William M. Gantz is a versatile lead trial lawyer with nationwide experience representing manufacturing, gaming, technology and insurance clients in intellectual property and commercial litigation, including patent infringement, trade secret, consumer class action and appeals.
Mr. Gantz is a well-known speaker and authority on gaming law in the US. Since 2002, he has represented internet and mobile gaming clients in patent infringement litigation, provided patent landscape and "freedom-to-operate" analyses and advised on state and federal gambling law. Mr. Gantz regularly provides counsel on intellectual property and regulatory compliance matters to start-ups and digital entertainment businesses offering igaming, social gaming, pay-to-play or "freemium" games, fantasy sports, esports, sports betting, skill games, sweepstakes, retail product promotions and lottery tickets. His gaming clients include those utilizing cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, ICO's and tokens. Mr. Gantz's pro bono work regularly involves assisting charitable organizations with events or fundraising involving games, contests or raffles.
Mr. Gantz has extensive experience seeking temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions or defending against them, particularly in actions involving trade secret misappropriation, confidentiality agreements, covenants not to compete, the Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA) and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).
Mr. Gantz is highly experienced in shareholder rights litigation involving closely held corporations and limited liability companies, and has successfully tried cases for oppression, forced buyouts for "fair value" and dissolution, as well as shareholder derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty and corporate waste.
Mr. Gantz negotiates and drafts commercial agreements such as licensing agreements, website development and hosting agreements, asset purchase agreements, limited liability company equity transactions, distribution and sales representative agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and employment and separation agreements.
Areas of Practice
- Gaming and Digital Entertainment
- Patent Litigation
- Trade Secrets Litigation
- Consumer Class Action Litigation
- Commercial Litigation
Intellectual Property and Technology
- Lead defense counsel for global igaming operator in patent infringement suit directed against use of geolocation services to govern game configuration and access to wagering platform and alleged use of verification data stored in non-volatile memory of portable gaming devices. CG Technology Development, LLC, et al. v. 888 Holdings PLC, Case No. 2:16-cv-00856 (U.S.D.C. Nevada).
Obtained jury verdict in favor of www.sportsbetting.com, defeating claims of infringement asserted against use of wagering platform to offer games of chance to remote devices. Lottotron v.Interactive Systems, Inc. N.V., Case No. 09-4942 (U.S.D.C. New Jersey (Newark)).
Lead defense counsel in suit against manufacturer alleging infringement of patent for engine shutdown valve and breach of exclusive license. Obtain dismissal of case for failure to plead infringement occurring in United States on forum non conveniens grounds, successfully defend and argue case before U.S.C.A for Federal Circuit, obtaining summary affirmation. Tyler Research Corp. v. Envacon, Inc., Case No. 4:19-cv-00010 (U.S.D.C. Northern Dist. Indiana)
- Lead defense counsel for multiple online gaming operators accused of infringing patents for multimedia communications methods allowing separation, processing and enhancement of multiple streams of multimedia data. Lewis v. Boss Media and CryptoLogic (2:03-cv-00208) (U.S.D.C. Nevada), 1st Tech v. PartyPoker; 1st Tech v. IQ Ludorum (2:06-cv-00323) (U.S.D.C. Nevada).
- Defend dispute over rights to invention and concept involving internet-based charitable raffle system and method. Charity Splits, et al. v. Fleraf, Inc., et al., (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.).
- Lead defense counsel for global gaming company IGT in one of series of putative class actions filed against various leading "social casinos" asserting the right to recover amounts spent by players on virtual coins under the Washington State gambling loss recovery act. Benson v. Double Down Interactive, LLC, Case No. 2:18-cv-00525 (U.S.D.C., W.D. Washington).
- Illinois Supreme Court argument and Opinion in favor of igaming industry position, obtaining ruling of first impression that FanDuel DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) is not unlawful gambling in Illinois, such that loser of DFS contest on FanDuel could not maintain suit against winner under Illinois Gambling Loss Recovery Act (720 ILCS 5/28-8), in addition to adoption of “predominate factor” test for gambling in Illinois. Dew-Becker v. Wu, 2020 IL 124472 (April 16, 2020)(reported decision).
- Successfully handled appeal and obtained affirmance of summary judgment in favor of commercial general liability insurer against claims of unfair and bad faith settlement practices allegedly violative of G.L. c 176D and Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act, M.G.L. c. 93A. Surabian Realty Co., Inc., et al. v. CUMIS Ins. Society, Inc., Appeal No. 2018-P-0766. (Appeals Ct., Worcester Cty., Massachusetts).
