Will Hill Tankersley Headshot

Will Hill Tankersley Jr.

  • (334) 269-3100
Download Resume WHT@balch.com
  • New York University School of Law
    LL.M., 1989, Intellectual Property and AntiTrust
  • The University of Alabama School of Law
    J.D., 1986, Managing Board, Alabama Law Review
  • Washington & Lee University
    B.A., 1979, magna cum laude
Bar Admissions
  • Alabama, 1986
About Will Hill
Mr. Tankersley, founder and first chair of the Alabama State Bar Intellectual Property Section, is a frequent leader and participant in state legislative efforts as well as state and federal pattern jury instruction drafting for intellectual property and restrictive covenants.
  • What type of matters do you work on most often?

    In my 34-year career, my practice has mainly involved the following four categories of cases: intellectual property, fair competition disputes, technology and internet disputes, and complex litigation.

    Intellectual Property

    • Litigated many cases concerning trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights, patents, and rights of publicity.
    • Led and participated in the pattern jury instructions involving these areas.
    • Led the efforts to draft and pass Alabama’s first ever “Right of Publicity” statute.
    • Represented Record Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, Capitol/EMI, University of Alabama, Auburn University, and University of Arkansas, among others.
    • Handled franchising disputes for businesses of all sizes, including well-known franchises such as the founder of the Steak Out franchise in a complex commercial and IP dispute.
    • Litigated issues concerning patent and copyright “trolls” and other claimants.

    Fair Competition Disputes

    • Led the effort to reform and pass the first revision in over 80 years to the “restrictive covenant” statute in Alabama that governs non-compete agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and no-hire agreements.
    • Successfully advanced a price fixing case against an international corporation.
    • Defended against monopolization claims brought against a large client.
    • Regularly defend against actions brought under the Alabama Motor Fuel Marketing Act.

    Technology and Internet Disputes

    • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) arbitrator.
    • Resolved internet domain name disputes, including defending Network Solutions against a potential nationwide class action challenging expired domain name registrations.
    • Extensive experience with software disputes, including multiple struggles against the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
    • Extensive experience with the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA) that governs unauthorized access to computer systems, particularly as it relates to labor and employment.
    • Advised a client on telecommunications matters.

    Alabama Law Institute

    • For over 20 years, I have been involved with the Alabama Law Institute (ALI), a non-partisan, invitation only, restricted membership quasi-public private organization. Over its decades-long existence, the ALI has earned the trust of our state legislature and Governor as being the source of wise, useful and timely legislation to address current legal issues. It has been a quiet, constant and largely unheralded force for good in the lives of all Alabamians.
    • My work with the ALI has included, among other things:
      • The first revision in 84 years to Alabama’s Restrictive Covenant Act (non-compete agreements) strengthening an individual’s ability to seek work in his or her chosen field while at the same time providing, within a clearer scope, the ability of businesses to protect their valuable relationships and information. I led the ALI’s drafting of the revision act and then over two legislative sessions successfully obtained passage of the new act which took effect January 1, 2016.
      • Alabama’s first ever “Right of Publicity Act” which allows Alabama citizens, famous and not famous, to protect their names and likenesses from unauthorized commercial exploitation. I led the ALI’s drafting effort and helped pass the act into law over the vigorous opposition of outside interests.
      • Updating Alabama’s State Trademark Act to include a cause of action for “dilution” to protect locally famous trademarks.

    Pattern Jury Instructions

    • I have been a part of drafting all the pattern jury instructions that govern Intellectual Property for cases tried in Alabama.
      • The 2012 11th Circuit (federal appeals court for Alabama, Georgia and Florida) Copyright Pattern Jury Instructions (Leader)
      • The 2012 11th Circuit Trademark Pattern Jury Instructions (Participant)
      • The 2016 11th Circuit Update to the Copyright Pattern Jury Instructions. (Leader)
      • The 2016 11th Circuit Update to the Trademark Pattern Jury Instructions (Participant)
      • The 2016 Alabama Right of Publicity Pattern Jury Instructions (Leader)
      • The 2016 Alabama Trade Secret Pattern Jury Instructions (Leader)
      • The 2016 11th Circuit Defend Trade Secrets Act Pattern Jury Instructions (Leader)
      • The 2019 Alabama Business Restrictive Covenants (Non-Competes) (Leader)
      No other lawyer has been included on more than two of these pattern jury instruction drafting committees.
  • How are you involved in your community?

