Google v. Oracle: The Supreme Court Showdown

When: March 6, 2020 at 3:00pm - 4:00pm EST - This event has passed


For nearly a decade, Oracle and Google have been embroiled in the country’s longest-running copyright war, concerning use of the Java programming language in Google’s Android platform.  Next month, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Google v. Oracle, its latest and greatest showdown. Join the Northern California Chapter of the Copyright Society for a panel presentation previewing the case, featuring two prominent San Francisco litigators on either side of the dispute: Annette Hurst on behalf of Oracle, and Bob Van Nest of Keker & Van Nest on behalf of Google. The panel will a high level discussion of the issues presented and their bearing on copyright law. Please stay afterwards for a happy hour with wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres.


Annette L. Hurst, Lead Director on Orrick’s Board of Directors and a partner in the San Francisco office, practices in the Intellectual Property Group and leads the firm’s Artificial Intelligence Practice. Annette is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried patent, copyright, trade secret, trademark and business tort claims. As an experienced IP risk analyst with deep expertise in the software industry, Annette has been a go-to counselor and speaker regarding the legal issues surrounding access and use of datasets in the development of machine learning algorithms. She was named “Litigator of the Week” by The American Lawyer for her work as co-lead counsel on the Mattel/MGA case. Chambers Global ranks her in Band 1 for Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets, with clients reporting that she is “smart, creative and terrific at oral argument” and “a very well-known authority in copyright law, a great advocate and a great trial lawyer.” Chambers reports: “Peers consider Annette Hurst a ‘remarkably intuitive’ lawyer who ‘brings unique perspectives to soft IP cases.” Since 2018, The Legal 500 has recognized Annette as a “Leading Lawyer” in copyright law, and she was named “Female Litigator of the Year West” by Benchmark Litigation in 2013. Annette has been repeatedly named one of the top 75 IP litigators in California by The Daily Journal. Annette’s community and professional activities include past service as the President of the Lafayette Elementary School PTA, past membership on the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Legal Services Program and Board of Directors of the Bar Association of San Francisco for which she was chair of the Finance and Investments Committee. She also is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco and the Board of Governors of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Northern California Chapter, as well as a past president of the Barristers Club.

Bob Van Nest is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who frequently handles high-stakes cases for clients such as Google, Qualcomm, Broadcom, and American Honda. His practice ranges widely over the field of complex business litigation and intellectual property. He has tried cases involving patent infringement, securities fraud, trademarks, commercial contracts and antitrust. In 2018, Mr. Van Nest was inducted as the 31st member of the California Lawyers Association Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. Mr. Van Nest is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. His honors include being named a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, and listed as one of California’s Top 75 Intellectual Property Lawyers and Top 100 Attorneys by The Daily Journal. Mr. Van Nest joined Keker & Brockett as an associate in 1979, becoming a partner in 1982.


Ben Depoorter (Moderator) is the Max Radin Distinguished Professor University of California, Hastings College of the Law, EMLE coordinator at CASLE Ghent University, and Affiliate Scholar at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet at Society. He is a frequent visiting professor at Berkeley Law, teaching in the LL.M.’s Professional Track. Copyright law is one of his major areas of expertise, where Depoorter has investigated a variety of questions relating to enforcement of intellectual property law in the digital era, including whether and how fees-shifting can be used to align incentives between authors in way that promote creativity, how punitive approaches to copyright law adversely impact copyright social norms, and how automated enforcement measures create false positives. Litigation theory is Depoorter’s other major area of expertise, where he has investigated the strategic pursuit of losing litigation by interest groups that seek to mobilize public and political support, examined the feedback effect of tort settlements on legal precedent, and described the shaping effect of legal uncertainty and court delay. Recent publications include “When the Remedy is the Wrong: Statutory Damages in the Digital Age”, UCLA Law Review (2019); “The Upside of Losing”, “Fair Trespass”, Columbia Law Review (2014, 2011); “Using Fee Shifting to Promote Fair Use and Fair Licensing”, California Law Review (2015); “Copyright Backlash”, Southern California Law Review (2011); “Law in the Shadow Bargaining: The Feedback Effect of Civil Settlements”, Cornell Law Review (2010); “Technology & Uncertainty: The Shaping Effect on Copyright Law”, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2010), and “Liquidated Damages and Moral Hazard: An Experiment”, JITE (2016). His interdisciplinary work on anticommons property is widely cited in American law reviews and international peer-reviewed journals and was featured in a 2010 issue of the New Yorker. Professor Depoorter completed his studies at Yale Law School (2003, 2009) on a full scholarship from the BAEF. As an Oscar Cox and Olin Fellow at Yale, Depoorter served as an editor of the Yale J. Reg. He was a Santander Research Fellow at U.C. Berkeley and a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship. Before becoming a law professor, Depoorter toured with his indierock band and released several LP records.


Members: Complimentary 
Non-Members: $10


The Copyright Society is closely monitoring developments relating to the COVID-19 coronavirus. Our top priority is the health, safety, and well-being of our attendees. We would ask attendees to adhere to a no-handshake policy at the program. If you are feeling ill, or if you or someone you live with have recently traveled abroad to any of the areas currently listed by the CDC as having elevated risk, please do not attend tomorrow’s program in person and email Kaitland Kubat at kaitland<at> for a link to the livestream.

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