- Successfully defend and resolve putative “junk fax” class action under Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Greg's Greater Chicago Chiropractic, LLC v. Midwest Nutritional Service, Inc., 1:13-cv-06400 (U.S.D.C., N.D. Ill.).
- Defending publications in putative class actions seeking damages for alleged disclosure of magazine subscription information to data aggregators and brokers in alleged violation of Rhode Island’s Video, Audio and Publication Rentals Privacy Act. Watterson v. Consumer Reports, Inc., Case No. 18-cv-00513 (U.S.D.C. RI); Watterson v.Trusted Media Brands, Inc., Case No.18-cv-00520 (U.S.D.C. RI.).
- Defense counsel for national residential mortgage lender against putative class action of homeowners allegedly subjected to foreclosure proceedings in violation of HUD regulations requiring notice and in-person consultation. Phan v. Carrington Mortgage Services LLC., Case No. 18-cv-00208 (U.S.D.C. RI.).
- Lead trial counsel, defeating $40M trade secret misappropriation claim brought by global plastics and additives manufacturer against specialty manufacturer of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE), alleging misappropriation of TPE formula and processing techniques. PolyOne Corp. v. Lu, et al., No. 14-CV-10369 (U.S.D.C., N.D. Ill.).
- Obtained TRO in trade secret misappropriation and restrictive covenant case for global clinical research organization, prohibiting former Vice President hired by competitor from using trade secrets or contacting client’s employees, vendors or customers, followed by successful resolution. Worldwide Clinical Trials Holdings, Inc. v. Mosher, No. 3:17-cv-00079-MAS-TJB (U.S.D.C. NJ).
- Lead counsel for manufacturer of outdoor LED billboards and electronic signs in action seeking preliminary injunctive relief against competitor and departing employee for misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information. Watchfire Signs LLC v. William Thomas Bogard, et al., No. 2:16-cv-02176 (U.S.D.C. C.D. Ill.).
- Lead trial counsel for paper processing equipment manufacturer asserting trade secret misappropriation and violation of restrictive covenants against former plant manager hired by competitor. JJ Plank Co, LLC v. Bowman, 3:18-cv-00798 (U.S.D.C., Western Dist. Louisiana).
- Defense of employee of global manufacturer of hearing aids, hearing aid accessories, and software in action by competitor alleging misappropriation of trade secrets by departing employee. Phonak, LLC v. Holly Dean, No.1:17-cv-06238 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ill.).
- Defended new hire of chemical company against claims of trade secret misappropriation and violation of restrictive covenants. Verichem, Inc. v. Martin and Nashville Chemical & Equipment Co., Inc., G.D. No. 12-2935 (Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny Cty, PA).
- Defeated attempt of pharmaceutical clinical research organization (CRO) to prohibit employment of business development executive by competitor based upon alleged misappropriation of computer data and trade secrets and violation of restrictive covenants. InVentiv Clinical Solutions, LLC v. Crucitti, 3:12-cv-00430 (U.S.D.C., Dist. Connecticut).
- Obtained injunction for global plastics compounder against employment of former lead chemist by competitor, followed by favorable confidential agreement. Pliant Corp. v. Mark Jordan, et al., No. 2009 CV 5269 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ill.).
- Successfully defend and resolve trade secret claims related to manufacturing and processing of elastic films. Tredegar Film Products Corp., et al. v. Pliant Corporation, et al., Case No. 09 L 3089 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.).
- Obtain TRO for global plastics compounder against former executive based upon restrictive covenants and inevitable disclosure of trade secrets, followed by favorable confidential settlement. Pliant v. Wampnar, Case No. 09 CH 24366.
- Obtain permanent injunction for real estate investor following misappropriation of electronic data. Synergy Financial Partners, LLC et al. v. Demeter, 1:07-cv-03079 (U.S.D.C., N.D. Ill.)
- Represented manufacturer of biodegradable plastic additives in dispute with technology licensor in arbitration proceeding over trade secret, patent and breach of exclusive distribution agreement.
- Lead appellate lawyer in Illinois Supreme Court in novel case concerning subject matter jurisdiction over enforcement of agreements for placement of video gaming terminals ("VGT"). Successfully enforced exclusive agreements to operate VGTs in 27 circuit court cases, with the 5th District appellate court deciding, sua sponte, that the Illinois Gaming Board had exclusive jurisdiction over the validity of such agreements. In a decision departing from decades of prior jurisprudence, the Illinois Supreme Court found the IGB has exclusive jurisdiction over the issue of validity of contracts involving operation and placement of VGTs. J&J Ventures Gaming, LLC, et al. v. Wild, Inc., 2016 IL 119870 (reported decision).
