LitigationIntellectual PropertyChair, Sports Law
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Harvard Law School, J.D., 1972.
Oxford University, M.A., 1969.Rhodes Scholarship.
New York University, B.A., summa cum laude, 1967.Honorary Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
Ronald Katz, who heads the litigation group in the Palo Alto office, specializes in complex commercial dispute resolution, with an emphasis on intellectual property, antitrust and technology matters. Mr. Katz has been involved in high-profile and novel cases for major clients, both internationally and in Northern California. In 2013 he defeated a TRO application by a major cycling team against a sporting goods manufacturer client. In 2012, he helped the San Francisco SPCA achieve a significant settlement in a will contest. In 2011 and again in 2012, he argued a trademark appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of football great Jim Brown [Click here to read article]. And in 2010 he defeated a motion for a temporary restraining order in an intra-corporate dispute between two top-level executives [Click here to read article]. Other recent courtroom successes include winning a jury verdict of almost a million dollars from Caltrans [Click here to read article], winning a jury verdict in a patent infringement action involving remote email technology, obtaining a preliminary injunction against infringement of a patent relating to the protection of electronically stored data, and winning a jury verdict of $28.1 million on behalf of a class of retired National Football League players against their union [Click here to read article].
Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Katz served as Deputy Director of the Law of the Sea Negotiations at the U.S. State Department and previous to that was an attorney in the Foreign Commerce Section of the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, where he had the honor of receiving the Attorney General’s Outstanding Performance Award. In addition, he was an Overseas Fellow with the International Legal Center in Bandung, Indonesia, where he assisted the Minister of Justice on law reform projects. Mr. Katz currently teaches a course in trial advocacy at Stanford University Law School and a course in sports law at Santa Clara University Law School. He is the Chairman of the Board of the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics at Santa Clara University. Mr. Katz established the Torch Fellowships for graduate students at New York University, where he was previously a member of the Board of Overseers.
Representative Recent Litigation
In 2013, Mr. Katz defeated the application for a Temporary Restraining Order by a well-known cycling team against a sporting goods manufacturing client. The client was therefore able to provide a certain helmet to other teams than the one that had brought suit.
In 2012, Mr. Katz helped the San Francisco SPCA achieve a significant settlement on the eve of trial in a will contest.
In 2011 and again in 2012, Mr. Katz argued an appeal before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for football great Jim Brown regarding Electronic Arts’ use of his image in its Madden football videogames.
In 2010, Mr. Katz defeated an application for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented his owner-CEO client from terminating a co-owner as CFO.
In 2009, Mr. Katz won a jury verdict of almost $1 million for a multi-billion dollar operator of truck stops against Caltrans in a case stemming from an aborted land deal.
In 2008, Mr. Katz won a $28.1 million jury verdict for a class of 2,062 retired NFL players who sued their union.
In 2007, Mr. Katz won an anti-SLAPP motion for a venture capital client, nipping his adversary’s case in the bud, and then prevailed on his motion for statutory attorneys’ fees and costs.
In 2006, Mr. Katz won a jury verdict in a patent infringement case in Marshall, Texas, involving remote email technology, as reported in The Wall Street Journal on May 4, 2006, on page B4.
In 2006, Mr. Katz obtained an injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against a company seeking to circumvent a patent for a device protecting electronically stored data.
In 2006, Mr. Katz won a jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in a breach of contract and copyright infringement case between two electronic search companies.
In 2004, Mr. Katz obtained an injunction in the Southern District of New York preventing the company formerly known as 321 Studios from selling DVD X Copy software.
“Major League Baseball's Odd Precedent May Doom NCAA Plaintiffs,” Forbes.com, January 21, 2015.
“Sports Precedents Die Hard In 9th Circ.,” Law360, January 16, 2015.
“Court Stops New Jersey's Effort to Legalize Sports Betting,” New York Law Journal, January 6, 2014.
“NFL Films Ruling Reverses Course, Blurs Right of Publicity,” Law360, October 31, 2014.
“O’Bannon v. NCAA Opinion Contradicts Itself and is Likely to be Overturned,” Forbes.com, August 2014.
“Right Or Wrong, Precedent Will Decide O'Bannon Case In Favor Of NCAA,” Forbes.com, July 21, 2014.
"Third Circuit Weighs First Amendment v. Rights of Publicity," Website of ABA Section of Litigation: First Amendment and Media Litigation, July 17, 2013.
