Consumer & Class Actions,
Contract & Commercial,
Ajay Krishnan is an experienced litigator who focuses on complex commercial disputes and intellectual property litigation. He has tried nine cases to verdict, including four as first chair. His technology clients include Comcast, Google, Arista Networks, and Western Digital.
In 2017, Mr. Krishnan received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award in Intellectual Property for his work on the groundbreaking copyright and patent case, Cisco v. Arista trial. In 2018, Law 360 named him a Rising Star in Intellectual Property—a recognition of attorneys under the age of 40; only six attorneys nationwide received this distinction.
Mr. Krishnan also has a thriving pro bono practice, and has litigated numerous civil rights cases in state and federal court.
We defended Arista Networks in this groundbreaking case which raised the important question of whether and to what extent functional computer commands merit copyright protection. Cisco accused Arista, run by a former Cisco vice president, of copyright infringement for the use of more than 500 commands used to configure network switches. Cisco also accused Arista of infringing two patents, one of which it dismissed before trial. After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in our client’s favor on both the copyright and patent claims.
We defended SanDisk from numerous patent assertions by Round Rock, including a total of 15 patents asserted in two separate litigations in the District of Delaware, and 12 patents asserted in another case in the Northern District of California. We prevailed in all adjudicated phases of the Delaware and California actions before the parties reached a broad settlement. In the California action, we secured final judgment in favor of SanDisk after obtaining a summary-judgment victory based on patent exhaustion. In the first Delaware phase, which culminated with a jury trial on two asserted patents, we obtained a defense verdict invalidating most asserted claims of both patents, and finding no infringement as to the other claims. In the next Delaware phase, a second jury trial was vacated after we obtained summary judgment invalidating claims from a third patent asserted by Round Rock. The other patents in the Delaware actions remained pending adjudication when the parties settled.
We represented Moonton, a Chinese video game developer, in a lawsuit filed by Riot Games asserting claims of copyright and trademark infringement relating to Riot’s League of Legends video game. We filed a motion to dismiss based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, arguing that Riot should be required to pursue its claims in China because its lawsuit was intertwined with and inconsistent with a pending Chinese lawsuit filed by Riot’s parent company, Tencent. The Court granted the motion and dismissed the lawsuit.
We represented Comcast, one of nine Respondents in an International Trade Commission investigation initiated by Tessera and its affiliates. Tessera asserted three semiconductor patents. We filed a motion for summary determination arguing that Comcast commits no violation of Section 337 with respect to its rental of set-top boxes and wireless gateways to customers because Comcast does not import those products or sell them after importation. The Administrative Law Judge granted the motion and the Commission affirmed. We also represented Comcast at the evidentiary hearing, which took place before the Commission affirmed the grant of summary determination.
We successfully defended at trial an Am Law 50 law firm and one of its former partners against a $100 million claim. The plaintiff alleged malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty related to estate planning. After an eight-week trial in California state court, we won a complete victory.
This case stemmed from two individuals who believed the Golden Gate Bridge District’s limitations on free speech concerning individuals and small groups violated their constitutional rights. After we demonstrated that the restrictions violated the plaintiffs’ first amendment rights; and that allowing protests would not increase traffic delays, create dangerous driving conditions, or endanger public safety, the court granted our motion for summary judgment.
We represented Comcast in a multi-front patent battle initiated by the Swiss company Kudelski SA and many of its affiliates. Our defense of Comcast included a three-patent International Trade Commission investigation relating to interactive television technologies and a five-patent District Court case in the Eastern District of Texas, as well as a two-patent counter-offensive, involving content security technologies. The Kudelski entities voluntarily moved to terminate the ITC action near the end of fact discovery, and the remainder of the dispute was resolved several months later.
We represented Comcast in a patent suit relating to electronic programming guides that are used when watching cable television. As a result of a series of ex parte reexamination proceedings initiated by Comcast and two other co-defendants, the case was stayed for approximately six years and the vast majority of the asserted claims were invalidated. After the stays were lifted, we filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing that the patent was invalid because it claimed an abstract idea. The Court granted our motion and the case was dismissed.
We defended a trademark dispute concerning our client's “broad matching” advertising algorithms. The case was dismissed before trial.
We represented evYsio Medical Devices in asserting patents for its cardiac stent technology. Prior to jury selection, the case became part of a global settlement between Medtronic and Abbott. Our client, the inventor of several stents in the suit, received $42 million as part of the settlement.
We won summary judgment dismissing Sunnyvale-based Finisar Corporation’s patent infringement claim against Comcast Cable Communications, LLC. We first convinced U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup to cut potential damages from $590 million to $140 million, and later to invalidate the data transmission patent at issue. Finisar appealed, however the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling.