- Lead trial counsel in federal court action asserting multimillion dollar claim against VGT terminal operator for breach of settlement agreement intended to resolve claims under an earlier asset purchase agreement. AAA Gaming, LLC, et al. v. Midwest Electronics Gaming, LLC, No. 1:16-cv-04997 (U.S.D.C., N.D. Ill.).
- Lead trial counsel enforcing asset purchase agreements and assignments of exclusive video gaming terminal (“VGT”) location agreements, seeking damages in excess of $15M against former manager and terminal operator for intentional interference with contract, breach of fiduciary duty and aiding abetting of same, deceptive business practices and other claims. Action Gaming, LLC., et al. v. Action Amusement Co., LLC., No. 12 CH 33360 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Lead trial counsel in suit against the Illinois Gaming Board resulting in injunction against agency’s published opinion that electronic product promotion kiosks are unlawful gambling devices because the opinion was an unauthorized rulemaking under the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act. Windy City Promotions, et al. v. Illinois Gaming Board, No. 14 LM 133 (Cir. Ct. Grundy Cty., Ill.) reported decision Windy City Promotions v. Illinois Gaming Board, 2017 IL App. (3d) 150434 (2017).
- Lead trial counsel in mandamus actions asserting that Illinois Gaming Board has wrongfully refused to adjudicate validity of VGT-related agreements and failed to promulgate appropriate rules for hearing as required under J&J Ventures v. Wild Inc., 2016 IL 119870. Action Gaming LLC v. The Illinois Gaming Board, et al., No. 2018 CH 09603 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); AAA Gaming LLC, et al. v. The Illinois Gaming Board, et al., No. 2018 CH 09601 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Represented electronic product promotion kiosk distributor in action against manufacturer and affiliates for breach of exclusive distribution agreement, non-payment of commissions and royalties, and fraud. Windy City Promotions v. Pace-O-Matic, Inc., et al., No. 2018 CH 04716) (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Obtained jury verdict in favor of global public relations agency, defeating $7 million business defamation and intentional tort claim brought by Bob Prosen following cancellation of event and Prosen’s planned executive education center at University of Texas at Dallas. Business Results, Inc., et al. v. Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., No.06-05036 (Dist. Ct. Dallas Cty., Texas).
- Represent building solutions conglomerate in AAA arbitration in Massachusetts with software developer in dispute over damages following termination of software development agreement. Clicksoftware, Inc. v. Honeywell International, Inc., AAA No. 01-17-0000-0163.
- Suit by real estate investment fund for return of earnest money and declaration of project termination. Xian City Xinxing Investment Management Ltd. v. Arruda et al., 1:14-cv-10264 (U.S.D.C. Dist. Massachusetts).
- Suit by juice manufacturer to enforce termination of license agreement and collect amounts due from licensee. Tampico Beverages, Inc. v. Central Island Juice Corp. et al., 1:15-cv-05808 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ill.).
- Defend manufacturer of synthetic Christmas trees in litigation by buyer for alleged fraud and product defects. Hammacher, Schlemmer & Co. v. Holiday Bright Lights, 2011 L 007647 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.)
- Defend seller of waste recycling business in AAA arbitration in New York in dispute under clawback provision following inability to ship waste paper to China due to container shortages. Edgewater Growth Capital Partners, LP,et al. v. Greenstar North America Holdings, Inc., No. 108641/08 (Sup. Ct. NY).
- Took over commercial case which had been dismissed with prejudice, obtaining reversal and reinstatement of case on appeal for abuse of discretion, prosecuted and resolved case for enforcement of grains futures trading partnership agreement. Cronin v. Kottke Associates, LLC, Case No. 06 CH 12756, 2012 IL App. 111632 (reported decision).
- Represent investment bank in lawsuit in dispute over types and amounts of fees due in connection with marketing and sale of customer. William Blair & Co. v. Univar, Case No 07L5348 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.).
- Represent investment bank in action over disputed success fee following sale and acquisition of customer. William Blair & Co. v. Allied Richard Bertram Marine Group. Inc. et al., Case No 1:09-cv-03564 (U.S.D.C. N.D. Ill.).
- Represented owner of commercial real estate in suit seeking eviction and dispute over exercise of option to purchase nursing home. Oak Park Building Partnership, et al. v. N.S.T. Realty, et al., No. 10 M1 731066 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.).
