Laurence F. Pulgram

Chair, Commercial Litigation at Fenwick & West LLP

Laurence F. Pulgram

Laurence F. Pulgram

Chair, Commercial Litigation at Fenwick & West LLP


As trial, litigation and appellate counsel, clients trust Laurence Pulgram to solve their most difficult business disputes. This includes successful trials to verdict in commercial, IP and employment suits and arbitrations; winning arguments in the appellate courts; and creating practical solutions to resolve disputes before litigation gets rolling. Laurence focuses his advocacy on technology companies while also maintaining a robust practice representing traditional consumer and media businesses. He co-chairs the firm’s Copyright Litigation Practice Group and chairs the Commercial Litigation Practice Group, two Fenwick teams nationally ranked in the top tier.

In the IP space, he litigates for both copyright owners and for the creators of new technologies that use copyrighted content, and is entrusted with a wide array of trademark, trade secret, patent, right of publicity, invasion of privacy and defamation matters. In business litigation, focuses include class actions for false advertising, unfair competition and product defects (including obtaining dismissal and affirmance this year in the Ninth Circuit, for a major Silicon Valley client.) And he frequently litigates privacy and data security issues, as well as contract, commercial transactions, investments and business tort disputes.


Laurence’s practice is national in scope, consistent with his selection to Chair the 50,000 member Section of Litigation for the American Bar Association in 2016-17. He won the national Copyright Case of the Year in 2012 (as chosen by Managing Intellectual Property). Legal 500 recently recommended him as a "strong litigator with very sound business sensibilities and obvious commitment to the best interests of clients." He was named “Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year” in San Francisco in 2016 by Best Lawyers/U.S. News, as well as being ranked in Commercial and Patent Litigation. He is selected as an “IP Star,” as a “Superlawyer of Northern California,” and has been repeatedly as one of the “Top Intellectual Property Attorneys” in California by The Daily Journal.

Professional Activities

For twenty years, Laurence served as leader of the ABA’s Section of Litigation. Prior positions include service on the Executive Committee as Chair Elect, Vice Chair, 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.

Most recently, Laurence became 9th Circuit member of the ABA’s Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, which performs nonpartisan evaluation of nominees to the federal bench. He is also Vice Chair and a member of the Executive Committee of Legal Aid at Work 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, Laurence 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.

Pro Bono Work

Laurence 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, including in an amicus brief cited by the majority decision of the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster.

Laurence 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.

Prior Positions

Laurence served as judicial clerk for Hon. Sam C. Pointer, Jr., in his roles as 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 (now Arnold & Porter) in 1984, was elected a partner in 1989, and practiced in its San Francisco office through 1999.

Representative Engagements


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. v. 6Waves: Won stipulated permanent injunction and payment covering attorneys’ fees and part of infringer’s profits on behalf of client in its lawsuit against competitor 6Waves alleging infringement of copyrights in video games.

Sugar Hill Music v. CBS Interactive: Successfully defended CBSI against claims for inducement of copyright infringement by distribution of peer-to-peer software (Limewire and Bittorent) that can be used for copying of music files. Defeated request for preliminary injunction and, after victory in numerous pre-trial orders, obtained dismissals of all 52 plaintiffs for no payment.

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.

Trademark, Trade Secret, Right of Publicity and Other Intellectual Property v. Abhyanker: Won summary judgment for, 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 for patent infringement.

Groupion v. Groupon: Laurence and his team 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

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Chair, Antitrust & Unfair Competition at Fenwick & West LLP

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Co-Chair, Mergers & Acquisitions at Fenwick & West LLP

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Executive Vice Chair at Legal Aid Society of San Francisco

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Vice Chair at Legal Aid Society of San Francisco

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Partner at Fenwick & West LLP

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Laurence F. Pulgram
Chair, Commercial Litigation at Fenwick & West LLP
JD, magna cum laude
Class of 1983

Harvard Law School offers an energetic and creative learning environment, a diverse and dedicated faculty—whose expertise spans a broad array of legal subjects—and a student body that comes from every state in the U.S. and more than 70 countries around the world. Approximately 1,900 students attend HLS each year: 1,680 J.D. students, 160 LL.M. students, and 50 S.J.D. candidates. The faculty includes more than 100 full-time professors and more than 150 visiting professors, lecturers on law, and instructors. The curriculum features more than 260 courses and seminars that cover a broad range of traditional and emerging legal fields. A Harvard Law education prepares students for success in law practice, business, public service, teaching, and more. Most HLS students are pursuing a J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree, while many others are earning an LL.M. (Master of Laws) or the S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science). Harvard Law School also offers many joint degree programs, coordinated programs, and concurrent degree opportunities with other schools within Harvard University. The Law School community is also home to numerous research programs and engaging publications, including books, scholarly periodicals, newsletters, and a weekly student newspaper.

AB in History, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Class of 1979

Duke University is an academic university that offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs. It also has publications and research services. The university was founded in 1838 and is headquartered in Durham, NC.


American Bar Association provides legal services. It provides law school accreditation, continuing legal education, legal information and other services to assist legal professionals. The firm has members which include judges, court administrators, law professors, and non-practicing attorneys. The company was founded on August 21, 1878 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL.




The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) was established in 1872 as a nonprofit legal membership organization that provides San Francisco legal professionals with networking, educational and pro bono opportunities in order to better serve the community. BASF is located in the financial district at 301 Battery Street, between Sacramento and Clay Streets, on the third floor of the Bently Reserve building.Included in the National Register of Historic Places, the Bently Reserve, formerly the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, was built in 1924.

Career History
1984 - 1999

Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin provides legal services. It offers services in the areas of anti-counterfeiting, antitrust, appellate practice, bankruptcy, commercial financing, commercial litigation, consumer law, corporate finance and securities. The company was founded in 1954 and is headquartered in San Francisco, CA.

Chair, Commercial Litigation

Fenwick & West LLP is a national law firm that provides comprehensive legal services to technology and life sciences clients of national and international prominence. The company's practice areas include antitrust and unfair competition, appellate, complex business litigation, copyright, corporate and securities, employment & labor, executive compensation & benefits, intellectual property and IP litigation. It offers legal advisory services in areas such as mergers and acquisitions, patent prosecution, privacy and information security. Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 and is headquartered in Mountain View, CA.

Boards & Committees
Member, Board of Visitors
2013 - Current

The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University educates tomorrow's leaders and improves the quality of public policymaking through teaching, research, professional training, and policy and community engagement.

Vice Chair, Board of Directors

The Legal Aid Society–Employment Law Center is a nonprofit, legal services organization assisting California’s low-income working families for more than 90 years. The LAS–ELC helps people protect their workplace rights regardless of their ability to pay. Its work is supported by charitable contributions, foundation grants, the Legal Services Trust Fund, and court awarded attorneys’ fees. They are not recipients of Legal Services Corporation funds. Volunteers provide essential support that enables LAS–ELC to take cases that would otherwise be unable to accept.

Political Donations

Partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP


Partner at Snell & Wilmer LLP


Former President of United States

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Broadcom, Inc. purchases Symantec Corp. /Enterprise Security Assets from Symantec Corporation

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Cisco Systems, Inc. purchases Leaba Semiconductor Ltd. from Pitango Venture Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners

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Cisco Systems, Inc. purchases NDS Group Holdings Ltd. from Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., Permira Advisers LLP

Awards & Honors
Best Lawyers - Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation
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