Karen Johnson-McKewan, an Intellectual Property partner in the San Francisco office, concentrates her practice on complex intellectual property and commercial litigation for technology companies.

Karen has first-chaired several trials, and she has significant experience litigating and arbitrating cases in which simplifying complex technology issues is essential. Her engagements have involved matters in technology, Internet, financial, e-commerce, retail, real estate software and gaming industries.

Over the past 30 years, Karen has represented clients in a broad range of matters in state and federal courts and before multiple arbitral bodies. Karen has defended clients in federal bankruptcy court adversary proceedings as well as litigated and arbitrated cases involving such diverse subject matters as complex software implementation disputes, patent and copyright, insurance coverage cases, securities fraud, M&A, and commercial matters. In addition, Karen has handled a number of consumer class actions and cases arising under California's Business & Professions Code section 17200, represented lawyers in professional malpractice and malicious prosecution cases and represented a variety of clients in privacy and defamation matters.

Karen has arbitrated more than a dozen disputes over the years, including a post-acquisition earn-out fight, a dispute arising from a failed healthcare technology software/hardware development project, multiple securities broker-dealer disputes, termination of an option to acquire a commercial data center, and a dispute over ownership of high-value downtown commercial real estate.

Karen's clients include leading technology and Fortune 500 companies, and she has represented, among others, Oracle Corporation, NVIDIA Corporation, Levi Strauss & Co., Harman International, Google, Mervyn's LLC, Equinix, Inc.,, PayPal, Citrix Systems, Inc., the Shell Oil Company, Wells Fargo Bank, Comerica Bank, Bank of the West, the Trustees of the Testamentary Trust of Larry Hillblom and the Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco. For three years (2005-2008), Karen served as Orrick's San Francisco Office Leader.

Before joining Orrick, Karen was a partner at Clifford Chance and at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where she served as managing partner.

  • The following is a sample of some of Ms. Johnson-McKewan's cases.

    • Oracle/State of Oregon. Currently represents Oracle in connection with dispute arising from Oregon's failure to launch health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act. Litigation involves constitutional questions concerning the Copyright Remedies Clarification Act and 11th Amendment immunity, as well as complex state-federal preemption issues.
    • Oracle/DrugLogic. Successfully prosecuted declaratory judgment action as to Oracle's non-infringement of patents covering adverse drug reaction analysis and reporting methods.
    • Harman International. Successfully represented Harman in connection with patent litigation targeting core automated driver assistance system technology of acquired company, on-going advisory work on multiple intellectual property and commercial matters.
    • iVillage/NBC. Represented iVillage (which was acquired by NBC in 2006) in the complete dismissal of all federal claims, namely trademark infringement, false advertising, dilution and cybersquatting, asserted against iVillage in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California based on iVillage's use of certain trademarks on its astrology website.
    • William A. Brandt, Jr. v. NVIDIA Corporation (In re 3dfx Interactive, Inc.), U.S.D.C., Northern District of California, Bankruptcy Court. Successfully defended NVIDIA Corporation in trial of fraudulent transfer and successor liability action brought by 3dfx's bankruptcy trustee arising from NVIDIA's 2001 acquisition of assets from 3dfx Interactive, Inc.
    • Carlyle Fortran Trust, CarrAmerica Realty v. NVIDIA Corporation, U.S.D.C. Northern District of California. Successfully defended NVIDIA in litigation brought by landlords of 3dfx Interactive, Inc., alleging NVIDIA interfered with 3dfx's commercial leases by entering into an asset purchase agreement with 3dfx.
    • Shell Oil Co. v. Pacific Indemnity, et al. San Mateo Superior Court. Tried 12 week pollution coverage case on behalf of the policy-holder, the Shell Oil Company, arising from decades-old pollution at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Colorado. This was a retrial of a case originally tried 10 years earlier with disastrous results for our client. The original adverse judgment was reversed on appeal. Two weeks before going to the jury, the defendants agreed to an extremely satisfactory settlement.
    • Ho v. Creswell. San Francisco Superior Court. Tried and won 10 week jury trial involving allegations of securities fraud against our client, a securities broker-dealer; successfully defended verdict on appeal; recovered all attorneys' fees for client.
    • Estate of Hillblom/In Re Testamentary Trust of Larry Lee Hillblom. Superior Court of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federal District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, San Francisco Superior Court. Represented the Trustees of a Charitable Testamentary Trust in connection with the probate of an estate in which eight illegitimate children claimed rights as pretermitted heirs to the entirety of a US$600 million estate. Successfully negotiated settlement of heirship claims; successfully defended constitutionality of retroactive legislation re pretermission rights; successfully defended Trustees against removal attempts and recovered clients' lawyers' fees from estate.
    • Hampton v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. San Francisco Superior Court. Successfully defended Wells Fargo Bank at trial and on appeal in a case arising from trustee's embezzlement of funds from custody accounts maintained at Wells Fargo.
    • Sangster v. Paetkau. San Francisco Superior Court. Successfully defended, in trial court and on appeal, a major New York law firm and individual attorneys in a malicious prosecution case.
    • In Re Belloc Trusts. San Francisco Superior Court. Defended Wells Fargo in connection with a Petition to Remove Wells Fargo as trustee of the Belloc Trusts in which Wells Fargo was accused by its co-trustee of malfeasance in the administration of a US$60 million trust. Wells Fargo succeeded in having its co-trustee suspended, successfully defended the co-trustee's claims of malfeasance, and recovered its attorneys' fees incurred in the effort.
    • In re Crosby Trusts. Represented Bank of the West in connection with disputes arising from management of royalties generated by Estate of Bing Crosby.
    • Pro bono. Represented a breast cancer survivor and owner of Check Your Boobies, in a trademark matter for a breast cancer awareness group.

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