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 hotel, electrical and plumbing services, fertilizers, frozen sandwiches, hair dryers and clippers, hardware products, insect repellents and insecticides, lawn and garden chemicals, lighting fixtures and controls, non-governmental humanitarian organizations, 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.

Mr. Rafter is rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell*, and is recognized in The Best Lawyers of America in the field of Trademark Law.

*AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.

Professional & Community Activities

Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Board of Directors, Past President

International Trademark Association, INTA Bulletin Committee

Lambda Legal, Atlanta Leadership Committee

Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), 2017 Class of Fellows, Member

State Bar of Georgia, Intellectual Property Section, Member

Stonewall Bar Association, Board of Directors

Education

  • Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law, J.D.
    cum laude
  • Mercer University, B.A.
    summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Georgia
  • New York

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • Georgia Supreme Court

Who We Are

Suite 2800, 1100 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA, 30309-4528
USA
t +1 404.815.6112
f +1 404.541.3353
The Grace Building, 1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY, 10036-7703
USA
t +1 212.775.8776

Michael W. Rafter

Experience Highlights

Trademark litigation services for a Fortune 500 brewery
Represented a Fortune 500 brewery to secure a judgment as a matter of law that there was a likelihood of confusion between our client’s mark more
United Pet Group Inc. v. Salix Corporation and Salix LLC
Represented United Pet Group, Inc., a leading global manufacturer of pet products, in trade dress litigation against a more
Trademark counsel to a large non-profit humanitarian organization
We provide extensive trademark counseling to a large non-profit humanitarian organization. We also manage the organization's domestic and more
Trademark litigation for a Fortune 500 brewery
Represented a Fortune 500 brewery and obtained a permanent injunction and other relief in a trademark infringement and counterfeiting action more