Elizabeth Rogers Brannen is the firm’s managing partner and leads its intellectual property litigation practice. Immediately prior to joining the firm, Ms. Brannen was the Director of Intellectual Property at Barnes & Noble. She was previously Corporate Counsel in Oracle’s litigation group and has spent over a decade as a litigator in elite private practice. Benchmark Litigation recognizes Ms. Brannen as a California and national Litigation Star.
After a Federal Circuit clerkship early in her career, Ms. Brannen became an expert in every stage of patent litigation. Before going in-house several years ago, she successfully resolved, as outside litigation counsel, a wide variety of patent cases in federal courts throughout the United States. At Oracle and then Barnes & Noble, she continued helping companies defeat baseless patent and copyright allegations. Ms. Brannen has experience litigating technology relating to eCommerce, Java, Android, global business applications, middleware, server-management, and other software, as well as hardware including medical devices, blade and rack-mount servers, storage systems, tablets, and mechanical devices. She has achieved successful summary judgment rulings, including one for patent non-infringement where she argued her motion the same day as the initial case management conference.
Since joining Stris & Maher, Ms. Brannen has counseled multiple Fortune clients and closely-held companies with respect to infringement allegations prior to and during litigation, on both the defense and enforcement side, and helped secure multiple resolutions without protracted litigation. She also led the firm’s recent successful effort to defeat a copyright lawsuit involving cloud storage of digital files and defended the victory at oral argument before the Second Circuit, as well as its recent successful effort to win summary judgment dismissing Ohio right of privacy claims.
Given her record of success, adversaries remain inclined to cooperate with Ms. Brannen. She has personally negotiated complete walkaways, including one in a heavily litigated patent matter in which the plaintiff sought tens of millions of dollars in alleged damages. She has also achieved countless favorable settlements. On the enforcement side, she has obtained agreements to cease and desist from trademark infringement without litigation. She has also resolved, on favorable terms, disputes concerning alleged unauthorized use of a variety of things ranging from proprietary third-party software that was considered (but rejected) during product development, to the alleged misappropriation of photographs from a major motion picture, to microdermabrasion technology allegedly incorporated into medical equipment in violation of patent rights.
Ms. Brannen received her J.D. from Harvard Law School, with honors, and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, where, together with Peter Stris, she won the National Debating Championship.
Ms. Brannen routinely serves as lead trial or appellate counsel in a wide range of complex and high-profile disputes. The matters below are representative of her experience:
We successfully defended a network technology leader in this patent infringement case filed in 2018 by the named inventor and former CEO of a failed operating company. After we persuaded the Eastern District of Virginia to dismiss the plaintiff’s pre-suit claims for willful infringement, the plaintiff dismissed one of its two patents. At the claim construction stage, we persuaded the court that all claims of the remaining patent were invalid for indefiniteness. On appeal in 2020, the Federal Circuit affirmed. Ms. Brannen served as lead trial and appellate counsel.
Network Technology Company v. Leading Network Technology Company
We recently secured a zero-dollar walk-away in a multi-patent case filed in the Western District of Texas, one of the newest hot spots for patent litigation. Ms. Brannen served as lead counsel.
Failed Operating Company v. Leading Technology Company
In 2020, we persuaded the District of Delaware to grant our motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding all claims of a multi-factor authentication patent ineligible for patenting.
Aeritas LLC v. McDonald’s Corporation
Ms. Brannen represented McDonald’s in this case in the Eastern District of Texas.
Geographic Location Innovations LLC v. Safeway, Inc.
Ms. Brannen represented Safeway in this case in the Eastern District of Texas. (Our Motion to Dismiss)
Geographic Location Innovations LLC v. Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.
Ms. Brannen represented Dollar Tree in this case in the Eastern District of Texas. (Our Motion to Dismiss)
Rothschild v. Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Ms. Brannen represented Barnes & Noble in this case in the Eastern District of Texas.
Akamai v. Limelight
In 2016, on behalf of Dell Inc., Facebook, Inc., Red Hat, Inc., Vizio, and other amici, we filed a U.S. Supreme Court brief in this closely watched patent appeal concerning the standard for liability under 35 U.S.C. 271(a) on a method claim where multiple parties perform the required steps. (Our Amicus Brief)
Biosig Instruments v. Nautilus
In 2015, on behalf of Garmin International, Inc., Newegg Inc., SAP America, Inc., Xilinx, Inc., and other amici, we filed briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Circuit in this landmark patent case on the standard for “definiteness” under 35 U.S.C. 112. (Our Supreme Court Amicus Brief | Our Federal Circuit Amicus Brief)
Ms. Brannen personally negotiated a complete walk-away in a heavily litigated patent matter in which the plaintiff sought tens of millions of dollars in alleged damages.
Since 2014, Ms. Brannen has contributed to briefing in three separate appeals in which the Federal Circuit has affirmed judgments in favor of her clients, twice summarily.
Ms. Brannen recently contributed defense-side representation in a patent damages trial pending in the Southern District of New York.
Polycity Enterprise Limited v. Funline Industries, Inc.
In their first patent litigation collaboration (over 15 years ago), Ms. Brannen and Peter Stris sought (Our Motion | Our Reply) and obtained (Order) summary judgment of noninfringement for a privately held technology company in a hearing held concurrently with the initial case-management conference.
