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Zeller, Michael T.

Michael T. Zeller

Partner

michaelzeller@quinnemanuel.com
Direct Tel: +1 213-443-3180, Direct Fax: +1 213-443-3100
Los Angeles
Tel: +1 213 443 3000 Fax: +1 213 443 3100

Mike is a partner with more than 25 years’ experience in intellectual property law and complex commercial litigation, including patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret suits, as well as contract and licensing disputes, for a broad range of leading 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."

Mike represented 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, where Apple had sought to bar importation of Samsung smartphones and other products into the United States. In related federal court actions, he invalidated Apple’s claimed iPhone trade dress in a landmark 2015 Federal Circuit decision and ultimately defeated each of Apple’s repeated attempts to enjoin Samsung products based on design patent and trade dress claims.  In December 2016, Mike won for Samsung a widely reported, unanimous decision in the United States Supreme Court that reversed Apple’s claims to design patent damages – the first design patent case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in more than 120 years.

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

Throughout his career, Mike has been committed to pro bono representation and philanthropic causes.  For example, he represented mental health advocacy groups in Jaffee v. Redmond, 518 U.S. 1 (1996), the seminal U.S. Supreme Court decision recognizing a federal privilege for patient communications with psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.  Mike has taken on numerous other causes on behalf of not-for-profit organizations and individuals who otherwise could not afford legal counsel, including to advance human rights and voter protection.  Most recently, Mike has been involved in Project Corazon, a consortium of attorneys and other professionals working on a pro bono basis to reunite the thousands of parents and their children separated at the border.

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

Mike is the Chair of the firm’s Trade Secret Litigation Practice.