    After college and before law school, I served in the United States Army for eleven years (four years active duty; seven years National Guard and Reserves). My military accomplishments are as follows:


    • Highest Rank Achieved: Major
    • Troop Duty: Commander, Company C 2d Battalion 152 Armor, ALARNG (Alabama Army National Guard)
    • Adjutant, 2d Battalion 152 Armor, ALARNG
    • Aide De Camp Major General William A. Jackson Commanding General, Troop Command, ALARNG
    • Company Executive Officer; Co. C 1/10 Special Forces; Bad Tolz, FRG. 
    • Operational Detachment Executive Officer: 1/10 Special Forces, Bad Tolz, FRG.
    • Mechanized Infantry Platoon Leader; 3/19 Infantry; Ft. Stewart, GA

    Military Education:

    • Infantry Officer Advanced Course (USAR)
    • Language School German and Czech (1st in class in Czech)
    • Special Forces Officer Course Awarded Special Forces “Flash” and Graduated on the Commandant’s List (Top 20%)

    Special Military Qualifications:

    • Expert Infantryman
    • Jumpmaster
    • Airborne Senior Parachutist
    • NATO Ski Instructor
    • Ranger Qualified
    • German Army Parachutist
    • Pathfinder 

Select Matters

  • ABB Automation, Inc. v. Jakob W. Devries, et al.; Case No.; In the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama; CV-013665 (Trade Secret)
  • Accor Technology, Inc. v. Reliance Worldwide Corporation d/b/a Cash Acme; In the United States District Court Western District of Washington at Seattle; Case No. CV-07-1714 (Trademark)
  • Adventure Travel Society, Inc. v. ATA Services, Inc. d/b/a Adventure Travel; In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama; Case No. 01-CV-1597 (Trademark / Internet)
  • Alabama Power Company v. Martin Bruce Harbison, Weathertron, Inc., and Weather Shield LLC; In the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama; Case No. CV2007-002328 (Trademark, False Advertising, Trademark Counterfeiting)
  • AmSouth Bank v. Richard Scott Perkins, et al, In the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama; Case No. CV 06-125 (Trade Secret)
  • Arden Ward, Arden Photography, LLC v. Hoffman Media LLC, Hoffman Publications, LLC, Simon and Schuster, Inc., Paula Deen Enterprises, LLC, Meredith Corporation, Phyllis Hoffman, Paula Deen; In the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama Southern Division; Case No.: 2:08-CV-00732-IPJ (Copyright Right of Publicity)
  • ATC Distribution Group, Inc. v. Tom Conroy; In the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County, Alabama; Case No. CV-02-383 (Non-Compete)
  • BankTrust v. Seals Leasing Group, LLC, et al., In the Circuit Court of Jefferson County, Alabama; Civil Action Number: 01-CV 2009-903100 (reprographic services and lease dispute)Bell Aerospace Services, Inc. v. U.S. Aero Services, Inc. et al; United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama; 1:09-CV-141-MHT (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Trade Secret)
  • Jerry B. Black v. BriteSmile, Inc., et al.; Jefferson County Circuit Court; Case No.: CV 96-7054 (Trade Secret)
  • Bowater Alabama, Inc. v. GEO Specialty Chemicals, Inc.; In the Circuit Court of Talladega County, Alabama (Environmental, Injunctive Relief)



      Speaking Engagements


        • New York University School of Law, LL.M., 1989, Intellectual Property and AntiTrust
        • The University of Alabama School of Law, J.D., 1986, Managing Board, Alabama Law Review
        • Washington & Lee University, B.A., 1979, magna cum laude
        • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
        • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
        • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
        • U.S. Supreme Court
        Bar Admissions
        • Alabama, 1986
        Professional Affiliations
        • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Arbitrator, Internet Domain Name Disputes
        • State of Alabama Deputy Attorney General Appointment, multiple Intellectual Property matters
        • University of Alabama School of Law, Adjunct Processor, Trademarks and Unfair Competition
        Awards & Accolades
        • Fellow to the Alabama Bar Foundation (Invitation only. Limited to 1% of the Bar), 2017 admittee
        • Birmingham Business Journal, Veteran of Influence, 2017 
        • Best Lawyers in America, 2016 Alabama Lawyer of the Year, Trademark and Antitrust
        • Best Lawyers in America, Intellectual Property and Antitrust
        • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent
        • Mid-South Super Lawyers
        • Birmingham Magazine, "Top Attorney," Intellectual Property (Peer Reviewed Selections) (Multiple Years)
        • B-Metro Magazine, Best in Birmingham Bar and "Top Flight" Attorney, Intellectual Property (Picked by B-Metro Selection Committee) (Multiple Years)  
        • B-Metro Magazine, Top Lawyers, 2018
        • Managing Intellectual Property, IP Star 2018 - 2019
        Community Involvement
        • 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Ala., Outside Intellectual Property Counsel
        • Fixed Point Foundation, Former Pro Bono General Counsel
        • Dexter Avenue King Memorial Church, Montgomery, Ala., Former Counsel
        • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Honorable Truman M. Hobbs, Sr., 1986 - 1987