We represented a bank’s former CEO in a fraud and breach of fiduciary duty case against his former employer. We won two separate petitions before the California court of appeal and ultimately reached a confidential settlement.
Over the course of many years, our client wrote letters to the editor of the local newspaper on political issues such as drug legalization and gun control. The County Sheriff’s Department disciplined him for expressing his views, claiming our client’s opinions reflected poorly on the Department. We partnered with the ACLU of Northern California to protect our client’s free speech rights by securing an injunction from a federal court in Sacramento. The Department may not discipline him for writing future letters to the editor, and must remove its past discipline from our client’s personnel file.
We represented Pacific News Service for twelve years in its lawsuit challenging California's use of unnecessary paralytic agent in its lethal injection protocol as a violation of the public's First Amendment right to meaningfully witness executions. Our representation ended when Pacific News Service closed its business.
Partner Ajay Krishnan has secured numerous victories on behalf of his technology clients over his career, including a win for Arista Networks Inc. in a $335 million copyright and patent infringement suit over networking technology, landing him a spot as one of six intellectual property lawyers honored by Law360 as Rising Stars. Read more
A federal judge on Friday rejected an attempt by the state of California to dismiss much of a lawsuit that seeks to make public all portions of executions. Read more
A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit by news organizations seeking to let media and public witnesses view more of the process of executions in California, which could resume soon. Read more
The LA Times and two San Francisco-based non-profit news organizations are suing to keep executions from resuming in CA. The Times, NPR-member station KQED and the San Francisco Progressive Media Center want guaranteed full access to executions before they resume.
Keker, Van Nest & Peters and The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California filed suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation challenging its execution viewing procedure. Read more
Eleven lawyers from two Keker, Van Nest & Peters trial teams representing Google and Arista received California Lawyer of the Year awards from the Daily Journal for intellectual property trial wins. Read more
Bob Van Nest led two Keker, Van Nest & Peters trial teams on behalf of clients Google and Arista, respectively, that were recognized as top defense verdicts in California. Read more
The defense verdict KVP obtained at trial for Arista against Cisco’s copyright and patent claims earned the firm second place as the Top Defense Verdict of 2016 Read more
Trial wins for Google and Arista in high stakes patent and copyright cases led to Keker & Van Nest being named IP Group of the Year by Law360. Read more
After a two-week trial, a San Jose jury has cleared Arista Networks of allegations that it infringed copyrights and patents belonging to Cisco Systems. Read more
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Travis Hall, a Black 23-year-old San Francisco graphic designer and a recent Fordham University graduate, who was unlawfully detained, beaten and arrested by SFPD officers. Read more
Ajay Krishnan and his team have partnered with the ACLU on behalf of young black man who was beaten by San Francisco police. Read more
A Delaware federal jury found that two patents held by patent holding company Round Rock Research LLC covering flash drives and memory cards were invalid, following an eight-day trial in a patent infringement case against SanDisk Corp. Read more
The firm was chosen for Law360's annual pro bono series for notable work ranging from pressing national issues to life-altering representations of individual clients. Read more
A state appeals court says San Mateo County isn't responsible for $20 million in losses suffered by a dozen school districts in a county-run investment fund that had holdings in Lehman Bros. when it collapsed in 2008. Read more
As lead counsel for HTC, we helped our client reach a global settlement that includes the dismissal of all current lawsuits and a 10-year license agreement. Read more
A federal court issued a preliminary injunction protecting the free speech rights of a deputy sheriff in Trinity County to speak out about drug legalization and other political issues Read more
Keker & Van Nest partners with American Civil Liberties Union Foundation on pro bono case. Read more
After convincing the judge to dismiss the plaintiffs' initial complaint, Keker & Van Nest has won a second dismissal, thereby protecting San Mateo County and its former treasurer from a $20 million civil suit. Read more
Stuart Gasner, Michael Celio and Ajay Krishnan win the dismissal of a suit connected to the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. Read more
The San Francisco Chronicle featured Keker & Van Nest's victory on behalf of peace activists who wished to protest on the Golden Gate Bridge. Read more
Ajay Krishnan, Daniel Nazer and Daniel Purcell’s successful motion for summary judgment has changed the rules governing free speech on the Golden Gate Bridge Read more
Mr. Gasner, Mr. Celio and Mr. Krishnan defend San Mateo county and its treasurer from claims made by twelve school districts and the county office of education over Lehman losses. Read more
A federal judge ruled in favor of Comcast Cable Communications Corp. in a patent infringement suit filed by Finisar Corp. Read more