As trial, litigation and appellate counsel, Mr. Pulgram brings 30 years of courtroom experience to bear for his clients. This includes successful trials to verdict in commercial, IP and employment cases in state and federal courts and arbitrations; winning oral arguments in the Courts of Appeal; and negotiation skills honed in the evolving world of emerging technologies.
Since moving to Fenwick & West in 2000, Mr. Pulgram has focused on the firm's sweet spot—advocacy for technology companies—while representing traditional consumer and media companies as well. As co-chair of the firm’s copyright litigation and chair of its commercial litigation groups, his practice takes on a wide array of issues. In the IP space, he litigates for both copyright owners and the creators of new technologies that use copyrighted content, and handles trademark, trade dress, trade secret, patent, right of publicity, invasion of privacy and defamation matters. In business litigation, focuses include class action cases involving false advertising, unfair competition, product defect, and privacy and data security issues, as well as disputes over contracts, commercial transactions and other business torts.
Mr. Pulgram has been named one of the top 75 IP lawyers in California. He won the Copyright Case of the Year in 2012 (as chosen by Managing Intellectual Property). He has consistently been recognized by Best Lawyers in America in both Intellectual Property and Commercial Litigation; as an “IP Star”; and a “Superlawyer of Northern California.” Legal 500 recently recommended him as a "strong litigator with very sound business sensibilities and obvious commitment to the best interests of clients."
Since 1997, Mr. Pulgram has been a leader of the American Bar Association's Section of Litigation, a group of over 50,000 litigators, where he is currently Vice Chair and scheduled to become Chair for 2016-17. Prior positions include service on the Executive Committee as Budget Officer, and as chair and member of numerous task forces and committees, including its Federal Practice Task Force and Task Force on Independence of the Judiciary.
Mr. Pulgram is also Vice Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of The Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center in San Francisco. He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (San Francisco), a member of the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, and the ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors for the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.
Frequently sought out as a thought leader on a variety of emerging IP issues, Mr. Pulgram has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg News, Reuters, and The National Law Journal, among other publications.
Mr. Pulgram also enjoys an active pro bono practice, frequently focusing on copyright fair use issues and civil rights. He has represented a number of film makers, technologists and activists with respect to copyright and fair use issues.
Mr. Pulgram has also prosecuted several class action cases involving constitutional rights of privacy for employees, including cases involving drug testing, psychological testing, and political affiliation testing. With the ACLU, he represented citizens challenging the Bush Administration’s secret warrantless collection of electronic communications and records in the aftermath of 9/11—the program that Edward Snowden ultimately publicly disclosed several years later.
Mr. Pulgram served as judicial clerk for Hon. Sam C. Pointer, Jr., the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama and member of the Panel for Multi-District Litigation. He joined Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin in 1984, was elected a partner in 1989, and practiced in its San Francisco office through 1999.
Netbula v. Chordiant: Prevailed in jury trial representing a client, Chordiant, that had acknowledged use of software components beyond the scope of its license. The jury awarded only $1.2 million out of the $32 million requested by plaintiff in closing (and a fraction of what Chordiant had offered to settle pre-trial); plaintiff was denied attorneys’ fees. In two separate copyright cases brought by Netbula against Sun Microsystems and Symantec, won summary judgment of non-infringement and attorneys’ fees awards.
King.com v. 6Waves: Won stipulated permanent injunction and payment covering attorneys’ fees and part of infringer’s profits on behalf of client King.com in its lawsuit against competitor 6Waves alleging infringement of copyrights in video games.
Sugar Hill Music v. CBS Interactive: Presently defending CBSI against claims for inducement of copyright infringement by distribution of peer-to-peer software that can be used for copying of music files. Have defeated request for preliminary injunction and obtained dismissals of majority of plaintiffs who first filed the action.
Righthaven v. Democratic Underground: In the “Copyright Case of the Year,” won ruling that “copyright troll” Righthaven’s receipts of assignments of rights to sue did not afford it legal standing, thereby winning summary judgment and an award of attorneys’ fees for client. The case ultimately ended the business model Righthave had used to file scores of cases across the country.
A&M Records v. Napster: Led a team defending Napster against the recording industry’s copyright lawsuits and over 20 other actions consolidated in multi-district litigation. Although Napster was enjoined, we obtained stay and modification of injunctions through appeals, and won denial of motion for summary judgment.
American Broadcasting Company v. Replay TV: Defended manufacturer of DVR software against claims it facilitated copyright infringement by TV viewers who could use it to skip commercials.
Metro Golden Mayer v. Grokster: Submitted amicus brief on behalf of technologists cited with approval in the majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court.
Harvard University: Represented university in transactions and litigation strategy relating to copying of Harvard libraries by Google for its Google Book project.
