Zeller, Michael T.

Michael T. Zeller



Mike is a partner specializing in intellectual property matters and other complex commercial litigation. He has more than 25 years’ experience in Lanham Act, patent, copyright and trade secret suits as well as in contractual and licensing disputes for a broad array of clients, including numerous technology, media and entertainment companies.

Mike has been frequently named by clients and the press as one of the nation's leading litigators, including in surveys published by Los Angeles Magazine and the California Lawyer. He has been named as one of Southern California's Top Lawyers every year since 2007 as well.

In 2009, Mike received the prestigious California Lawyer Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award for "extraordinary achievements" in intellectual property litigation. Mike also was featured in The American Lawyer, which named Quinn Emanuel as the "Top Intellectual Property Firm in the U.S."

Since 2011, Mike has defended Samsung in the high-profile, multi-billion dollar Apple v. Samsung lawsuits involving multiple patent and trade dress claims. In 2013, after trial, Mike won a complete defense decision for Samsung against Apple’s claims of design patent infringement in the International Trade Commission in which Apple sought to bar sale of Samsung smartphones and other products in the United States. In related federal court actions, he invalidated Apple’s claimed iPhone trade dress in a landmark Federal Circuit decision in 2015 and ultimately defeated each of Apple’s repeated attempts to enjoin Samsung products based on design patent and trade dress claims. On March 18, 2016, Mike won grant by the United States Supreme Court of Samsung's petition for writ of certiorari on issues relating to Apple's award of design patent damages – the first design patent case accepted for U.S. Supreme Court review in more than 120 years. Merits briefing in the U.S. Supreme Court is ongoing.

In 2014, Mike’s victory for Mattel in the Ninth Circuit against trade secret claims brought by MGA Entertainment was named as one of the year’s most significant federal appellate decisions.

Mike is admitted to the State Bars of California, Illinois and New York and regularly practices in the federal courts across the country as well as in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. He also routinely litigates cross-border intellectual property and technology disputes.

  Notable Representations

  • On behalf of Marvell Technology, won as appellate counsel in Federal Circuit reversal and vacatur of more than $1.25 billion in damages in patent suit accusing Marvell's semiconductors of infringing method claims, including complete reversal of willfulness determination against Marvell. Panel decision reported at 807 F.3d 1283 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
  • Representing Samsung against Apple in multiple patent and trade dress matters involving smartphone and tablet computer technology and in which, together, Apple sought in excess of $5 billion in damages.  Results to date include winning a complete non-infringement decision for Samsung on Apple’s design patent claims in the International Trade Commission. They also include, in federal court actions brought by Apple (a) invalidating Apple’s claimed iPhone trade dress, (b) ultimately defeating each of Apple’s repeated attempts to enjoin Samsung products based on design patent and trade dress claims and (c) an appellate reversal in Samsung's favor on the entirety of a $120 million jury verdict for Apple.  In addition, on March 18, 2016, won grant by the United States Supreme Court of Samsung's petition for writ of certiorari on issues relating to Apple's award of design patent damages – the first design patent case accepted for Supreme Court review in more than 120 years.  Merits briefing in the Supreme Court is ongoing. Reported decisions to date include 678 F.3d 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2012), 695 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2012), 735 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2013) and 786 F.3d 983 (2015).
  • Won summary judgment in United States District Court for the District of Delaware for Michael Milken in suit brought by Ronald Perelman companies arising from $135 million acquisition of software company. Decision affirmed by the Third Circuit.
  • Counsel for Google in intellectual property matters. These include defending Google in Perfect 10 v. Google, a copyright, trademark and right of publicity suit in which Perfect 10 alleged that Google's Image Search, Web Search and Blogger products infringed tens of thousands of images. Defeated Perfect 10's preliminary injunction motion and won summary judgment for Google on the bulk of Perfect 10's claims on DMCA grounds. After Ninth Circuit affirmed denial of Perfect 10's injunction motion in Google's favor, Perfect 10 abandoned its suit. Reported decisions include 653 F.3d 976 (9th Cir. 2011).
  • Represented eBay against claims for trademark infringement involving web site search. Won summary judgment in the District Court, and then a Ninth Circuit affirmance. Appellate decision reported at 511 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2007).
  • Represented owner of patent in prepaid wireless technology against telecommunications providers. Won $128 million judgment, along with additional award of $35 million in interest and royalties and permanent injunction. Reported decisions include Freedom Wireless v. Boston Communications Group, 390 F. Supp. 2d 63 (D. Mass. 2005); 369 F. Supp. 2d 159 (D. Mass. 2005); 369 F. Supp. 2d 155 (D. Mass. 2005); and 220 F. Supp. 2d 16 (D. Mass. 2002).
  • Obtained $80 million verdict for Avery Dennison in the Northern District of Ohio against Taiwanese adhesive manufacturer for trade secret misappropriation. Verdict upheld by Sixth Circuit.
  • Successfully defended Borland against Lanham Act and related claims in connection with computer programming software.
  • Successfully defended Napster against assignment-in-gross challenges to validity of Napster's federal registrations for, and its ownership rights to, the NAPSTER marks that had been acquired in Chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Representing Activision against right of publicity and related claims over videogame content.
  • Counsel for Mattel in numerous intellectual property matters. Decisions include 354 F.3d 857 (9th Cir. 2003).
  • Successfully represented IBM in multiple copyright infringement and Lanham Act actions, including suits involving database tools, communications controllers and memory cards.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims against AOL Time Warner alleging contributory and vicarious copyright infringement based upon "Gnutella" information sharing software.
  • Successfully represented numerous studios and networks in intellectual property disputes, including Disney, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and CBS.

