VERN WINTERS is known for finding ways to win hard cases. He has been privileged to work with a number of the country’s leading high-technology and biopharmaceutical companies, and has spent more than 200 days in high-stakes jury, bench, and arbitration trials. Among his trial and summary judgment wins are:
- Beating, in a month-long trial, a global biopharmaceutical company’s patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract claims directed to all of the recombinant organisms and materials used to manufacture several billion-dollar biologics;
- Defeating, in a week-long trial, an infringer’s claims, which relied on the expert testimony of the former chair of a state Bar’s ethics committee, that the chief legal officer at a leading biotech company had committed fraud in a patent-based joint venture;
- Securing a series of summary judgment orders on non-infringement and invalidity against a patent troll’s networking patents that were part of a larger portfolio by which it had previously extracted almost $2 billion in licensing fees; and
- Winning summary judgment based on a theory that had never been applied in that context in a published decision before, in a patent case involving ownership of potentially blockbuster DNA patents.
Based on his results in such cases, a variety of rankings entities have reported praise for Mr. Winters from his clients and his opponents. He has been ranked in Chambers USA for the last seven years, which has in various editions noted that he is “renowned for his sophisticated handling of patent litigation” and his “‘exceptional knowledge of the law,’” and that he “’impresses clients with his ‘charismatic and persuasive style in the courtroom - he can strike the right tone in pre-litigation too.’” IAM Patent 1000 (2012) reported client feedback that he is a “’phenomenally good litigator,’” and ranked him among the top 35 patent litigators in California. LMG Life Sciences (2012) designated him a “Life Sciences Star” in both Hatch-Waxman Litigation and General Patent Litigation. The client comments section of Best Lawyers in America (2013) described him as having “‘a deep expertise and knowledge in patent litigation’” and as “‘a deep thinker on issues presented in the litigation.’” In The Legal 500 (2010), clients described Mr. Winters as “focused and responsive.”
Regarded as a thought leader in the fields of patent and federal court litigation, Mr. Winters has addressed District Judges at Federal Judicial Center programs regarding claim construction issues, written amicus briefs in patent cases in the Supreme Court of the United States and in the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (en banc), and from 2002-2010 taught and co-taught Patent Litigation at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. He has spoken and published widely on patent litigation issues, and is co-author of the treatise Modern Patent Litigation. He currently serves, at the Court’s invitation, on the patent litigation Neutrals Panel for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California; on the Board of Editors of the Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal; on the Advisory Board of the Center for the Advanced Study and Research on Intellectual Property at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle, Washington; and on the National Editorial Board of The Federal Lawyer in Washington, D.C. Mr. Winters also served on the 2007-2008 Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation of the State Bar of California, which assesses the Governor of California’s potential nominations to the California state bench.
His pro bono work includes service as civil rights counsel for a putative class of children in Rhode Island’s child welfare system, seeking to reform that system. Sam and Tony M. v. Carcieri, et al., 608 F.3d 77 (1st Cir. 2010) (reversing district court’s dismissal on standing grounds).
Mr. Winters clerked for the Honorable Robert C. Bonner, United States District Judge for the Central District of California, and was an extern law clerk for Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court.
Awards & Recognition
- Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, 2013-2014
- Listed, Chambers & Partners USA Guide, American’s Leading Lawyers for Business, 2008-2012
- Listed, LMG Life Sciences, Life Sciences Star: Patent Litigation, 2012 (inaugural issue), 2013
- Listed, The Legal 500 USA, Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation, 2009-2010
- Listed, SuperLawyers magazine, 2004, 2006-2013 (Blue-Ribbon Panel Member, 2012)
- Listed, Who’s Who in the World, 2008-2013
- Listed, Who’s Who in America, 2009-2014
- Listed, Who’s Who in American Law, 2009-2012