Ben Kappelman
PEOPLE

Ben Kappelman

Partner
kappelman.ben@dorsey.com
Minneapolis P +1 (612) 492-6744 F +1 (612) 395-5451 Missoula P +1 (406) 721-6025 F +1 (406) 543-0863

Overview

BEN HELPS CLIENTS PROTECT THEIR INVESTMENTS, DEFEND THEIR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, AND GUARD THEIR REPUTATIONS IN HIGH-STAKES LITIGATION.

Ben routinely serves clients in the health care, manufacturing, construction, and energy industries. They trust Ben’s judgment and strategic management of litigation costs to pursue favorable outcomes efficiently. Ben believes the best lawsuit is one resolved quickly, but he has the experience and dedication to press through lengthy and challenging disputes to achieve his clients’ goals. 

As an intellectual property litigation attorney, Ben protects his clients’ trade secrets, patents, and trademarks against exploitation by competitors, infringers, and departing employees. Ben also defends his clients against allegations of infringement or trade secret misappropriation. He has significant experience helping clients navigate the disputes over intellectual property that occur when a key employee departs or a partnership dissolves.

Ben’s expertise includes patent infringement and invalidity claims, contract interpretation matters, trade secrets and employee competition disputes, and health litigation. Ben routinely practices before federal and state courts in Minnesota and his home state of Montana.

Education & Admissions

Suffolk University Law School (J.D., 2011), summa cum laude, Law Faculty Outstanding Student Award, Daniel J. Fern Award, Academic Leadership Scholarship, Suffolk University Law Review

Boston University (B.A., 2008)

Admissions

  • Montana
  • New York
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Montana
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Clerkships

  • Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Associate Justice Ellen A. Gorman, 2011-2012
  • Maine Supreme Judicial Court, Associate Justice Donald G. Alexander, 2012-2013

