disputes through binding arbitration as well as proceedings before the National Advertising Division (“NAD”) of the Council for Better Business Bureaus.
While Mr. Rafter’s clients are not limited to particular industries, he does have particular experience representing owners of well-known brands for batteries, beer, building materials, carpet, cleaning chemicals, doughnuts, flashlights, franchised electrical and plumbing services, fertilizers, frozen sandwiches, hair dryers and clippers, insect repellents and insecticides, lawn and garden chemicals, lighting fixtures and controls, paper towels, pet products, restaurant services, shavers, synthetic turf, and wood preservative chemicals.
Mr. Rafter’s legal career was enhanced by his early role as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army where he spent his first several years of practice essentially serving as in-house counsel for several military organizations. A few years after joining the firm, he was seconded to an important client of the firm to serve temporarily as one of its in-house trademark counsel. Both experiences gave Mr. Rafter first-hand knowledge of the demands facing in-house counsel.
Professional & Community Activities
Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Board of Directors, President
International Trademark Association, INTA Bulletin Committee
State Bar of Georgia, Intellectual Property Section, Member