“EA Right Of Publicity Case Provides Valuable Guidance,” Profile Media, May 22, 2013.
"Rights of Publicity: Contradictions In The Courts," Law360, January 10, 2013.
"Courts, Sports And Videogames: What's In A Game?" Law360, January 4, 2012.
“Patent Trolls: A Selective Etymology,” IP Law360, March 21, 2008.
“Patents Give the DMCA Needed Teeth: Salvaging Copy Protection in the Post-Grokster Era,” Journal of Internet Law, September 2004.
“Back to the Future: Patent Parallels Between SARS, HIV/AIDS,” BNA Pharmaceutical Law & Industry Report, July 11, 2003.
“Whither the DMCA? A Tale of Two Cases,” Journal of Internet Law, May 2003.
“Internet Speech and the Limits of Jurisdiction,” The American Society of International Law, Proceedings of the 97th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, April 2-5, 2003.
"Should One Patent Court Be Making Antitrust Law for the Whole Country?" 69 Antitrust Law Journal, 2001.
“National Boundaries in Cyberspace? Yahoo! v. LICRA,” Journal of Internet Law, September 2001
“It Pays to Pay Attention to Intellectual Property,” Intellectual Property Forum, March 2001.
“Intellectual Property vs. Antitrust: A False Dilemma,” The Computer Lawyer, November 1998.
“Uncertainty Reigns in Software Cases,” The National Law Journal, May 12, 1997.
“WIPO Treaties: Euphoria Should Wait,” The Computer Lawyer, April 1997.
“A Post-Kodak Working Guide to Market Definition,” Antitrust, Spring 1997; The Antitrust Counsel, Nov. 15, 1997.
“New Case Complicates Proof of Infringement by Program Execution,” The Computer Lawyer, June 1996.
“Recent Cases Reveal Gaps in Draft Antitrust/IP Guidelines,” The Computer Lawyer, November 1994.
“Fair Use of Operating System Software: Square Pegs In Round Holes?” The Computer Lawyer, May 1994.
“ADR Abroad,” The Recorder, April 28, 1994.
“Water Marketing/Transfers and the Antitrust Laws,” California Water Law & Policy Reporter, October 1993.
“MAI v. Peak: An Unprecedented Opinion with Sparse Analysis,” The Computer Lawyer, May 1993.
“The Benefits and Burdens of Kodak from a Litigant’s Perspective,” Antitrust, Fall/Winter 1992.
“Is Antitrust Law Coming Alive?” The California Lawyer, December 1992 (interview with Stanford Law School Professor William Baxter, a former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division).
“A Method for Evaluating the Deep Seabed Mining Provisions of the Law of the Sea Treaty,” 7 Yale Journal of World Public Order 114, 1980.
“Financial Arrangements for Seabed Mining Companies: An NIEO Case Study,” 13 Journal of World Trade Law 209, 1979.
Survey of Indonesian Economic Law:
“Law Reform in Post-Sukarno Indonesia,” 10 The International Lawyer 335, 1976.
"Legislating Social Change in a Developing country: The New Indonesian Marriage Law Revisited," 26 American Journal of Comparative Law 309 (1978).
"The New Indonesian Marriage Law: A Mirror of Indonesia's Political, Cultural and Legal Systems," 23 American Journal of Comparative Law 653 (1975).
Admitted to practice in California.
Member, the State Bar of California.
Chair, Santa Clara University Institute of Sports Law and Ethics.
Member (Master), McFetridge Inn of Court.
Fellow, American Leadership Forum, Silicon Valley.
Panelist, “Responding to Change: Alternative Regulatory Systems for College Sports,” Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, May 19, 2015.
Moderator, “Concussion Litigation: Past, Present and Future,” Annual Conference of the California Judges Association, May 1, 2015.
Panelist, "Protecting and Monetizing the Publicity Rights of Athletes and Entertainers," The Entertainment and Sports Law Association at Cleveland-Marshall, April 10, 2015.
Panelist, “Strategies for Battling Patent Trolls,” ALFA International, The Global Legal Network, March 8, 2015.
Panelist, “Rights of Publicity of Celebrities in Video Games,” Video Game Bar Association, March 4, 2015.
Panelist, "The World of College Athletes and Their Intellectual Property," 38th Annual Intellectual Property Institute, Berkeley, CA, November 7, 2013.
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