Represent 40% member of after-market performance car parts manufacturer asserting individual and derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty arising from improper dilution of membership interests due to manager’s issuance of new membership units to himself in exchange for release of manager’s loans to the company in violation of the operating agreement and at an arbitrary valuation selected by the manager as part of a improper self-interested transaction. Lawrence Austin, et al. v. Wallace Leyshon, et al. (Cir. Ct., Lake Cty., Ill.)
Represent minority member of cannabis cultivator asserting individual and derivative claims for breach of fiduciary duty arising from improper dilution or ownership interests due to unauthorized conversion of member debt to equity, stopping proposed equity swap of company by “reverse merger” in violation of operating agreement and Illinois LLC Act. Successfully obtained reversal of circuit court interpretation of operating agreement on appeal to Fourth District court, confirming lack of authority to treat member debt as capital contribution. Harris Silver v. Jean-Paul St. Germain, et al., No. 2018 CH 00350 (Cir. Ct., Sangamon Cty., Ill.)(Case No. 4-20-0009 and 4-20-0047)(4th District appeal)
- Obtained TRO for minority shareholder barring consumer point-of-sale advertiser from conducting any votes or proceeding with any acquisition, merger or other proposed transaction impacting equity, followed by favorable settlement. Dingo Mobile, Inc. v. GoGoCast, Inc., et al., No. 13-753-M-PAS (U.S.D.C. RI).
- Successfully defended family owned electropolishing company against oppression claims by disgruntled shareholder through trial and obtained forced buyout of shareholder’s equity on very favorable terms under Section 12.56 of the Illinois Business Corporation Act. Schewe v. Pokvitis, et al., No. 2011 L 13854 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Defend managing partner against breach of fiduciary duty claims in real estate investment partnership and obtained right to dissolve and liquidate property. Joseph Enterprises v. Vachaparambil, et al., No. 09 CH 1932 (DuPage Cty).
- Successful trial in defense of closely-held recruiting and placement agency, defeating claims for oppression and forced buyout. Cyber Search, Ld., et al. v. Eunice Sherwood, et al., No. 12 CH 31765 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Successfully obtained buyout in AAA arbitration for 50% partner in forced dissolution due to deadlock and irreconcilable differences.
- Successfully sued for oppression on behalf of 50% partner in fluid handling business, obtaining buyout and company’s Bears season tickets.
- Represented parents in dispute with adult son over title to investment properties. Fu v. Fu, 1681-cv-02497 (Middlesex Sup. Ct., Massachusetts).
Consumer Protection and Class Action
Trade Secret Litigation
Shareholder Derivative Claims
- U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States
- Rhode Island
- The Ohio State University, Michael E. Moritz College of Law, J.D., 1990
- University of Chicago, A.B., English Language and Literature, 1987
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2020-present
- Dentons US LLP
- Partner, 2007-2020
- DLA Piper LLP
- Partner, 1997-2007
- Bollinger Ruberry & Garvey
- Associate, 1990-1997
- Gaming Law Review
- Editorial Board
- International Masters of Gaming Law
- General Member, 2013-present
- International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA)
- Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- Chicago Bar Association
- Committee on Business Divorce and Complex Ownership Disputes, Founding Member
Civic and Charitable Activities
- SquashBusters Urban Squash - Providence
- Co-author, "Gaming in the United States: Massachusetts," Thomson Reuters Practical Law: Gaming Global Guide, 2020
- Author, "Illinois Supreme Court Finds Daily Fantasy Sports to Be Legal, Rejects DFS Loser's Gambling Loss Recovery Act Claim," Duane Morris Alert, May 1, 2020
- Co-author, "Governor Returns Virginia Gambling Legislation with Amendments, Including Tax for COVID-19 Fund," Duane Morris Alert, April 17, 2020
- Co-author, "Massachusetts Sports Wagering Bill Expected to Be Approved by July," Duane Morris Alert, April 1, 2020
- Co-author, "Virginia General Assembly Passes Expansive Gambling Legislation," Duane Morris Alert, March 17, 2020
Co-author, "Roundtable Discussion with the Experts: Official Sports Data and Sports Betting Royalties," Gaming Law Review, April 25, 2019
