Greg litigates righteous plaintiff cases for people and small companies suing large corporations.
Greg is a graduate of Harvard Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1986), where he was the Developments Editor for the Harvard Law Review. After graduating from Harvard, Greg served as law clerk to Ninth Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace. He then clerked for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court.
Greg practiced at Kaye Scholer where he became a partner before leaving to form his own firm in 1995. In 1998, Greg partnered with Sean Luner, forming Dovel & Luner.
Greg represents only plaintiffs, always on a contingency fee basis, and has obtained a number of large trial verdicts. He is a proud graduate of the Trial Lawyer’s College. His passion is making bad guys pay.
- Harvard Law School, (J.D., magna cum laude, 1986)
- Central Washington University, (B.A., summa cum laude, 1983)
- Partner at Kaye Scholer.
- Law Clerk for Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the United States Supreme Court.
- Law Clerk to Ninth Circuit Judge J. Clifford Wallace.
Networking giant felled. On behalf of Network-1 Technologies, a small NYSE-listed company, we sued Cisco Systems and other large manufacturers of networking switches, Wi-Fi access points, and Internet phones that used Network-1’s patented Power over Ethernet technology. After defeating the defendants’ motions for summary judgment, the case went to trial against seven defendants, led by Cisco. They selected a “dream team” of five top trial lawyers for the event. But we presented a powerful case and obtained devastating admissions when cross-examining Cisco’s employees and experts. After the fourth day of trial, the defendants capitulated and entered license agreements with Network-1. The agreements required initial payments totaling about $32 million and ongoing royalty payments that have amounted to more than $100 million so far.
Lemonade from lemons. Lockheed Martin was hired by the U.S. Postal Service to modernize the country’s regional mail distribution centers. Lockheed in turn contracted with a small but innovative automation company, Computer Aided Systems, Inc. (“CASI”) to provide a key piece of equipment for sorting mail trays. Unfortunately for all, CASI’s equipment did not work when it was installed. Disputes erupted and CASI eventually filed for bankruptcy protection. Lockheed sued CASI for damages of $32 million, CASI counterclaimed, and the dispute was litigated in the bankruptcy court. After fact discovery had been completed, CASI came to us for help. We sorted through the complex contract specifications, work orders, and deposition testimony. We found a way to take the mountain of evidence establishing CASI’s failed performance, and use it against Lockheed. The case went to trial before the bankruptcy judge. The court denied all of Lockheed’s claims and found Lockheed liable to CASI for fraud and breach of contract, awarding Dovel & Luner’s client more than $16 million, including $7 million in punitive damages.
Software copyright infringement. Westbourne International was a one-man software development company. Westbourne created insurance rating software that could easily incorporate complex insurance business rules and automatically provide accurate insurance quotes. Westbourne contended that it provided Arrowhead General Insurance Company a limited license to use the rating software for Arrowhead’s own internal use, but then Arrowhead violated the license by using the software on a Web-based platform. Westbourne came to us to enforce its rights, and we filed suit for copyright infringement.
In response, Arrowhead contended that it was actually the co-owner of the software because the software was a joint work. Arrowhead also contended that it had only briefly used the code contributed by Westbourne and then had independently written its own software in a different computer language, so that the only elements in common were generic and not protected by copyright. Dovel & Luner defeated Arrowhead’s multiple summary judgment motions, then obtained devastating admissions at trial when cross-examining Arrowhead’s vice president and its technical expert. The jury awarded Westbourne $5.8 million in damages, and the Court entered a permanent injunction barring Arrowhead from using the software.
Software distribution contracts. Market Scan, the nation’s leading provider of leasing software for automobile dealers, contracted with Morrison Marketing to be the exclusive distributor of Market Scan software in the Northeast United States. A year later, after sales were much lower than expected, Market Scan sued Morrison Marketing alleging that Morrison obtained customers by making illegal pay-offs and bribes, misrepresented key facts, and still never achieved its contractual sales quotas. Morrison came to us for help. We prepared a cross-claim for breach of contract and fraud. The case went to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court. We delivered a devastating cross examination of Market Scan’s CEO and a closing argument that crushed each of our opponent’s arguments. The jury rejected all of Market Scan’s claims and awarded Dovel & Luner’s client $3.2 million on its cross-complaint.
Google and push notification patents. In the early days of the Internet, SimpleAir introduced a system that allowed a web site to push data notifications to selected apps on remote computers even when the computers were not connected to the web site or the apps were not running. The patented system won industry awards and had a small but loyal following. A decade later, push notifications became an essential feature of smartphones. Apple and Blackberry licensed SimpleAir’s patents so that they could provide push notifications to their smartphones, but Google refused to do so for Android.
We filed a patent infringement suit on behalf of SimpleAir against Google in the Eastern District of Texas. We defeated multiple motions for summary judgment, two CBM petitions, and two IPR petitions. The case went to trial and a jury found that Google infringed all five of the asserted claims and that all claims were valid. The jury hung on damages. In the retrial on damages, the jury returned a verdict for SimpleAir of $85 million. This was the largest ever patent verdict against Google.
The divorce defense to patent infringement. Mundi Fomukong was born in Cameroon, trained as an engineer in England, and then immigrated to Southern California. In the mid-1990s, he patented systems to provide GPS and location-based services to cell phone users. He shared his inventions with Sprint, who said they were not interested, but then a few years later Sprint began to use those inventions. Mr. Fomukong came to us and we agreed to enforce his patents against Sprint.
