Rachel Herrick Kassabian is a partner in the Silicon Valley office. She represents companies in a wide range of intellectual property and commercial litigation matters, with a special focus on Internet sector businesses and tech start-ups. Ms. Kassabian has served as lead counsel for such companies as Pinterest, Google, OVH, Christian Dior, Cloudflare, IBM, Tumblr, and the Boy Scouts of America, in a variety of intellectual property and business disputes. Ms. Kassabian also has represented many successful tech companies in fending off early litigation. For instance, Ms. Kassabian successfully defended Pinterest in the first lawsuit ever brought against it, involving allegations that the idea for Pinterest was misappropriated, obtaining a complete dismissal that was subsequently upheld on appeal. Additionally, Ms. Kassabian has successfully defended various leading service providers, including search engines and hosting companies, in copyright infringement lawsuits by asserting safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Rachel also played a key role in representing Samsung in the company’s long-running smartphone litigations with Apple.
Ms. Kassabian has successfully tried multiple cases to verdict, and has defended her trial victories on appeal. She also has significant experience in corporate investigations, particularly in the context of allegations of economic espionage and trade secret misappropriation, employment matters and corporate governance issues. Related to her litigation work, Ms. Kassabian regularly advises startups and other tech clients, big and small, on intellectual property issues and best practices, to help them minimize and manage litigation risk while they grow their businesses.
Ms. Kassabian serves as Chair of the firm’s Internet Litigation Practice, and is a member of the firm’s Recruiting Committee.
- Serving as co-lead counsel for Pinterest and its Chairman and Co-Founder Ben Silbermann in an idea theft and breach of implied contract action brought by an individual claiming to be an uncompensated co-creator of Pinterest.com.
- Serving as co-lead counsel for Zazzle in a lawsuit brought by a font designer asserting copyright, trademark, fraud and contract claims arising from Zazzle’s claimed use of a font trio in its design tool.
- Served as co-lead counsel for global technology company Block, Inc. in a trademark infringement action brought by tax company H&R Block concerning Block, Inc.’s name change (from Square, Inc. to Block, Inc.) and its Cash App business unit’s longstanding use of its dollar sign logo.
- Served as lead counsel for the Boy Scouts of America in a trademark infringement action brought by the Girl Scouts of the United States of America concerning the BSA’s longstanding use of SCOUT-formative marks in connection with its provision of youth-serving programs; successfully obtained summary judgment in the BSA’s favor on all claims, resulting in the dismissal of the entire action.
- Served as lead counsel for an early stage robotics company in a contract dispute related to the termination of a senior executive.
- Represented video sharing website Vimeo in an action brought by music label EMI claiming hundreds of copyright infringements of sound recordings and compositions. Vimeo, a subsidiary of internet media company IAC, owns a creative video sharing community, and claims immunity pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Argued and secured a summary judgment victory for Vimeo in the district court, and secured a complete, precedent-setting victory in the Second Circuit on all grounds.
- Represented an Ad Tech startup in an employee movement dispute; successfully resolved the dispute prior to litigation.
- Served as lead counsel for web optimization and cyber-security company Cloudflare in its first lawsuit, a copyright and trademark infringement action involving a large collection of digital images, and successfully secured dismissal of all but one cause of action at the pleadings stage.
- Served as lead counsel for Google in an action brought by a vocal artist alleging right of publicity claims arising from Google’s use of a sound recording featuring the artist in an online and televised commercial, which case was resolved amicably dismissed prior to any discovery exchange.
- Served as lead counsel for an IT hardware company in a trademark infringement dispute with another IT hardware company; successfully resolved the dispute shortly after litigation was filed.
- Represented Barnes & Noble in a class action alleging contract and consumer claims arising from an incident where 250,000 orders for Hewlett Packard TouchPads were placed on barnesandnoble.com during the space of a few hours, which orders barnesandnoble.com was unable to fulfill. Plaintiff claimed, among other things, that Barnes & Noble’s e-commerce protocols were not up to industry standard. We took over the case after another firm had handled it for more than three years, while suffering a series of bad rulings. Within six months, we reversed the direction of the case, developed significant new facts, and obtained a dismissal with prejudice from plaintiff.