Experience

Representative Litigation

  • Sharot v. Water Gremlin Co., No. A22-0035, 2022 WL 4295381 (Minn. Ct. App. Sept. 19, 2022) – Successfully argued before Minnesota Court of Appeals, which affirmed summary judgment in favor of Dorsey’s client manufacturer. Court held there was no evidence that trichloroethylene (TCE) contaminated appellant’s property or that it interfered with appellant’s use of his property, and rejected claims for negligence and nuisance. Court also held that Minnesota law does not recognize stigma-caused diminution in property value as injury in tort.
  • AQuate II, LLC v. Myers, No. 5:22-CV-00360-AKK, 2022 WL 2919626 (N.D. Ala. July 25, 2022) – Successfully invoked sovereign immunity of Dorsey’s client, a tribal entity formed to engage in minority set-aside government contract work, leading to dismissal of all claims against it.
  • May v. Delta Air Lines, No. CV 21-710 ADM/ECW, 2022 WL 2835123, at *1 (D. Minn. July 20, 2022) – Won summary judgment on behalf of Dorsey’s client air line against former employee’s disability discrimination claim.
  • Echo Bay Pharms., LLC v. Torrent Pharma, Inc., No. 20-CV-6345 (BCM), 2022 WL 2132964 (S.D.N.Y. June 14, 2022) – Represented pharmaceutical company against breach of contract claims brought by its co-developer. Co-developer dismissed its case after court rejected most of its legal theories.
  • Vulles v. Thies & Talle Mgmt., Inc., 512 P.3d 248 (Mont. 2021): The Montana Supreme Court, ruling on an issue of first impression, affirmed the dismissal of class action allegations against Dorsey’s client at the pleading stage.
  • Solutran, Inc. v. Elavon, Inc., 931 F.3d 1161 (Fed. Cir. 2019) – Defended Dorsey’s banking industry clients in two-week patent infringement jury trial and prevailed when patent was invalidated as directed to ineligible subject matter.
  • Loenbro Inspection, LLC v. Sommerfield, No. 18-CV-01943-PAB, 2018 WL 3659396 (D. Colo. Aug. 2, 2018): The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado entered a temporary restraining order in favor of Dorsey’s client, a Montana-based oilfield services company. The order barred the company’s former employees from using its custom configurations for phased array ultrasonic testing equipment in violation of the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act.
  • Alston v. United Healthcare Servs., Inc., No. CV 17-81-BU-SEH, 2018 WL 1382514 (D. Mont. Mar. 19, 2018): The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana dismissed all claims against Dorsey’s clients, a national health insurer and a pharmacy benefits manager, concluding that the plaintiff’s challenge to their Medicare Part D coverage determination was preempted and subject to administrative exhaustion.
  • Drake Water Technologies, Inc. v. National-Oilwell Varco, L.P., No. 6:17-cv-38-SEH, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85062 (D. Mont. Jun. 2, 2017): The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana enforced a forum-selection clause and transferred to Texas a lawsuit against Dorsey’s client, a worldwide service and equipment provider to the oil and gas industry. 
  • Montana AFL-CIO v. McCulloch, 380 P.3d 728 (Mont. 2016): The Montana Supreme Court rejected a pre-election constitutional challenge to a citizen ballot initiative championed by Dorsey’s client. The initiative sought funding for biomedical research on brain diseases, brain injuries, and mental illnesses.
  • Techmanski v. Quanta Field Service, LLC, No. CV-15-97-M-DWM, 2015 WL 7005617 (D. Mont. Nov. 2, 2015): The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana decided Dorsey’s client, a Colorado company, did not subject itself to suit in Montana by acquiescing to its employee’s decision to occasionally work from his home there.  The court held it lacked personal jurisdiction and sent the case to Colorado.
  • Barite Partners LLC v. Stefan, No. 27-CV-14-17267, 2015 WL 6776450 (Minn. Dist. Ct. Oct. 30, 2015): Dorsey’s client, a Montana company, avoided entanglement in a Minnesota lawsuit after Dorsey convinced the court that the company had insufficient ties to Minnesota to warrant the court’s exercise of personal jurisdiction over it.
  • Wyo–Ben, Inc. v. Bixby, 339 P.3d 1255 (Mont. 2014): The Montana Supreme Court, ruling on an issue of first impression, agreed with Dorsey’s client if a shareholder asserting dissenters’ rights under Montana’s version of the Model Business Corporation Act demonstrates a material and adverse change to his or her individual voting rights “in respect of” all the shares owned by that shareholder, the shareholder is entitled to redemption of all shares, not only those shares that were directly and adversely affected.
  • Standard Register Co. v. Keala, No. 14-00291, 2014 WL 3420785 (D. Hawaii July 11, 2014): The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii rejected an attempt to obtain a temporary restraining order against a Dorsey client based on allegations of trade secret misappropriation and tortious interference with business relationships. After considering Dorsey’s opposition, the court held that the plaintiffs’ likelihood of success was so low that it did not need to weigh other TRO factors before denying the plaintiffs’ request.
  • In re Mission Critical Data Center: After a five-day trial, a civil jury returned a verdict in favor of Dorsey’s client, a national design-builder, on its claims that one of its subcontractors was negligent in providing electrical design services for the construction and expansion of a Tier III data center for a Fortune 50 company.
  • Rocky Mountain Biologicals, Inc. v. Microbix Biosystems, Inc., 986 F. Supp. 2d 1187 (D. Mont. 2013): The U.S. District Court for the District of Montana awarded summary judgment for Dorsey client Irvine Scientific Sales Company on the plaintiffs’ claims for tortious interference of contract. In addition to some favorable procedural rulings, the court found that Irvine’s good-faith assertions of its own contractual rights could not be tortious under Montana law.

News & Resources

Articles

Ninth Circuit Asks Montana Supreme Court for Guidance: Is an Employer Defending Itself in a Wrongful Discharge Lawsuit Limited to the Reasons for Termination Given in a Discharge Letter?
Federal Court Blocks Effort to “Revive” J.W. Dant Bourbon Brand Already Alive
10th Circuit Declines to be the Exception and Follows Patent Act Standard for Prevailing Party Attorney’s Fees in “Exceptional Cases” under Lanham Act
Montana Supreme Court Upholds $2.3 Million Judgment Against Former Employees Subject to Restrictive Covenant
Divorce, Trademark Infringement, and Naked Licensing—Eighth Circuit Grapples With Lawn Care Quality Control
’Tis the Season for Family Drama: Seventh Circuit Explains Reverse Trademark Confusion in Battle Over Family Name
"Navigating the Benefits, Risks, and Limitations of Entity Depositions," Bench & Bar of Minnesota
Seventh Circuit Upholds Trade Dress Protection for “Iconically Designed” Bodum Chambord French Press Coffeemaker
Supreme Court Settles Circuit Split and Reads the False Claims Act Statute of Limitations Provision Broadly in Boon to Relators
Honey Badger Don’t Care About Trademark Infringement, But The Ninth Circuit Does
Sixth Circuit: Timing of Physician Certification for In-Home Care Remains Material After Escobar
Trademarks Can Originate from Fictional Sources:  Fifth Circuit Upholds Trademark Protection for The Krusty Krab
Third Circuit: False Claims Act Liability Premised on an Anti-Kickback Statute Violation Requires Proof that at Least One Federal Claim Resulted from an Improper Referral or Recommendation
Third Circuit: False Claims Act Liability Premised on an Anti-Kickback Statute Violation Requires Proof that at Least One Federal Claim Resulted from an Improper Referral or Recommendation
The Work Product Doctrine, published in the Attorney-Client Privilege Deskbook (Minnesota CLE)
Alleging Improper Use of Funds Legitimately Obtained from the Government Insufficient to State FCA Retaliation Claim
Court Enforces CFPB Civil Investigative Demand Against Tribal Lending Entity; Rejects Argument that Tribal Sovereignty Precludes Such Demands
Eighth Circuit Determines that Compliance with Reasonable Interpretation of Government Regulation Sufficient to Avoid FCA Liability (Absent a Government Warning to the Contrary)
DOJ Intervenes In FCA Suit Against Subcontractor That Allegedly Failed to Comply With Specifications
Fifth Circuit Concludes That FCA Claim Was Not Covered By Insurance Policy
It Must Be Done!!?? Impossibility or Impracticability as an Excuse to Performance . . . Or Not, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry (with John T. Clappison & Jocelyn L. Knoll)
Long and Winding Road: The Role of Courts, Zero Tolerance and School Exclusion in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, May 2011, at 22 (with Isabel Raskin & Joan Meschino)
Note, When Rape Isn’t Like Combat: The Disparity Between Benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Combat Veterans and Benefits for Victims of Military Sexual Assault, 44 Suffolk University Law Review 545 (2011)

