Venkat’s practice focuses on commercial and intellectual property disputes. He also counsels clients on privacy, social media, marketing and other issues in the Internet space.

He clerked for the Honorable John C. Coughenour (W.D. Wash.), then spent a year at Perkins Coie. He later left Perkins to start an Internet company (UrbanEarth). Following UrbanEarth, Venkat worked as in-house counsel for WildTangent, Inc., a Redmond multimedia platform company. He also spent four years focusing on Internet-litigation matters at Newman & Newman before establishing his own firm.

During his career, Venkat has handled a wide range of litigation matters, including several precedent-setting cases. (You can access a list here.)

Education:

  • Law Clerk to the Honorable John C. Coughenour, United States District Judge (W.D. Wash.)
  • University of Denver, College of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif (Law Review General Editor)
  • University of California at Los Angeles, B.A.

Representative Cases:

Online Content/Section 230.

  • Nasser v. WhitePages, Inc.5:12-cv-00097 (W.D. Va.; Nov. 21, 2013): represented online service provider in lawsuit alleging nuisance and negligence claims based on failure to remove listing from online directory service (claims dismissed on Section 230 grounds)
  • Obado v. Magedson13-2382 (JAP) (D.N.J.; July 31, 2014): represent online service provider in lawsuit alleging defamation based on third party content
  • Kimzey v. Yelp Inc.2014 WL1805551 (W.D. Wash. 2014): represent online service provider in lawsuit alleging defamation based on third party submitted content

Copyright.

  • craigslist, Inc. v. 3Taps Inc., et al., No. 12:03816 - CRB (N.D. Cal.): represent apartment mapping website in lawsuit brought by craigslist, alleging copyright, trademark, and other claims
  • Gardner v. CafePress Inc.13-cv-1108 -GPC-JMA (S.D. Cal.; Feb. 26, 2014): file amicus brief urging court to limit and explain scope of ruling as relating to the DMCA
  • Garcia v. Google, Inc., 2014 WL 747399 (9th Cir.; Feb. 26, 2014): file amicus brief [pdf] pointing out how copyright can be used as a workaround to take down content that would otherwise be off limits due to Section 230
  • T-Scan Corporation v. BPA Technologies, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49229 (W.D. Wash.; May 6, 2011): successful defense of claims against software developer (verdict in favor of the client on plaintiff’s claims following jury trial)
  • WhitePages.com, Inc. v. Intelius Inc.: dispute involving website-referral/linking agreement (settled)
  • Aalacho Music LLC v. Yoshitoshi Recordings: represented plaintiff in a copyright infringement dispute over the inclusion of a track on a compilation without a license

Trademark and General Business.

  • Morici v. HashFast LLC, et al.2014-cv-00087 (N.D. Cal.): represent purchase alleging that sellers of bitcoin mining equipment engaged in misleading trade practices
  • 1st Technology LLC. v. Bodog Entertainment Group S.A.2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15659 (W.D. Wash.; Feb. 6, 2009): precedent-setting dispute involving rights of a creditor to collect against domain names and trademarks (settled following extensive litigation)
  • Imageline v. Hendricks, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71125 (C.D. Cal.; Aug. 12, 2009): represented defendant in a copyright infringement dispute (settled following the grant of motion to dismiss in favor of the client)
  • Cascade Manufacturing Sales, Inc. v. Providnet, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92942 (W.D. Wash.; Mar. 12, 2008): trademark infringement dispute where defendant had an extensive internet-based business (favorable judgment following bench trial)
  • Dali-USA, Inc. v. Ilona Kucherenko & Audiophile Liquidator, (W.D. Wash.): trademark and copyright enforcement action against off-shore infringer
  • Fenn v. Mleads Enterprises2006 UT 8; 137 P.3d 706 (Utah 2006): represented defendant who successfully argued that a single email from a non-resident company cannot support personal jurisdiction in the State of Utah
  • Viker Manufacture Co. Ltd. v. Jiangnan Li: trademark opposition in front of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (opposition sustained)
  • Domain Name disputes: numerous UDRP actions involving domain names (<icanhashotdog.com>; <cheezbuger.com>; <textfromlastnight.com>; <alexalgard.com>; <failbook.com>; <yoogiscloset.org>)

Privacy.