- Served as lead counsel for OVH, the largest cloud hosting, dedicated server and internet services company in Europe, in a copyright infringement action involving a large collection of digital images. On the eve of the Court’s ruling on our motion to dismiss, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice, in exchange for our agreement not to seek attorney’s fees.
- Served as co-lead counsel for popular visual bookmarking site Pinterest in its first lawsuit, a trade secret misappropriation action filed by an alleged former business partner of Pinterest’s first investor. Successfully obtained the complete dismissal with prejudice of the entire action, with the Court granting Pinterest’s motion and finding that the plaintiffs’ purported trade secrets were not protectable in the first instance, and that plaintiffs had not sufficiently demonstrated any relationship between plaintiffs and Pinterest as was required to sustain plaintiffs’ other related claims. The trial court’s decision was later upheld on appeal.
- Represented a medical device company against one of its former directors for breach of fiduciary duty for usurping a corporate opportunity.
- Served as lead counsel for Google in a copyright infringement action regarding alleged infringement on Google’s Blogger service, which was dismissed in full, with no payment from Google.
- Served as co-lead counsel for Yandex, Russia’s most popular search engine, in a copyright infringement action involving allegations of direct and secondary copyright infringement related to Yandex’s Russian internet search and hosting services. After successfully defeating plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction on its copyright claims directed to Yandex’s search and hosting services, we obtained summary judgment on the entirety of plaintiff’s direct infringement claims, and the vast majority of its secondary infringement claims, on the basis that the alleged infringements at issue were either a fair use, or were extraterritorial, or both. The case settled shortly thereafter.
- Served as lead counsel for Google in a copyright infringement action brought by the estate of a famous rock and roll photographer, arising from images displayed in a YouTube video featuring a Google Music event. After a successful motion to dismiss that narrowed the plaintiff’s claims, the case settled on favorable terms.
- Represented social gaming leader Zynga in a copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation action brought by its competitor SocialApps regarding Zynga’s wildly popular social networking game FarmVille. First, we successfully narrowed SocialApps’ trade secret misappropriation claim with a motion to dismiss demonstrating that some of SocialApps’ purported trade secrets were in fact publicly available before Zynga released FarmVille. We then filed a series of motions pressing SocialApps to properly identify its alleged trade secrets with specificity under California Code of Civil Procedure § 2019.210. The court granted our motions, and when SocialApps served an amended Section 2019.210 disclosure that remained deficient, we moved to strike the amended disclosure. Just a few weeks later, with Zynga’s motion to strike most of SocialApps’ purported trade secrets still pending, the parties mediated. The case settled favorably for Zynga, with no admission of liability and a dismissal with prejudice of SocialApps’ entire case against Zynga.
- On behalf of Google, obtained the complete dismissal of the long-running Perfect 10 v. Google litigation. Prior to the dismissal, we successfully obtained summary judgment of safe harbor under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on Perfect 10’s copyright infringement claims against Google's Web Search, Image Search and Blogger services. The decision precluded Perfect 10 from seeking any monetary damages for almost all of the more than two million alleged copyright infringements Perfect 10 claimed were hosted by Google’s Blogger service or linked to by Google’s Web and Image Search services. We also defeated Perfect 10’s motion for a preliminary injunction on its copyright and publicity claims, obtaining a court ruling that Google was likely to succeed on the merits, and that Perfect 10 had not demonstrated irreparable harm. We successfully defended that victory on appeal before the Ninth Circuit in 2011. And finally, on the eve of the close of discovery, after obtaining damaging admissions during several key depositions and winning several critical discovery motions, Perfect 10 offered to dismiss the entire lawsuit with prejudice, in exchange for Google’s agreement not to seek its attorney’s fees and costs. The case ended without Google paying Perfect 10 a cent.