Copyright and Lanham Act Litigation
In 2019, we prevailed before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of our client (a small Florida company operating a website, later sold to The Motley Fool, LLC) in what has been called the year’s most important copyright decision. Overcoming policy arguments endorsed by multiple circuits and treatise authors, we persuaded the Court that copyright owners cannot sue for infringement until the Copyright Office has formally granted or refused registration. (Our Brief | Opinion | Argument Audio)
Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc.
In this landmark copyright case, SAS Institute hired us to file an amicus brief in support of Oracle, arguing that software interfaces are protectable under the Copyright Act. (Our Amicus Brief)
Cisco Systems v. Arista Networks
Ms. Brannen filed an amicus curiae brief in the Federal Circuit on behalf of leading technology companies supporting the appellant. (Our Amicus Brief) The important question at issue concerned the scope of copyright protection for software. Before the Federal Circuit decided the appeal, the parties jointly sought and received an order vacating the district court judgment.
Smith v. Barnes & Noble, Inc., et al. [Read more here]
In 2016, the Second Circuit affirmed our 2015 Southern District of New York trial court victory for Barnes & Noble in this lawsuit alleging Copyright and Lanham Act violations. See, e.g., 2nd Circ. Dodges 'Novel' Cloud Storage Copyright Questions (Law360, Oct. 6, 2016) (subscription required); Barnes & Noble Beats IP Suit Over Cloud-Stored E-Books (Law360, Nov. 2, 2015) (subscription required).
Berreau v. McDonald’s Corporation
In 2017, we obtained dismissal of this copyright case filed against our client (McDonald’s Corporation) in the Central District of California. (Our Motion | Our Reply | Dismissal Order)
Paula Berg Design Associates
Provided strategic counseling and negotiated favorable agreement relating to copyrights in ornamental furniture designs.
Negotiated favorable license terms with photographer initially demanding maximum statutory damages over use of iconic image in connection with unrelated commercial product.
Secured agreement to dismiss litigation alleging unauthorized use of images in connection with “adult-oriented products” for zero dollars.
Negotiated favorable royalty rate with studio to resolve dispute over use of photographs from major motion picture.
Negotiated favorable settlement with music companies alleging unauthorized misappropriation of song lyric.
Trade Secret and Other State Law
In 2017, the Sixth Circuit affirmed our 2016 Southern District of Ohio summary judgment defense victory for Smashwords, Inc., the nation’s largest self-publishing platform, in this suit brought by a couple depicted on the front page of a self-published e-book based on NFL player Rob Gronkowski. The case and e-book were made briefly newsworthy after being featured on NPR and TV show Jimmy Kimmel Live. (Our Sixth Circuit Brief | Sixth Circuit Opinion | Our Summary Judgment Motion | Our Reply | Order Granting Motion)
Ms. Brannen negotiated a favorable resolution to hard-fought trade secret litigation concerning allegations of misappropriation of two-factor-authentication technology.
Americana Juice v. Nestle USA
Ms. Brannen provided trial preparation support for this case in which lead trial counsel, Peter Stris, successfully defended Nestle USA, a Global Fortune 100 company, in a nine-figure trade secret trial in South Texas state court, achieving a jury verdict one-tenth the size of his client’s pre-trial settlement offer. The case was extensively covered by the McAllen Monitor which colorfully described Mr. Stris' closing argument after the jury was asked to award $100 million in compensatory damages. (“Holding a lottery ticket, Stris told jurors . . . ‘She thought she had a ticket to the Texas Mega Millions.’”).
Other Complex Litigation
For nearly a decade, the firm has represented dozens of pensioners in this case against the Xerox pension plan. To date, Xerox has been ordered to pay—and has paid—more than $22 million to plaintiffs. This epic dispute has already resulted in a published opinion by the U.S Supreme Court in 2010 (Supreme Court Opinion | Argument Audio) as well as three published opinions by the Second Circuit, including a major victory for our clients in 2013 (Second Circuit Opinion | Argument Audio). The case is currently on its fourth appeal to the Second Circuit, where Ms. Brannen presented oral argument (Argument Audio) in support of our efforts to obtain additional relief.
The Energy Conservation Group, LLC, et al. v. Applied Underwriters, Inc., et al.
A well-known regional business purchased an insurance product that failed to comply with state law and subjected the company to the very exposure it sought to insure. Litigation ensued. Because the insurer is owned by one of nation’s most successful financial companies, the company brought in Stris & Maher as lead counsel to level the playing field.
Ms. Brannen and other firm lawyers served as lead trial counsel to several American companies in a multimillion dollar franchise dispute against a major international coffeehouse chain. Ms. Brannen and were in arbitration proceedings governed by the Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association.
Since joining the firm, Ms. Brannen helped achieve a favorable low-value settlement of putative class-action litigation in which plaintiffs’ damages expert purported to project class-wide damages of at least $20 million.
Harvard, J.D. (2000)
UPenn, B.A. (1997)
U.S. Supreme Court
All Districts of California
All Districts of Florida
District of Massachusetts
Eastern District of Texas
Eastern District of New York
Southern District of New York