Tim Hyland Member
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Tim Hyland is a true lawyer for the 21st century, focusing his practice on technology, government contracts and IP litigation issues that were largely unheard of just a couple decades ago. He is also uniquely positioned as an attorney who can assist companies with issues related to the increasingly complex and sensitive matters that the intelligence community faces. At the same time, he applies his high-tech savvy to old-fashioned legal counsel for clients across a range of industries.
Tim has been involved with internet law since its infancy, back when only one small government contractor was registering domain names. As disputes arose over these domains, Tim was brought in to litigate the matters, such as the case of first impression of Network Solutions, Inc. v. Umbro International, Inc., and that’s how his career in internet law was born. His work in the fast-growing technology law arena includes systems integration litigation, and managing disputes relating to cybersquatting, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, data piracy and i-Gaming issues. Work in the i-Gaming arena includes involvement in the notable case before the Kentucky Supreme Court for the seizure of 141 domain names of internet gambling sites, on which he gave a presentation to the Council of European National Top Level Domain Registries (CENTR) in 2011. In addition, Tim is well-versed in the emerging marketplace for the purchase and sale of IPv4 Number Blocks.
Clients with IP litigation needs related to cybersquatting, copyright issues, and trademark infringement relating to products such as iPhone applications rely on Tim’s technology background combined with his business acumen to represent them in these mission critical matters. He stays up-to-date on IP issues by consistently attending World Intellectual Property Organization and other symposiums.
In addition to the advice he provides to technology firms, clients ranging from the health care to automotive industries have developed long-term relationships with Tim for general business counsel. Tim differentiates himself from many outside counsel by regularly visiting his clients’ offices and sitting in on senior staff meetings in order to provide a fresh perspective based on years of experience, understanding that legal advice is only valuable when takes into account the client’s business needs and goals.
Professional + Community
- Board of Directors, University of Richmond Law School Alumni Association
“Domain Name Seizures: A Primer on the Government’s Hot New Weapon Against Internet Businesses,“ Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report
|February 27, 2013|
Tim Hyland, Speaker, “Trash Talk? Viral Leaks? What to do When Employees and the Public Take to the Internet Town Square,” WMACCA Technology and IP Forum, McLean, VA
|February 19, 2013|
Tim Hyland Co-Author, “Boundary Law in Virginia,” National Business Institute
Tim Hyland speaker, “Kentucky v. 141 Domain Names,” Council of European Top-Level Domain Registries, Rockville, Maryland
|May 19, 2010|
Dismissal of Multiple Domain Registration Cases
John Zuccarini holds the dubious honor of being the only person known to have been imprisoned under the Truth in Domain Names Act. And when he was released from prison, his troubles were far from over.
Zuccarini had been found liable for cybersquatting against Office Depot with the domain name “offic-depot.com” and a judgment was entered against him in 2000. Office Depot assigned its right to the judgment to DS Holdings, and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered various domain name registrars to transfer control of 248 domain names to a Receiver appointed by the court. DSH planned to ultimately auction the domain names to collect part of the judgment. The registrars complied, but more than two years later, the Receiver failed to renew some of the domain name registrations through no fault of the registrars. The now-lapsed domain names were subsequently auctioned in accordance with the Receiver’s agreement with one of the registrars, using an auction platform.
Thus began a litigation saga that only Zuccarini could plot, and which only Ifrah Law partner Tim Hyland could resolve for his clients, one of the registrars and the auction platform. After several years of legal maneuvers across multiple jurisdictions – California, Florida and Virginia – Zuccarini’s cases were dismissed, often with judicial reprimands such as, “Zuccarini has already wasted quite enough of the parties’ and this Court’s time and resources in responding to his frivolous claims.”
Throughout the course of Zuccarini’s persistent legal barrage, Tim held firm, on behalf of his clients, to the core principle that a domain name registration is the product of a contract for services between the registrar and the registrant. In dismissing Zuccarini’s many actions, the courts preserved a significant and essential aspect of the domain registration system – that registration agreements, like all contracts, must be held sacred and that contracts should be upheld. The result achieved by Tim in Zuccarini’s case assured the continued vitality of the domain name registration system, which could not operate effectively and inexpensively without this certainty.
