Sonali D. Maitra

B.A., Stanford University, Economics and Mathematics, 2000

J.D., Columbia Law School, 2006

Sonali acts as lead trial counsel for some of the world’s leading technology companies and has developed expertise in a number of very different legal fields.  Sonali is a litigator before all, and has extensive experience with patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, class action, video game, and privacy litigation.  Some notable examples:

Sonali is lead counsel for Kiloo, defending a putative privacy class action now pending in the Northern District of California.  Sonali also advises companies such as Amazon on privacy issues and compliance.

As lead counsel for Google and Waze Inc., Sonali won dismissal with prejudice in the high-profile copyright action brought by PhantomALERT.  After winning two successive motions to dismiss, and following the close of discovery, Sonali successfully convinced PhantomALERT to voluntarily dismiss the case.

Last year, Sonali was lead trial counsel for DTS, Inc. a company which licenses audio decoding technology to a number of companies.  DTS sought unpaid royalties and damages for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and trade secret misappropriation.  The case settled favorably this year.

In 2015, Segan LLC sued Sonali’s client Zynga for patent infringement, arguing that many of Zynga’s popular games, including Farmville and Zynga Poker, infringed Segan’s patent.  After defeating all of Segan’s claims on summary judgment, Sonali secured an award of over $1 million in fees for the client.  In addition, the Court held that Segan’s attorneys themselves were responsible for $100,000 of that award, praising Sonali and her team: “And the requested fee amount of $1,188,773.93 is reasonable.  Indeed, it is on the low side for a case like this, particularly considering the high quality of the representation Zynga received.” 

Also in 2015, Sonali second chaired the trial team that saved California State University $54 million, with a full defense verdict following a three-week class action jury trial.  At trial, Sonali was responsible for a substantial portion of witnesses who testified, both on cross and direct. 

In August 2013 Sonali first chaired a federal jury trial to verdict on behalf of Elekta Inc.  The client said the following about Sonali’s performance at that trial:

Sonali is a driven, high-intellect, high-energy, highly communicative, direct, open, encouraging, upbeat, honest, articulate, courteous, inquisitive, responsive, and talented attorney.  While already fairly accomplished as a young attorney who made partner while working with our company through litigation, she never assumed she had all the answers (although often enough she did!).  She took the time to understand our business and market, to consider different approaches, to discuss strategy, and she worked extremely well with the entire litigation team (both within her firm and with our company—including several executives).  Sonali has a great sense of courtroom decorum, knowing when and how to get a point of law or fact across to the court or jury, and in addressing the court, knowing how to be humbly firm when she knew she was correct on a specific point of law or specific court rule applicable to the case.  Sonali assembled a great team around her.  While Sonali took lead, Durie Tangri supplied a litigation team that worked like a well-oiled machine.  This was the first time we worked with Durie Tangri.  I found them refreshingly approachable, professional, and a pleasure to work with in circumstances that were anything but pleasurable.

Sonali also makes pro bono work an important part of her practice.  In 2018, the California Court of Appeal ruled in People v. Douglas that where a party strikes a prospective juror for an invidious reason, the fact that the party may have also had other, legitimate reasons for the strike is no cure—adopting the rule advocated by an amicus brief Sonali and Raghav Krishnapriyan wrote and submitted on behalf of amici curiæ Equality California, Lambda Legal, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.  At trial, the prosecutor struck every openly gay man from the jury—in part, he admitted, because he didn’t believe they could be fair to a closeted gay man like the defendant. Although the Court of Appeal found that reason improper, it initially ordered the trial court to apply a “mixed-motive” analysis to determine whether the prosecutor’s other, putatively permissible reasons would nevertheless have supported the challenge. But on panel rehearing, it rejected the tests proposed by the state and the Los Angeles Public Defender—both of which would have permitted a prosecutor to justify a strike based in part on impermissible reasons—and adopted amici’s proposal, which would per se bar such strikes.  Explaining that “[t]his case is about fairness and equality in our criminal justice system,” it concluded that “it is not appropriate to use [a mixed-motive test] when considering the remedy for invidious discrimination in jury selection, which should be free of any bias.”

Sonali has been named one of the top 10 intellectual property attorneys under the age of 40 in the nation by Law360, one of the Top Women Lawyers in California by the Daily Journal, one of the Top Women in Tech Law by The Recorder, and ranked by IAM Patent 1000 as one of the top patent litigation practitioners in the country.  She has been named a Future Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, a SuperLawyers Rising Star 2012-2017, and was shortlisted for Women in Business Law’s Rising Star.  Her other notable clients have included Amazon, Gamefly, Six Waves, LOLApps, and Peak Games.  This fall, Sonali is teaching Video Game Law at Stanford Law School.

After law school, Sonali clerked for Judge Sidney Thomas on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sonali D. Maitra