News & Press Mentions

Kappelman, Durocher, and Tahdooahnippah Counsel in Oklahoma Tribal Gambling Case
Kappelman Discusses SCOTUS Arguments in Native American Tribal Case on Bloomberg Law Podcast
Kappelman On Native American Adoption Case's Effect on Minnesota's Laws
Kappelman Explains SCOTUS Native American Adoption Case
Kappelman Comments on Tribes Possible Disappointment in SCOTUS Native American Adoption Case
Kappelman Quoted on ICWA Case That Threatens Tribal Sovereignty
Kappelman Quoted on Native American Adoption Case Dividing Justices
Kappelman Weighs in on Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 Supreme Court Case
Kappelman Comments on Indian Child Welfare Act
Super Lawyers Recognizes 26 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis
Kappelman Discusses Significance of Supreme Court's Ruling in Texas Native American Gambling Case
Kappelman Quoted on Supreme Court Siding with Native American Tribes in Gambling Case
Super Lawyers Recognizes 29 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis
Super Lawyers Recognizes 38 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis
Super Lawyers Recognizes 41 Dorsey Lawyers in Minneapolis
Dorsey Partner Ben Kappelman Discusses SCOTUS Ruling on SNAP Case
Dorsey & Whitney Names New Partners
Dorsey Attorney Ben Kappelman Elected to PAI Board
Dorsey Pro Bono Team Gets Housing Suits Dismissed Against City of St. Paul
Dorsey Partner Skip Durocher Discusses City of St. Paul Pro Bono Case
Dorsey Attorney Ben Kappelman Comments on DOJ Involvement in Whistleblower Cases
Dorsey & Whitney Represents Kværner ASA in $74 Million Arbitration Award

Events & Speaking Engagements

Remote Depositions in the Time of COVID, Minnesota CLE (with Tiana Towns)
The Work Product Doctrine, Minnesota CLE (with Briana Al Taqatqa)
Authentication and Admissibility of Electronic Evidence, Minnesota CLE (with Hon. Becky R. Thorson & Mary T. Novacheck)
Too Big, Too Small, or Just Right...? The RFP Process, 2019 CLOC Institute (with LaTrece Johnson, Suraj Prashad, and Gillian Brennan)
Civil Litigation A to Z: Case Management – Discovery Best Practices in Federal Court, Minnesota CLE
Fifth Annual DorsEdiscovery Forum
When the Red Phone Rings: Managing Litigation to Keep Costs Down and Clients Happy, From Crisis to Completion, 2018 CLOC Institute (with Paul Dieseth, Matt Wahlquist, and Jason Osnes)

Industries & Practices

  • Construction Litigation
  • Electronic Discovery
  • Energy & Natural Resources
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Indian & Alaska Native
  • Intellectual Property
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Real Estate Litigation

Professional & Civic

Professional Achievements

  • Ben maintains an active pro bono practice and is an Accredited Attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Member, American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Member, American Bar Association Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member, Federal Bar Association

Accolades

Contributed 50+ Pro Bono Hours in 2021 Contributed 100+ Pro Bono Hours in 2020

  • Contributed more than 50 Challenge pro bono hours, 2021
  • Contributed more than 100 Challenge pro bono hours, 2020
  • Listed as a “Rising Star” by Minnesota Super Lawyers, 2019-2021

North Star Lawyer logo

  • MSBA North Star Lawyer, 2014-2020
Ben Kappelman