T: 713.986.7000 F: 713.730.5811
Travis Crabtree brings a unique perspective to his litigation, technology, media and marketing practice. Travis graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and spent several years in television news before embarking on a law career. More recently, in addition to serving his clients at Gray Reed & McGraw, he has opened and helps operate a number of e-commerce businesses. His background and experience gives him a more personal understanding of his clients’ needs and their desire for efficient and practical legal advice.
His technology practice focuses on media communications, online defamation, privacy, marketing and promotion compliance, domain name disputes, policy and governmental compliance, software licensing and audits, copyrights and trademarks, and related transactional documents for start-ups and technology companies. You can explore the legal issues involved in his practice by reading his blog, eMediaLaw.com. In addition, Travis represents plaintiffs and defendants in complex business matters with a particular emphasis on technology, marketing and media disputes, copyrights and trademarks, along with fiduciary litigation, partnership and shareholder disputes and other “business divorce” cases. His commercial litigation experience allows him to counsel clients at all stages of conflict from avoiding disputes, resolving them, trials and appeals. Most importantly, Travis’s courtroom experience helps him keep his clients out of the courtroom if he can, but aggressively represented if that is what it takes.
Representative Experience - Conflicts and Disputes
- Defense of software audits initiated by the BSA and the SIIA
- Prosecute and defend DMCA takedown notices
- Reputation management for clients dealing with online defamation claims, brand awareness and protection and counseling with consultants specializing in online reputation management dealing with the Communications Decency Act
- Successfully settled DTPA and false advertising claims brought by attorney general against online educational provider after defeating bulk of requested injunctive relief
- Successfully defend corporate officer in case brought by bankruptcy trustee claiming individual liabilities for marketing and advertising misrepresentations by others
- Defend minor in cyber-bullying lawsuit and a defendant in a revenge-porn case to successful and discreet settlement.
- Counsel and advise clients on copyright and trademark issues including filing and litigation
- Assist clients in obtaining domain names that rightfully belong to them through negotiations, purchase or arbitration claims
- Successfully prevented competitor from using client's trademarked name as part of a Google AdWords marketing program through negotiation and litigation
- Counsel clients on data breach issues including required notifications and best practices
- Litigation regarding termination and enforceability of various software licenses
- Create and help execute crisis management and media communications plans to manage the risk associated with communications internally and externally for various clients
- Successfully assisted and defended client in middle of contentious investigative television news report
- Defended defamation claim and obtained judgment for all attorneys' fees in defense of slander claim against plaintiff prior to availability of Texas Citizens Participation Act (anti-SLAPP)
- Successfully obtained several Freedom of Information rulings from the Texas Attorney's General to help clients obtain records from various school districts and other public entities
- First-chaired a jury trial obtaining a finding that the other side released the client from a multi-million dollar claim
- First-chaired a successful six-day jury trial for a minority partner expelled from a real estate development partnership. The jury awarded the client 35 times the amount originally offered by the partnership for the minority partner's proportionate interest of the partnership's assets.
- Brought a shareholder derivative and shareholder oppression action that ultimately forced the seven-figure purchase of the minority shareholder's stock in a prominent software development company on grounds including misuse of corporate assets, usurpation of corporate opportunities for the personal benefit of the majority shareholder and mismanagement of the company
- Serves as counsel on the national Insurance Brokerage Anti-Trust MDL that has netted and collected large settlements for claimants nationwide.
- Second-chaired a five-day jury trial for an electronic supply company collecting the entire amount owed, plus interest and all attorney's fees while defeating the defendant's DTPA counterclaim for $750,000
- As lead counsel, obtained a summary judgment for a family-owned company and its owners sued by a former investor in a related transaction dismissing all of the plaintiff's claims four months after the case was filed
- First-chaired the successful defense of a chemical trading company sued for the alleged deficiencies in the shipment of benzene in an international arbitration proceeding
- Successfully obtained tax rebates on behalf of owners of business and commercial aircrafts because the taxing districts failed to provide sufficient interstate allocation as required by the Texas Tax Code and the United States Constitution. These matters required first-chair representation at various Appraisal Review Board proceedings, bench trials at the district court level and arguments to the courts of appeal throughout the State of Texas.
