Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Hoffman

Published: July 1, 2019

Ken Taylor Com Laude McLean, Virginia, USA

Catherine Hoffman is a member of Dickinson Wright PLLC’s trademark and intellectual property (IP) litigation practice group, at the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, office. Ms. Hoffman has been practicing trademark law for more than 15 years, and has been a member of INTA for almost as long. She currently serves as the Chair of INTA’s Unfair Competition-Advocacy Subcommittee.

After graduating from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, Ms. Hoffman worked as a software engineer for Burroughs Corporation and Electronic Data Systems. In this role, she traveled the world extensively, implementing and testing banking software solutions.

Ms. Hoffman earned her law degree from the University of Miami, after which she served as law clerk to the Honorable C. Clyde Atkins (S.D. Fla.), and later as staff attorney for the Honorable John W. Dell and the Honorable George W. Hersey at the Florida Appellate Courts, Fourth District Court of Appeal.

Prior to joining Dickinson Wright, Ms. Hoffman was the Managing Partner of the boutique IP firm Mayback & Hoffman PA, along with her husband Gregory Mayback (a patent attorney, and also a member of Dickinson Wright, since the firms merged in 2018).

Ms. Hoffman says her idea of work-life balance “was to start my own firm with my husband when the kids were in elementary school.” By the time her twin daughters were 22 years old and had entered their last year of college, she and her husband felt the time was right to bring their practice to a “national platform” and agreed to merge the two firms.

Ms. Hoffman’s soft spot in the IP field is for certification trademarks. “My interest was sparked,” she says, “when clients in Germany discovered the infringement and misuse of the SOLINGEN certification mark, which belongs to a German trade association: The Chamber of Industry and Commerce Wuppertal-Solingen-Remschied.” She notes that “products displaying the SOLINGEN certification mark must be produced in Solingen, Germany” and must meet specific requirements set forth in German law under the so-called Solingen Decree. Ms. Hoffman successfully negotiated a settlement agreement and permanent injunction to stop a celebrity chef and online shopping network from selling “Solingen” knives that were actually being made in China.

Among Ms. Hoffman’s passions are hiking and the Colorado mountain air. “There are physical and mental challenges of hiking that challenge your body and mind very differently from raising a family or representing clients,” she says. “Also, it helps that theWiFi is weak in the mountains, so I can connect with friends and/or my own thoughts and disconnect from technology.”

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2019 International Trademark Association