(N.D. Cal. 06-cv-80356; S.D. Fla. 10-cv-14178; E.D. Va. 10-cv1327; S.D. Fla. 11-cv-14052)
$1.2 Million Jury Verdict in High-Profile Defamation Case
The Hotung case had all of the elements of a juicy tabloid exposé: celebrity, wealth, dynastic infighting, paternity disputes, and even the Kennedys (in this case, the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s former McLean, Virginia estate). And, when all was said and done, Tim Hyland said, “It’s the single craziest case I’ve ever been involved in.”
This chapter in the eventful Hotung family saga began when Eric Hotung – Hong Kong tycoon, philanthropist, and scion of the most influential family in Hong Kong – publicly disclaimed parentage of his son Michael Hotung in connection with Michael’s divorce from a popular TV actress. A tabloid feeding frenzy ensued when Eric told the press, “He is not my son” and “Judging by his habits he can’t possibly be a relative of mine.” It deserves mention that while Michael was born in 1959, Eric did not even acknowledge paternity until forty-two years later in 2001, because the birth resulted from a forbidden tryst between Eric and his cousin Winnie Ho, whose family had a stronghold on the Macau casino industry.
Michael filed a defamation suit against his father claiming that his incendiary comments decimated his business prospects in both Hong Kong and the U.S. (it turned out that the Hong Kong tabloids made the long journey to the U.S. as well). In a dramatic coup d’état that stoked the Hong Kong gossip tabloids further (“Tonight, the son sues the father for $5 million!”), Michael decided not to bring the suit in Hong Kong, but rather filed in the U.S. He ultimately brought the case to Fairfax County where his father resided part-time with his wife Patricia Shea Hotung, in Sen. Kennedy’s former McLean home which he had purchased in the mid-1990’s for $5.88 million.
Enter veteran Fairfax lawyer Tim Hyland, who handled the pre-trial histrionics on behalf of Michael and spent two days presenting the case to the jury. Michael Hotung testified but his father chose not to appear in person. The jury found that his father did defame him, and awarded a whopping verdict of $1.2 million in damages. In addition, Tim helped secure awards of more than $150,000 in discovery fees and sanctions. Tim is also now a celebrity at his Leesburg dry cleaners; they read all about it in the Hong Kong tabloids.
(Fairfax Cir. Ct., CL-2011-11125)
Absolution for Directors and General Counsel in Defamation Case
When a defamation case resulted in complete absolution of Tim Hyland’s clients, boardrooms breathed a sigh of relief. The case had been brought by an ousted former executive against a large, prominent technology company, well-known members of the board of directors and the company’s general counsel, and was closely watched by the boardroom community. Tim represented two of the board members and the general counsel, all of whom were household names in the corporate world and had spent their careers in the C-suite of Fortune 100 companies. While they were accustomed to being at the center of complex corporate issues, they were generally far removed from being dragged into litigation at this level.
The controversy arose following a boardroom ouster of the company’s CEO (who was also the president and chairman of the board) in connection with allegations of stock option irregularities. The plaintiff in the case had been a protégée of the CEO and was one of the most senior members of the C-suite. So, when a new CEO was appointed, the plaintiff was fairly vocal regarding his outrage at his mentor’s ouster. The plaintiff claimed that the new CEO, board members and general counsel subsequently made derogatory and defamatory statements about him and were responsible for his eventual firing by the new regime. The plaintiff brought a defamation suit against them claiming a significant loss of compensation, including substantial bonuses and option awards.
All three of Tim’s clients were completely absolved of any wrongdoing thanks in large part to Tim’s ability to guide his clients through uncharted litigation territory. They were all extraordinarily busy and frequently had to exit depositions and other proceedings to attend to urgent affairs demanding their attention. This made it quite challenging to keep the litigation on track.
With boards of directors targeted by litigation with increasing frequency, Tim’s win in this case was influential. Had his clients not been fully exonerated, it could have resulted in open season on both boards and general counsel. Thanks to Tim, that won’t be easy to do.