- Served as lead counsel for microblogging website Tumblr in its first lawsuit, a copyright infringement action in which the plaintiff alleged failure to process DMCA notices. The litigation resolved favorably via a confidential settlement prior to the commencement of discovery, and with no admission of liability by Tumblr.
- Represented Google in an action brought by a software start-up involving allegations of copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition related to the start-up’s participation in Google's Enterprise Professional Program and claimed development of email migration software. The case settled favorably after a successful mediation.
- Represented Zynga in its first lawsuit, a copyright and trademark infringement action brought by its competitor Psycho Monkey regarding Zynga’s wildly popular social networking game Mafia Wars. The district court granted our motion to dismiss which substantially narrowed Psycho Monkey’s claims; thereafter, the parties successfully mediated the case and the action was dismissed.
- Represented Intuit in a series of actions against its competitor H&R Block relating to advertising for TurboTax and H&R Block’s tax services and products. The actions involved claims for false advertising and trademark and copyright infringement. Following a series of favorable discovery rulings that Quinn Emanuel obtained in the two jurisdictions in which the actions were litigated, the cases settled favorably to Intuit, and H&R Block’s offending knock-off advertisement was pulled.
- Obtained complete dismissal and $200,000 in sanctions on behalf of Avery Dennison Corporation and its regular patent prosecution counsel, Renner Otto, in a fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty case brought by the alleged inventor of personalized postage.
- Represented easyJet Airlines and software developer BulletProof in a trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Navitaire arising out of the alleged theft and copying of Navitaire’s reservations software. Upon the successful trial of a corresponding copyright infringement and breach of contract lawsuit in the U.K., the case settled favorably.
- Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of Kaiser Permanente in defense of a lawsuit disputing copyright ownership of photographic libraries consisting of thousands of images. The settlement followed Quinn Emanuel’s successful appeal to the Ninth Circuit for vacatur of a preliminary injunction that had been entered against the client while the client was represented by former counsel.
- Represented Bancorp Services in a suit against The Hartford Insurance Company for theft of trade secrets and breach of a confidentiality agreement. After a two-week trial in federal court requiring that Quinn Emanuel explain sophisticated financial products to jurors, the jury deliberated for less than a day and unanimously awarded our client Bancorp $118 million.
- Represented Jefferies & Company in a discrimination and retaliation action brought by a highly compensated investment banker. After a two-month state court trial, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for our client Jefferies.
- Harvard Law School
(J.D., cum laude, 1997)
- Ames First Year Moot Court Competition:
- Best Brief Award, 1995
- Best Brief Award, 1995
- Ames First Year Moot Court Competition:
- University of California, Los Angeles
(B.A., college honors, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, 1993)
- The State Bar of California
- Law Clerk to the Hon. Frank C. Damrell, Jr.:
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1999-2001
- Ranked as a Recommended Lawyer in Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets (Litigation and non-contentious matters) by Legal 500 USA, 2023
- Ranked as a Recommended Lawyer Legal 500 USA, Intellectual Property: Trademarks: Litigation, 2023
- The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, Copyright Law 2023, 2024
- Listed as a Recommended Lawyer in Trade Secrets and Intellectual Property – Copyright by Legal 500 USA 2016-2018.
Recent Speaking Engagements
- Panelist, Women in the Legal Profession – Harvard Law School Celebration 65, September 15, 2018
- Panelist, Current Developments and the Future of Section 512 of the Copyright Act – USC Gould School of Law 2018 IP Institute, March 20, 2018
- Panelist, A Conversation on Sponsorship for Men and Women – Watermark Conference for Women 2018, February 23, 2018
- Panelist, Privacy and Security in a Connected Age – Harvard Law School, April 8, 2017
- Instructor, Stanford University Law School, Depositions Workshop and Trial Advocacy Programs
- Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
- Member, Board of Directors, Freefrom