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Harold J. McElhinny

McElhinny, Harold J.


San Francisco, (415) 268-7265
Tokyo, 81 (33214) 6833


Santa Clara University (B.A., 1970)
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (J.D., 1975)

Bar Admissions



Hon. M. Joseph Blumenfeld, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut (1975-1976)

Harold McElhinny is a trial lawyer who handles complex civil litigation on behalf of some of the world's leading companies, and was recently named one of the most influential lawyers in America.

In 2012, Mr. McElhinny served as lead trial counsel in Apple’s billion-dollar victory over Samsung Electronics in the Northern District of California and in Apple’s victory over Samsung at the U.S. International Trade Commission. In the Northern District of California case, after the judge vacated a portion of the damages and ordered a new trial, Mr. McElhinny led the Apple team in the 2013 patent damages retrial against Samsung, securing $290 million for Apple and bringing the total damages to nearly $930 million.

In previous cases, Mr. McElhinny won $59 million for Pioneer Corporation from Samsung Electronics in a trial in the Eastern District of Texas, $36.3 million for Hansen Medical Company in a trade secret trial in Santa Clara County California Superior Court, and $33 million for SRI Industries in the Northern District of California.

In 2014, Mr. McElhinny defended Target Corp. in its data breach litigation. He has previously defended ADA claims concerning access to physical stores and to websites.

Early in his career, Mr. McElhinny was part of the team that represented Fujitsu against IBM in a landmark copyright case in the 1990s. The resulting settlement helped define rules for protecting, developing, and sharing computer software.

Mr. McElhinny has served as the Managing Partner of the firm, Chair of the firm’s Litigation Department, and Co-Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group. His trial expertise has been recognized by the most distinguished legal organizations in the United States, including the American College of Trial Lawyers, which inducted him as a fellow of the College in 2007. In 2014, Mr. McElhinny was named a “Litigator of the Year” by The American Lawyer, and received a California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) award from California Lawyer. In 2013, The National Law Journal named Mr. McElhinny to its list of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.” He was named one of the top 10 patent attorneys in the United States in Chambers Global 2016.

While earning his J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Mr. McElhinny was a contributing author of the law review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Pioneer Corporation v. Samsung SDI, Ltd.
(Eastern District of Texas). Pioneer sued Samsung SDI on two Pioneer patents relating to plasma display technology. Samsung countersued with four of its patents. After all of Samsung patents were eliminated before trial, we obtained a jury verdict of $59 million for Pioneer plus a finding of willful infringement by Samsung.
In re Certain Excimer Lasers
(ITC). Represented a manufacturer of ophthalmic surgical equipment used for LASIK eye surgery in a Section 337 patent infringement matter before the International Trade Commission. The matter involved fundamental patents covering the use of excimer lasers on eye tissue. (2003)
Weisman v. Omron Healthcare, Inc.
(N.D. Illinois). Successfully defended Omron Healthcare in a patent case relating to electronic blood pressure monitors. The case was tried and won on Omron's laches defense. (1999)
Religious Technology Center v. Dennis Erlich
Pro bono representation of former member of the Church of Scientology in federal copyright infringement and trade secret litigation (1999).
Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. v. General Scanning, Inc.
(N.D. California). Secured jury award of $13.1 million in damages for Electro Scientific Industries (ESI), Portland-based manufacturer of laser systems for semiconductor industry, after it sued General Scanning, Inc. (GSI) for patent infringement (reported at 175 F.R.D. 539 (N.D. Cal. 1997)). Decision affirmed by Federal Circuit Court of Appeals (reported at 247 F.3d 1341 (2001)).
Applied Materials v. Advanced Micro Fabrication Equipment
(N.D. California) Defended Shanghai-based Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Inc. in a California trade secret action involving semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The case settled shortly before trial on confidential terms.
EchoStar Satellite Corporation, et al. v. Ace Bermuda Insurance Ltd.
(Private Arbitration in London). Represented EchoStar in a coverage arbitration brought in London under a satellite launch insurance policy arising out of the failed deployment of EchoStar IV. Successfully stayed the case pending a ruling in a related arbitration in New York. After receiving a favorable interim ruling in the related case, was able to successfully mediate an overall resolution. (2004)
EchoStar Satellite Corporation, et al. v. La Reunion Spatiale, et al.
(AAA). Represented EchoStar in a multi-insurer coverage arbitration brought in London under a satellite launch insurance policy arising out of the failed deployment of EchoStar IV. Obtained a very beneficial interim award on coverage and financial recovery.
Avantek Inc. v. Celeritek Inc.
(Santa Clara Superior Court). Represented Avantek Inc. in a suit for theft of proprietary techniques for manufacturing gallium arsenide field effect transistors. Case settled favorably shortly before opening statements at trial.
Caliper v. ACLARA Biosciences/ACLARA v. Caliper.
(N.D. California) Represented ACLARA at trial in state court trade secret litigation and in federal patent litigation. (2000-2001)