- As lead counsel for a civic club, obtained a final summary judgment resulting in the permanent injunction against various salvage yard operators prohibiting them from operating their businesses too close to churches, schools and homes in violation of the Texas Transportation Code. While advocating the client 's interest at the courthouse, Travis also assisted the client in its effort to work with local state representatives to strengthen legislative enforcement procedures.
- Successfully obtained temporary restraining orders and temporary injunctions as lead counsel to enforce non-competition agreements against former employees and agents
- Obtained a summary judgment as lead counsel in a sexual harassment, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against corporate officer
- Settled a shareholder derivative lawsuit against officers of fracing company for substantial confidential amount
- Prosecution of several False Claims Act claims with Jim Reed against companies bilking the federal treasury of millions of dollars by presenting false claims for payment to the Federal Government.
Representative Experience - Transactional & Start-ups
- Create and monitor social media, online endorsement policies for various clients to comply with the Federal Trade Commission and NLRB guidelines and other regulations
- Draft and negotiate Web and App Development Agreements, Software Licenses and Non-Disclosure Agreements and other technology transactional, e-commerce, consumer and privacy law agreements
- Assist and draft necessary agreements to transfer or obtain intellectual property for mobile applications and other technologies
- Assist with basic corporate formation and initial documentation for start-ups to help mitigate risks facing technology companies
- Obtain trademarks and copyrights to protect intellectual property along with basic trade secret protection assessment
- Negotiated asset purchase agreement of software company involving open public licenses to major oilfield services company in excess of $20 million
- Pro bono counsel for open data citizen journalist program
- Draft and negotiate international content licensing agreement for educational animated series for use in East Asia.
- Asses internet security, web-based business plans and procedures, cloud-computing agreements, software and ERP implementation, outsourcing and technology independent contractor agreements
- Review and advise clients on legal and regulatory compliance for proposed marketing and promotional programs both on and off-line
- Review and analyze interactive online promotional programs to ensure compliance with numerous state laws and follow-up efforts to comply with Do Not Call laws
- Review and analyze affiliate marketing programs to avoid pyramid scheme concerns
- Advise clients on competitive intelligence efforts to mitigate risks and ensure legal compliance
- Review and analyze online coupon programs to ensure legal compliance and mitigate risks
- Review and analyze email marketing efforts to ensure compliance with CAN-SPAM
Professional Activities, Memberships & Affiliations
- Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston - Clear Lake (2014-2015)
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Texas; The Fifth Circuit of Appeals; The United States Supreme Court.
- State Bar of Texas - Litigation Section; Computer and Technology Section
- Houston Bar Association - Litigation Section, Sports and Entertainment Law Section
- Pro Bono Attorney for the Online Media Legal Network
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Board Member – City of Bellaire
- Staff Parish Relations Committee – Bellaire United Methodist Church
- Radio Television Digital News Association, Society of Professional Journalists; Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, Houston Interactive Marketing Association, SEMPO, GroundUp Houston, Social Media Breakfast Houston
- Past - President of the University of Missouri Bayou City Tigers Alumni Association, Dads' Clubs, youth sports coach
- Sports Videographer and Producer, KCRG-TV9 (ABC), Cedar Rapids, Iowa
- Sports Anchor, Reporter, Producer, KOMU-TV8 (NBC), Columbia, Missouri
- Named Top Attorney in Houston by H Texas Magazine (2013-2014)
- Profiled in 2011 Rising Stars by Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly and Law & Politics magazine "Travis Crabtree's Second Dream Job"
- Named a Texas Super Lawyers - Rising Star by Super Lawyers (a Thomson Reuters company) as published in Texas Monthly and Law & Politics magazine (2009 - 2014)