Photo of Joe Cleveland

Joseph F. Cleveland, Jr. is a shareholder at Brackett & Ellis, P.C. in Fort Worth, Texas.  His practice includes commercial litigation, intellectual property, antitrust, employment, contracts, oil and gas, and appeals.  You can contact him directly at

For more than 20 years, Texas personal injury lawyer Jim Adler has called himself The Texas Hammer® and more recently El Martillo Tejano®.  After spending millions in television, print, and billboard advertising, Jim Adler with his iconic sledgehammer has become one of the most recognizable personal injury attorneys in Texas.

Adler also uses these trademarks in internet advertisements. He purchases Google “keyword ads” using the phrases JIM ADLER, THE HAMMER, TEXAS HAMMER, and EL MARTILLO as search terms. When a consumer performs a Google search using any of these trademarks as a search term, Adler’s advertisements appear.

A legal marketing firm also began purchasing these same phrases as keyword ads so that the firm’s click-to-call ads would appear alongside Adler’s ads.  The click-to-call ads caused the user’s phone to make a call to the firm’s call center rather than visiting the website.  When the firm’s call center answered the telephone, they used a very generic greeting in what Adler claimed was a clever bait-and-switch effort to convince the consumer to engage lawyers referred through the marketing firm and not Adler’s firm.Continue Reading Using an Invisible “Texas Hammer” May Cause Trademark Confusion

As noted on this blog, litigation under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) often involves sealing court records according to the procedures of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 76a. Currently, the Texas Legislature is considering a bill to streamline the sealing process for trade secret litigants. In last fall’s issue of the The Advocate, Brackett & Ellis‘s Joe Cleveland and Dillon Minick explained why this change is needed. Continue Reading Brackett & Ellis Attorneys Publish Article Regarding the Problems with Texas’s Procedure for Sealing Court Records

In the case of Scientific Machine & Welding, Inc. v. Rose, No. 03-20-00564-CV, 2022 WL 850409 (Tex. App.—Austin Mar. 23, 2022, no pet.), the Texas Court of Appeals determined (1) if the steps taken by the plaintiff amounted to a “reasonable measure” of keeping the relative information a trade secret, (2) whether Scientific came forth with legally sufficient evidence to support claims of breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract, (3), whether Scientific’s claim of a “breach of implied contract of confidentiality” existed under Texas Law.   Continue Reading Texas Court of Appeal Evaluates What Actions Constitute “Reasonable Measures” to Keep a Trade Secret

To eliminate confusion or potential exploitation by competitors, savvy business owners use trademark law to protect their business’s brand and the public’s perception and good will associated with that brand. In this post, we will discuss what it means to choose a “good” business name to achieve the highest level of trademark protection. Continue Reading Choosing a (Good) Business Name