  Practice Areas

  • Domestic U.S. Arbitration
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • International Arbitration
  • International Trade Commission Proceedings
  • Internet Litigation
  • Media & Entertainment Litigation
  • Patent Litigation
  • Sports Litigation
  • Trade Secret Litigation
  • Trademark, Trade Dress, Unfair Competition/False Advertising, and Publicity Rights Litigation


  • University of Iowa School of Law
    (J.D., with high honors, 1989)
    • Iowa Law Review:
      • Editor in Chief
    • Order of the Coif
    • Van Oosterhout Honors Moot Court

  • University of Iowa
    (B.A., with honors, 1986)


The State Bar of California; The State Bar of New York; The State Bar of Illinois; United States Supreme Court; United States Court of Appeals: Second Circuit, Seventh Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Federal Circuit; United States District Court: Central District of California, Northern District of California, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York, Western District of Wisconsin, Northern District of Illinois, Southern District of Illinois

  Prior Associations

  • Cravath, Swaine & Moore:
    • Associate, 1991-1994

  • Mayer, Brown & Platt:
    • Associate, 1994-1997

  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Raymond J. Broderick:
    • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 1989-1991

Publications and Lectures

  • "Design Patents in the Modern World," Stanford Law School (2013)
  • “Litigating Design Patent Infringement,” Suffolk University Law School (2013)
  • IP Damages Institute, “Damages In Copyright and Trademark Infringement Litigation,” Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association (2010)
  • “Intellectual Property Protection,” UCLA (2010)
  • "Litigating Employment Trade Secret Cases," Employment Trade Secret Protection & Litigation (2009)
  • "Inside The Bratz Case," American Bar Association CLE (2009)
  • "Clarifying Software Patent Litigation Problems," Corporate Counsel's Guide to Software, Internet and Telecom Patents (2006)
  • "Why You Need A Patent Strategy Now," Corporate Counsel, Fall 2001
  • "Combatting Attempts to Divert Web Traffic," The Internet Newsletter, Jan. 2000
  • Co-Author, International Agency, Licensing and Distribution Agreements (1997)
  • "Cross-Border Intellectual Property Protection," International Distribution of Goods (1996)

Professional Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association: Intellectual Property Section
  • Former Advisor, European Roundtable on Intellectual Property Law Harmonization