For more than 35 years Mitchell Zimmerman has practiced law at the intersection of technology and intellectual property. His work now focuses on counseling and risk management involving copyrights and other IP in computer software, Internet-based works and traditional forms of authorship.
In 2009, Mitchell received California Lawyer magazine's Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award. He has been selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2004, and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America from 2007-present. He is AV Peer Review Rated as "Preeminent" by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell.
Mitchell has served as counsel in numerous copyright, trademark and patent cases, including: Research in Motion v. Good Technology (copyright in user interface of handheld communicators); Paramount v. ReplayTV (copyright fair use in digital video recorders); Lotus v. Borland (Lotus 1-2-3 user interface copyrights); Brown Bag Software v. Symantec (copyrights and trade dress in user interfaces); Candle Corp. v. Boole & Babbage (early computer software patent).
Mitchell has taught Copyright Law at Santa Clara University Law School and is a frequent speaker at symposiums and conferences on copyright, trademark and Internet issues, including:
- “OPEN DATA: Addressing Privacy, Security, and Civil Rights Challenges,” BCLT/BTLJ Symposium, April 2015
- “The Next Great Copyright Act,” Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, April 2014
- “Reform(aliz)ing Copyright for the Internet Age,” Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, April 2013
- “Understanding Basic Copyright Law 2007,” Practising Law Institute, September 2007
- “Video Hosting & Display Websites: The IP Issues,” San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association, April 2007
- “Brave New Space-Shifted World,” Copyright Society of New York, February 2007
Mitchell is a prolific writer on intellectual property, technology protection, and alternative dispute resolution including:
- “All the World’s a Stage, and Some Players Are De Minimis Under Copyright Law,” Intellectual Property Bulletin, Lexology, Summer 2018
- “Your DMCA Safe Harbor Questions Answered,” Fenwick & West, March 7, 2017
- “Just Enough Copyright for Tech Entrepreneurs and Businesspeople,” Fenwick & West, May 30, 2017 (video)
- “Setting Up a DMCA Safe Harbor – It’s Not Enough to Crib a ‘Take-Down’ Policy From Another Website!,” Fenwick & West, June 27, 2017 (video)
- “DMCA Safe Harbors De-Coded,” March 7, 2017
- "Second Circuit Illuminates Google Books Fair Use Issues," The Intellectual Property Strategist, January 2016
- “Fox v. Dish Summary Judgment Decision,” Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, April 2015
- "The Basics of Copyright Law," (March 2015)
- “Aereo: The Uncertain Limits of What the Supreme Court Decided,” Internet Law & Strategy, August 2014
- “Google Wins Summary Judgment in Books Case,” The Computer & Internet Lawyer, February 2014
- “Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Supremes Hold First Sale Doctrine Applies to Foreign-Made Works And Trim § 602(a)(1) Importation Bar – Boon to Gray Marketers,” Fenwick & West, March 21, 2013
- “DMCA Safe Harbors De-Coded: 17 U.S.C. § 512 Re-Organized in More Logical Order,” Fenwick & West, 2012
- "MP3.com Redux? Music Venture’s Model Survives Copyright Challenge, as S.D.N.Y. Provides Guidance for Cloud-Based Services," The Computer & Internet Lawyer, December 2011 (lead article)
- "No First Sale Doctrine For Works of Authorship Made Abroad," Computer Law Review International, October 15, 2011
- "Is the Copyright-Troll Business Model Undone?," Intellectual Property Today, October 1, 2011
- "Second Circuit Negates First Sale Right for Foreign-Made Works of Authorship," Copyright Alert, August 18, 2011
- "Righthaven Suffers Three Strikes in a Week," Intellectual Property Bulletin, Summer 2011
- "Court Rejects Google Books Settlement – Quick Guide to the Decision," Cyberspace Lawyer, May 2011
- "Viacom v. YouTube/Google: Judge Swats Billion-Dollar Copyright Lawsuit," Cyberspace Lawyer, August 2010
- "Vernor v. Autodesk" (software purchaser is a licensee, not owner of copy), e-Commerce Law Report, 2010 (co-author)
- "Does Selling and Playing Ringtones Violate Composers’ Public Performance Rights?," The Computer Lawyer, January 2010
In 2009, Mitchell was recognized as a California Lawyer magazine Attorney of the Year for his pro bono work on a death penalty case. Mitchell has engaged in a wide range of pro bono legal activities throughout his career, including serving as a Trustee of the Computer History Museum for nine years.
Mitchell’s pro bono work currently focuses on representation of undocumented young immigrants who are long-term residents of the U.S., and on amicus curiae briefs relating to immigration issues.