Joseph C. Gratz

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B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, English, Theatre, 2002

J.D., University of Minnesota Law School, 2005 

Joe Gratz is a litigator who is as comfortable on his feet in court as he is hashing over source code with a group of engineers.  Selected as an advisor for the American Law Institute’s project to develop a Restatement of Copyright, Joe is a respected commentator on copyright and Internet law. 

A true “digital native,” Joe has been on the Internet for more than thirty years.  His deep understanding of technical issues and his background as a technical writer (and as an exhibit designer for a science museum) allow him to explain complex technical concepts simply and accurately to judges, juries, and clients.  Joe was named one of the nine Top Intellectual Property Lawyers Under 40 by Law360 in 2015, appeared on the Benchmark Litigation Under 40 Hot List in 2018, and was named a Global IP Star by Managing IP Magazine in 2018.  He was named a Northern California IP Litigation SuperLawyer every year since 2013 by SuperLawyers Magazine, after being named a Rising Star in IP Litigation in 2010, 2011, and 2012. 

Before becoming a partner, Joe was Durie Tangri’s first associate.  He was previously an associate at Keker & Van Nest LLP, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable John T. Noonan, Jr. of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2005-06.  Joe graduated Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in English and Theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002.  In 2005, he received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School, where he was Articles Editor of the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science, and Technology (and director of the law school musical).

Joe has litigated a number of important Internet copyright and trademark disputes.  He represented Google in the Google Book Search copyright cases and in the Rescuecom v. Google and Vulcan Golf v. Google trademark cases.  In a pro bono case, Joe argued and won in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Troy Augusto, an eBay seller of promotional CDs who had been sued for copyright infringement by the world’s largest record company.  He authored copyright amicus briefs on behalf of Google in Flava Works v. Gunter (7th Cir.) and Cariou v. Prince (2nd Cir.) and co-authored an amicus brief with Mark Lemley which was quoted by the Supreme Court in Wiley v. Kirtsaeng, representing the interests of independent bookstores in a first-sale case. He previously represented artist Shepard Fairey in fair use litigation against the Associated Press over the Obama Hope poster, and represented the Boing Boing blog in copyright litigation brought by Playboy Magazine.  Joe currently represents a start-up, UpCodes, in litigation arising out of the public posting of state and local building codes in which a private party claims copyright.

Joe has defended technology companies against claims of patent infringement relating to, for example, computer security, mobile-device interfaces, Internet telephony, and WiFi antenna design.

Joe led his team to victory in the Electronic Frontier Foundation Cyberlaw Pub Quiz in 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015, and 2017.