Karen G. Johnson-McKewan

Partner

San Francisco


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Our tech company clients survive and thrive by rapid invention and evolution, often faster than the law can keep up. Litigating for these companies therefore demands as much art as science. An industry that pulses with creativity and constant pressure to change needs an attorney who is part litigator and part visionary.

Karen specializes in litigation that crosses the boundaries between traditional legal practices, and therefore requires inventive and strategic approaches. These solutions, tucked in the creases between law and industry, are why leading technology and Fortune 500 companies hire Karen to resolve their most complex litigation.

Over the past 32 years, Karen has first-chaired state and federal trials, and arbitrated more than a dozen disputes. She manages intellectual property and commercial matters for companies such as Oracle, NVIDIA, Netflix, VMWare and Levi Strauss & Co.

In addition to her legal background, Karen’s relationship management skills give her clients a significant advantage. She knows how to pull together and lead the best team, from multiple disciplines within Orrick, and often involving multiple law firms. An example is as co-lead of Orrick’s Automotive Technology & Mobility group, she brings together the best creative and strategic legal minds with companies changing the future of transportation. Able to unite what were, and will be, competing firms into a single powerful unit takes a special type of leadership, one which Karen has demonstrated time and again.

Posts by: Karen Johnson-McKewan

Disqualifying an Expert: When Is an Expert’s Prior Relationship Prejudicial to the Opposing Party?

Opinion Regarding Disqualification of Plaintiff’s Expert, Tabaian v. Intel Corp., D. Or. (September 22, 2018) (Judge Marco A. Hernandez) 

Expert witnesses play a critical role in patent litigation, particularly where the subject matter is highly technical.  The more specialized the technology, the more common it is for an expert witness to have had some prior relationship with the opposing party.  To determine whether such an expert should be disqualified, courts analyze the relationship under a three-part test: (1) whether the relationship between the expert and the opposing party was confidential; (2) whether the confidential information that the expert obtained under that relationship is relevant to the present lawsuit; and (3) how granting or denying a disqualification motion may prejudice the parties or affect the integrity of the legal process.  A recent opinion from the District of Oregon sheds light on this test. READ MORE

The Music Modernization Act: Congress Poised to Pass Legislation Updating Music Copyright Royalties for the Digital Age

On April 25, 2018, the House of Representatives unanimously passed H. R. 5447, otherwise known as the “Music Modernization Act” (MMA). The bill, which now awaits Senate action, amends the Copyright Act in multiple ways, most notably by changing the way online music services pay royalties. In its current form, the MMA comprises three parts. READ MORE

Texas Supreme Court First to Extend Attorney-Client Privilege to Patent Agents

In re Andrew Silver, Tex. (February 23, 2018) (Justice John Phillip Devine)

Last week, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a client’s communications with his registered patent agent are protected under the attorney-client privilege as defined by the state’s evidence rules. READ MORE

Missouri Senator Introduces Bill to Abrogate Native American Sovereignty for Inter Partes Review Petitions

S.1948 – A bill to abrogate the sovereign immunity of Indian tribes as a defense in inter partes review of patents. Allergan, Inc. and The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Akorn, Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-1455-WCB (E.D. Tex. Oct. 16, 2017). READ MORE