Nextdoor.com v. Abhyanker: Won summary judgment for Nextdoor.com, Inc. granting rights to that name in online social networking and finding the defendant liable for trademark infringement. Ruling included a rare opinion that, as a matter of law, the term “NEXTDOOR” as used for a neighborhood service was merely suggestive, not descriptive. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of all counterclaims, including misappropriation of trade secrets and trademark infringement, brought by owner of “FATDOOR” trademark. Obtained dismissal with prejudice of all claims against Nextdoor.com for patent infringement.
Groupion v. Groupon: Won summary judgment that client Groupon did not infringe trademark of GROUPION software on the rare grounds that there was no likelihood of confusion as a matter of law.
Global VR v. Foley: Obtained TRO, preliminary injunction and ultimately a stipulated money judgment for video game maker Global VR against CTO who surreptitiously operated a business competing. Obtained sanctions for destruction of evidence and cooperated with criminal prosecution that obtained conviction of former CTO.
Successfactors v. Softscape: Obtained preliminary injunction and favorable settlement for Successfactors against competitor alleged to have fraudulently obtained access to trade secrets, infringed trademarks and unfairly competed with employment software offerings.
Opsware v. Bladelogic: In multi-coastal, expedited litigations, obtained preliminary injunction against enforcement of non-competition agreement allowing former employee of competitor to join client’s software business.
Corbis Right of Publicity Cases: Won summary judgment dismissing on the merits lawsuits brought by singers/actresses Shirley Jones, Bonnie Pointer and Anna Maria Alberghetti alleging misappropriation of their rights of publicity based on online display and licensing of their images by Corbis, an image licensing service. Obtained awards of attorneys’ fees in favor of Corbis.
Bauknight v. Corbis: Obtained, after being substituted as counsel, decertification of nationwide class that had been certified by Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court for assertion of claims against Corbis for misappropriation of entertainers’ rights of publicity. Also successfully opposed motions for class certification of classes of performing artists seeking class certification in Alberghetti v. Corbis and Jones v. Corbis.
Haskins v. Symantec: Won dismissal on the pleadings of putative class action asserting false advertising and unfair competition claims based on Symantec’s failure to disclose a security breach that allegedly exposed source code for Norton Anti-Virus software. Decision established a new standard for determining necessity of allegation that a plaintiff actually saw and relied upon purportedly false ads.
Yunker v. Pandora: Defended against allegations that the Pandora music service violated customers’ privacy and contractual rights by purportedly collecting personal information through its mobile app, won multiple motions dismissing complaint and narrowing the case on the pleadings, ultimately resulting in successful disposal of the case.
Menagerie Productions v. IAC Interactive: After successfully defeating class certification for most claims that client IAC had engaged in “click fraud” (i.e., charging advertisers for online clicks that did not genuinely engage with ads), obtained review by Ninth Circuit of the remaining portion of an order that partially certified the class, resulting in resolution of the matter for a de minimis sum.
Cisneros v. Ask.com: Defended against and successfully obtained dismissal, without payment of compensation, of claims against search engine for unfair competition based on sale of advertising for allegedly illegal gambling activities.
San Francisco City Tours v. Groupon: Successful defense of claim for unfair business practices and false advertising based on purchases of keyword advertising on the internet.
Knable v. Intuit: Obtained full dismissal on the pleadings of all claims, including warranties, contracts, unfair competition, and invasion of privacy, based on Intuit’s alleged insertion of “spyware” in TurboTax software.
Investigations: Represented numerous targets of federal, state and local governmental investigations into unfair competition and false advertising cases, including resolutions on favorable terms with groups of over 20 state attorneys general.
Bustamante v. Intuit: Won summary judgment and affirmance on appeal against $100 million dollar claim that Intuit defrauded and failed to perform alleged contract to allow plaintiff to adapt and launch Quickbooks products in Mexico.
Antonioli v. Ghirardo: Won trial and affirmance on appeal (subsequently reversed under subsequent counsel) of breach of commercial agreement, in case that established standards for application of usury statutes in California.
Cisco v. Compel: Represented Cisco in international arbitration and litigation over terms of software license agreement, resulting in obtaining of rights through mediated solution.
Executive Life Insurance: Represented the Commissioner of Insurance of California in numerous litigations and successful appeals relating to the insolvency of the then largest insurance insolvency in California history.
Confidential Arbitrations and Transactional Disputes: Have obtained, and defended against, hundreds of millions of dollars in recoveries in non-public disputes relating to commercial and licensing transactions.
Williams v. SF Weekly: Won anti-SLAPP motion and dismissal of claims for libel brought by local candidate against national chain of news weeklies, and recovered award of attorneys’ fees.
Citron Research v. WestSummit Capital: Successfully obtained dismissal for venture capital firm after filing anti-SLAPP motion against claims asserted by short seller who claimed he had been defamed by assertions of fraudulent activity.
Entrust Technologies v. Verisign: Defeated TRO and motion for preliminary injunction that attempted to enjoin Verisign’s $900 million acquisition of Thawte Consulting, resulting in dismissal of the action and completion of the merger.