Author, "US: Tipping Point?," InterGaming Law, December 4, 2017
Author, "Gaming in the United States (Massachusetts)," Thomson Reuters/Practical Law - Gaming Law Global Guide, November 1, 2016 (updated July 2019)
Author, "Less Bang! for Your Copyright Buck: DaVinci v. Ziko Reaffirms the Limitations of Copyright to Protect Games," E- Commerce Law Reports, Volume 16, Issue 03, 2016
Co-author, "Legal Update re Pokerstars 'Zoom Poker' 573 application," May 9, 2014
Author, "The US as an Emerging Market: The Proliferation of Legal Intrastate Nonsport Internet Gambling and Related Financial Transactions Under UIGEA," InterGaming Law, September 27, 2013
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, "The Challenges and Opportunities in eSports," Duane Morris and SeventySix Capital Sports Advisory Game Changers: Strategies for the Business of Sports and Gaming Webinar Series, April 21, 2021
- Moderator, "Rapid Expansion Roundtable," Betting on Sports America, Sports Betting Community, Webinar, December 2, 2020
Moderator, "The Convergence of Gaming and Gambling: From Daily Fantasy Sports to Esports and Peer-to-peer Betting on Skill Games," 2019 IAGA International Gaming Summit, Half Moon Bay, June 6, 2019
Panelist, "Motion: We Need to Redefine Gambling vs. Gaming,” ICE North America, Boston, May 14, 2019
Co-author, "Roundtable Discussion with the Experts: Official Sports Data and Sports Betting Royalties," Gaming Law Review, April 25, 2019
Panelist, “Creating a Sustainable Sports Betting Market - Policy Considerations for Newly Regulated Jurisdictions,” ICE VOX, London, February 4, 2019
Panelist, “The Americas Roundtables,” ICC/WrB Segment at ICE VOX, London, February 4, 2019
Speaker, "U.S. vs. Global Markets - Exploring the Attractiveness of Us Legal Sports Betting Market for Global Sports Book Brands and Technology Providers," 2018 ICE Sports Betting USA, November 28, 2018
Panelist, "Gambling Laws and Regulations in U.S.: Significant Issues and Developments, " Knowledge Group Live Webinar, March 30, 2017
Panelist, "The Rapidly Changing Lottery Landscape," International Association of Gaming Advisors’ 2017 International Gaming Summit, New York, June 1, 2017
Panelist, "The Latest in Regulation of Online Skill Games and Online Sports Manager Games in the US and EU," International Association of Gaming Advisors’ 2017 International Gaming Summit, New York, May 30, 2017
Panelist, "Intellectual Property Considerations for Entering Online Gaming Markets," International Masters of Gaming Law 2016 Autumn Conference, Dublin, October 24, 2016
Panelist, "Role of the Regulator," IMGL Masterclass, National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, Boston, Summer Meeting 2016, July 31, 2016
Speaker, “Best Practices in Recognizing and Protecting Trade Secrets,” Dentons CLE, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, Chicago, June 6, 2016
Panelist, "ESports and Fantasy Sports Regulation and Legal Impact Update," ICE Totally Gaming 2016, London International Masters of Gaming Law Masterclass, February 3, 2016
Moderator, "Hot Topics in U.S. Online Gaming," C5 International Online Gaming Forum, London, February 1, 2016
Speaker, "Clarifying Gaming's Legal Landscape," 2015 World Gaming Executive Summit (WGES), Barcelona, July 6, 2015
Speaker, "The Emerging Market of Digital Games, Online Contests and Remote Gambling," Dentons CLE, University of Chicago Gleacher Center, Chicago, June 5, 2015
Panelist, "Investigation of New Opportunities in Emerging Markets," 2014 furtureigaming.com (Worldwide Business Research), London, December 4, 2014
Moderator, "U.S. Regulatory Scheme and Emerging Market Issues," KPMG eGaming Summit on the Isle of Man, November 11, 2014
Panelist, "Lessons Learned From the New Entrants and Next Steps in to the U.S. Market," 2014 World Gaming Executive Summit (WGES) , Barcelona, July 9, 2014
Moderator, "Regulatory Stories Across the Atlantic," 2014 World Gaming Executive Summit (WGES), Barcelona, July 8, 2014
Panelist, "Gaminglaw.eu Update: Clarifying Gaming's Legal Landscape –Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the US," 2014 World Executive Gaming Summit, Barcelona, July 7, 2014
Speaker, "Time to Fight the Patent Trolls: Learn How One of the Leading Sportsbooks Beat the Lottotron Patent," igaming Business Webinar, March 31, 2011
Panelist, "Sports, Sponsorship & Gambling," World Sports Law Report Seminar, March 7, 2007, London