  • Amazon v. Lay758 F. Supp. 2d 1154 (W.D. Wash.; Oct. 25, 2010): First Amendment and privacy case involving North Carolina’s attempts to seek information regarding customer purchase information . . . case resolved after the court granted the request for an injunction on behalf of Amazon and the customers
  • Dillon v. Seattle Deposition Reporters, et al., Case No. 8996104 (Wash. Supreme Ct.): filed amicus brief [pdf] on behalf of Washington Court Reporters Association arguing that taking notes is not the same as recording under Washington’s privacy statute.

First Amendment.

  • Rickert v. PDC161 Wn.2d 843, 168 P.3d 826 (2007): First Amendment case involving free speech rights of political candidates . . . the Washington State Supreme Court issued a favorable decision on behalf of the client and struck down Washington’s false political advertising statute
  • Scheier v. City of Snohomish2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90919 (W.D. Wash.; Nov. 4, 2008): First Amendment case involving photographer who was detained for photographing power lines . . . settled following denial of defendants’ motion for summary judgment
  • Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign v. King County, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116541 (W.D. Wash.; Oct. 7, 2011): First Amendment case involving King County’s rejection of bus ad based on public controversy surrounding the ad (on appeal to the Ninth Circuit) (Opening Brief [pdf]) (Reply Brief [pdf])
  • Carreon v. Inman, CV-12-3112-EMC (N.D. Cal. 2012): a bizarre dispute that started with a demand letter to The Oatmeal from FunnyJunk . . . FunnyJunk’s lawyer ended up asserting claims against The Oatmeal and unsuccessfully tried to derail the “BearLove Good Cancer Bad” fundraiser (media coverage of the dispute: TechCrunch;GawkerArs TechincaBoing Boing)

Professional Recognition:

  • Recognized as “Super Lawyer” by Washington Law & Politics magazine (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Speaking Engagements, Presentations, and Interviews:

  • Domain Names Seized Without Due Process,” IEEE Spectrum’s “Techwise Conversations” (Dec. 16, 2011)
  • Honk If You Love Free Speech,” podcast with Mike Reitz of the Supreme Court of Washington Blog (Nov. 19, 2011)
  • Wash. State Bar Association, Intellectual Property 101: “How is Ownership of IP Defined and Enforced in an Inherently Copyable Medium” [.pdf of presentation] (Sept. 23, 2011)
  • Interview with KIRO TV (Seattle) about “Cartoonist Targeted with Criminal Probe for Mocking Police” (August 3, 2011)
  • Ensuring Compliance With Your Social Media Policy” (May 24, 2011 / 11th Annual Super Conference) – sponsored by InsideCounsel [.pdf of presentation]
  • This Week in Law –  Episodes 195 “No Spam in Heaven” (Jan. 25, 2013); 111 “Tatt Wars” (May 13, 2011); 87 “Planes, Trains & Automobiles” (Nov. 18, 2010); 209 “Cat Meme Fever” (May 3, 2013); 270 “3D Nato and the Selfie of Doom” (Aug 8, 2014)
  • See No Evil: The Constitutional Rights of Photographers” (August 21, 2008 / Seattle Public Library) – sponsored by Bennett & Hastings Publishing and Not-a-Number Cards
  • Election Do’s and Don’ts” – Superior Court Judges’ Spring Training Program (April 30, 2008 / Semiahmoo Resort) – Washington Courts
  • Photographer’s Rights: Taking Pictures in Public Places” (April 23, 2008 / Photography Center Northwest) – sponsored by Washington Lawyers for the Arts
  • Copyright 101: What Artists Need to Know” (March 27, 2008 / Photography Center Northwest) – sponsored by Washington Lawyers for the Arts

Bar Admissions and Associations:

Venkat is licensed in both Washington and California.
He is a former board member of the ACLU of Washington but remains active. He is also active in the South Asian Bar Association of Washington (and was a past president).

Blogging & Social Media:

Venkat is an avid writer and blogger. He regularly blogs at Prof. Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog, and his pieces have appeared in CNET, Techdirt, Geekwire, and Ars Technica. He recently covered a trial resolving the claims asserted by an actress against IMDb, for The Hollywood Reporter’s “THR, Esq.” blog: “Actress Suing IMDb Takes the Witness Stand“; and “Actress Suing IMDb Faces Tough Questions on Second Day of Trial.”  His blog posts and comments have been cited by various media outlets and publications.

You can follow him on Twitter: @VBalasubramani.

Phone: 206-718-4250 / Contact Venkat Balasubramani