  • On behalf of Marvell Technology, won as appellate counsel reversal and vacatur of more than $1.25 billion in damages in utility patent suit accusing Marvell's semiconductors of infringing method claims, including complete reversal of willfulness determination against Marvell. Decision reported at 807 F.3d 1283 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
  • Represented Samsung against Apple in multiple patent and trade dress matters involving smartphone and tablet computer technology, in which Apple sought billions in damages and injunctions against the sales of numerous Samsung products.  Results included a complete non-infringement victory for Samsung on Apple’s design patent claims in the International Trade Commission, in which Apple had sought to block the importation of Samsung products into the United States.  Results also included, in federal court actions brought by Apple, invalidating Apple’s registered and unregistered iPhone trade dress on functionality grounds and ultimately defeating Apple’s repeated attempts to enjoin Samsung products based on design patent and trade dress claims.  In addition, in December 2016, won for Samsung a highly publicized, unanimous United States Supreme Court decision reversing  $399 million in design patent damages claimed by Apple -- the first design patent case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in more than 120 years.  Reported decisions include 580 U.S. __ (2016), 786 F.3d 983 (Fed. Cir. 2015), 735 F.3d 1352 (Fed. Cir. 2013), 695 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2012) and 678 F.3d 1314 (Fed. Cir. 2012).
  • Won summary judgment in 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 successfully 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 the 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).
  • Successfully defended eBay against claims for trademark infringement involving web site search. Won summary judgment in the District Court and then a Ninth Circuit affirmance. Decision reported at 511 F.3d 966 (9th Cir. 2007).
  • Represented Elaine Wynn in her successful, heavily contested litigation to obtain control of her approximately 9.25 percent shareholder stake in Wynn Resorts, valued at almost $2 billion.
  • Obtained dismissal with prejudice of claims against AOL Time Warner alleging contributory and vicarious copyright infringement based upon "Gnutella" peer-to-peer information sharing software.
  • Won summary judgment in favor of client, a General Electric/RCA spinoff, on trade secret misappropriation claims involving QAM modem technology. Decision affirmed by the Ninth Circuit.
  • 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 affirmed by Sixth Circuit.
  • In Delaware Chancery Court, represented majority owner of Forbes media properties in complex commercial dispute brought by Forbes family vehicle and related entities arising out of the acquisition. Succeeded on pleading motions and defeated efforts to force release of escrowed funds prior to trial.  The parties subsequently agreed to dismissal of claims with prejudice.
  • Successfully defended Borland against Lanham Act and related claims in connection with computer programming software.
  • Successfully defended CBS against numerous claims arising out of the production and distribution of the long-running, primetime television show Walker, Texas Ranger. Won summary judgment on more than $48 million of plaintiffs' claims, after which suit settled.
  • On behalf of Disney, won on First Amendment and other grounds dismissal of suit that asserted Section 17200 and consumer fraud claims relating to Disney's animated features.
  • Obtained for Disney dismissal with prejudice of trademark infringement and Section 17200 suit over its feature film, Monsters, Inc.
  • Defeated TRO application and won summary judgment in Telemundo's favor against copyright, Lanham Act, trade secret and idea theft claims involving children's television program.
  • In cross-border actions in the U.S. and Germany, successfully defended Mattel against former owner's claims seeking to rescind assignment of copyright and patent rights that formed the basis of Mattel's multi-billion dollar BARBIE product line. Decisions include Mattel v. Greiner & Hausser GmbH, 354 F.3d 857 (9th Cir. 2003).
  • On behalf of Mattel, won dismissal with prejudice of a federal antitrust suit, seeking in excess of $3 billion in damages, brought by MGA Entertainment. 
  • Successfully defended Mattel against copyright and related claims against its UNO product line. Won orders of dismissal and summary judgment, which resulted in settlement that included declaration of Mattel's exclusive ownership to the properties.
  • Won judgment for Mattel, after trial in the High Court of Justice in London, in first lawsuit ever involving the European Union's design rights law. The Court ruled that Mattel's EU design rights and UK copyrights were valid and infringed.   Among other relief, the Court issued an EU-wide injunction, barring defendants from further sales of infringing goods and directing defendants to recall those products from retailers, distributors and other customers.  Also won preliminary, and then permanent, injunctions for Mattel in parallel copyright actions in the U.S., Hong Kong, France and Netherlands that included recall of the infringing goods from retail shelves.
  • Successfully defended Mattel against patent infringement claims in connection with clam-shell packaging for its HOT WHEELS product line. Final judgment included declaration of non-infringement.
  • Won summary judgment and fee award in Mattel's favor, and against plaintiff, on copyright infringement claims that had sought over $1.2 billion in damages and an injunction against Mattel's flagship BARBIE product line. Also successfully represented Mattel in its subsequent malicious prosecution suit, which resulted in favorable, and landmark, anti-SLAPP decision.  Reported decisions include 99 Cal.App.4th 1179, 121 Cal.Rptr.2d 794 (2002).
  • On behalf of Mattel, won summary judgment invalidating MGA Entertainment’s alleged rights in registered packaging trade dress.
  • 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.
  • Successfully defended major financial institution against copyright claims in District of Massachusetts stemming from client's use of trading software that it had licensed from co-defendant who was later determined not to own rights to the software.
  • Successfully defended IBM against copyright infringement claims based on database software tool, including by defeating plaintiff's attempts to obtain extraterritorial damages.
  • Successfully represented IBM in multiple copyright infringement and Lanham Act actions, including suits involving database tools, communications controllers and memory cards.
  • Won jury verdict in utility patent case for medical device manufacturer. Jury found that the client's patent was valid, enforceable and willfully infringed.  Verdict upheld on appeal by the Federal Circuit.
  • In pro bono case, won complete defense victory on behalf of non-profit organization sued for defamation, wrongful termination and other claims alleging damage to plaintiff's music recording and songwriting career. Court granted summary judgment on entirety of case in favor of client on First Amendment and other grounds.
  • Won summary judgment of non-infringement for defendant on utility patents involving chemical adhesives for construction materials.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Firm Memorandum: Recent Trends in Cannabis Patent Litigation, (April 2019).
  • Firm Memorandum: New York State Gaming Commission Conditionally Approves Proposed Sports Wagering Regulations, (February 2019).
  • "Design Patents in the Modern World," Stanford Law School
  • “Litigating Design Patent Infringement,” Suffolk University Law School
  • IP Damages Institute, “Damages In Copyright and Trademark Infringement Litigation,” Los Angeles Intellectual Property Law Association
  • “Intellectual Property Protection,” UCLA
  • "Litigating Employment Trade Secret Cases," Employment Trade Secret Protection & Litigation
  • "Inside The Bratz Case," American Bar Association CLE 
  • "Clarifying Software Patent Litigation Problems," Corporate Counsel's Guide to Software, Internet and Telecom Patents
  • "Why You Need A Patent Strategy Now," Corporate Counsel
  • "Combatting Attempts to Divert Web Traffic," The Internet Newsletter
  • Co-Author, International Agency, Licensing and Distribution Agreements
  • "Cross-Border Intellectual Property Protection," International Distribution of Goods
  • Member, American Bar Association: Intellectual Property Section
  • Former Advisor, European Roundtable on Intellectual Property Law Harmonization