Sprint responded with 25 lawyers, and a panoply of defenses: Sprint did not infringe, and the patents were invalid because the claims were obvious, were not enabled, were not adequately described, were indefinite, and were obtained through inequitable conduct before the Patent Office. Sprint even contended that the patents were not assigned to Mr. Fomukong in his divorce, so they remained the joint property of his ex-wife, which enabled Sprint to buy a license from her for a small fee. After we defeated multiple summary judgment motions and an action in California Family Court, the case went to trial before a jury in Los Angeles. We presented powerful expert testimony, and delivered devastating cross examinations of Sprint’s witnesses. The jury returned a verdict of infringement and validity on both asserted patents and awarded past damages of $2.8 million, representing a 3.5% royalty on growing sales. The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict. The parties settled on confidential terms.
IPR pioneer. In one of the first ever Inter Partes Review proceedings before the Patent and Trial Appeal Board, we represented Network-1 defending the Network-1’s Remote Power Patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,218,930), against claims of invalidity brought by Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Sony, and Avaya. In these early days, the PTAB found most patents to be invalid. Yet we prevailed on all grounds both before the PTAB and in appeal to the Federal Circuit.
The O.J. Simpson interview. Infomercial king Tony Hoffman filmed a no-holds barred interview with O.J. Simpson shortly after Simpson was acquitted of murder. To market the video, Hoffman prepared a five-minute teaser reel with his phone number, “1-800-OJTELLS,” continuously embedded along the bottom, and provided it to news outlets. NBC News used the footage as the basis for a highly-rated “Dateline” episode, but blurred out the phone number. We represented Hoffman and filed suit against NBC for breach of an oral contract. NBC thought they had a slam dunk winner and offered nothing to settle. The case went to trial in federal court in Los Angeles. We overcame Hoffman’s public persona as an infomercial huckster by offering the authentic Hoffman, sans toupee. And we pierced the halo of integrity surrounding NBC News with cross-examinations that impeached its producers and executives. The jury rejected all of NBC’s defenses and awarded Hoffman $2.5 million on his claim for breach of contract.
Preclusion boomerang. Yale computer science professor David Gelernter invented a visionary computer operating system that made finding documents fast and intuitive. He then partnered with others to found Mirrors World Technologies to commercialize his invention. In 2008, Mirror Worlds sued Apple for infringing Dr. Gelernter’s patents with Apple’s OS X operating system. The jury found that Apple willfully infringed and that the patents were valid. But the judge threw out the jury verdict because of insufficient evidence and entered a judgment of non-infringement. The court of appeals agreed with the judge. Things did not look good for Mirror Worlds. Then we took the case.
We sued Apple again for continuing to infringe Dr. Gelernter’s patents. Apple brought motions to bar this second infringement suit under three different preclusion doctrines. We defeated each one. We then won a motion to preclude Apple from continuing to challenge the validity of the patent. We also found a way to use the prior jury verdict and non-infringement judgment as evidence that Apple knew that it was willfully infringing. The case settled a few days before trial was to commence. An article about the outcome of the case is available here.
Dell capitulates. We represented Abstrax Inc. in a patent infringement lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas against Dell Inc. relating to manufacturing methods. We obtained a favorable Markman ruling and the denial of Dell’s motions for summary judgment. The court also made several pre-trial evidentiary and Daubert rulings that were favorable to Abstrax. The case settled on confidential terms on the evening before trial was to commence.
Dental lasers. We represented Diodem LLC in asserting its laser dentistry patents in a patent infringement suit against the three major dental laser manufacturers. We negotiated a settlement agreement with the principal defendant, resulting in cash, stock, and additional consideration to the client valued at more than $10 million. Settlements with the remaining defendants were reached on the eve of trial on confidential terms.
Siemens antitrust case. Industrial giant Siemens made money selling their ultra-high-speed digital printers and even more money from maintenance contracts for the machines. To stymie competition from independent maintenance companies, Siemens controlled the distribution of replacement parts. We served as lead counsel in a nation-wide class action lawsuit pending in Florida alleging an unlawful group boycott and anticompetitive tying arrangements. The suit was successfully settled. Terms of the settlement are confidential.
Art deal gone bad. When artist Hiro Yamagata began releasing his colorful, intricate paintings as limited-edition serigraphs, an international audience quickly snapped them up, and Yamagata became one of the world’s wealthiest artists. Hollywood icon Sy Weintraub wanted in on the action, courted Yamagata, and had him sign “an iron-clad contract” requiring Yamagata to provide certain original artworks to Weintraub. When their deal fell apart, Weintraub sued Yamagata for breach of contract. After Yamagata came to us, we investigated and prepared a counter-claim. The case went to trial in Los Angeles Superior Court. Through powerful direct testimony and cross examination, we demonstrated that the contract was a sham. The jury rejected each of Weintraub’s claims and awarded damages to Yamagata on his counterclaim for negligent misrepresentation.
- Greg grew up on an apple farm in Washington State.
- Greg made over 200 skydives, and holds Starcrest Solo No. 5299.
- Greg plays tennis poorly, even after seven years of weekly tennis lessons.
Starting Dovel & Luner
In 1995, I was a young partner at a prestigious AmLaw 100 firm in Los Angeles. The firm handled some of the most high-profile trials of that time. I was paid well, I worked on the best matters in the office, and my colleagues were intelligent, talented, and nice to be around. But it wasn’t enough. I had become completely dissatisfied with BigLaw practice, for two reasons.
The first was that the lawyers I worked with and against made little or no effort to improve their key skills, such as cross-examination, or to develop improved techniques for persuasion. I would watch big firm litigators at trial and be shocked at their poor performances. Many—including some with big reputations—were cringe-worthy. The best of them were competent. None inspired awe.
The second reason was the billable hour. Most BigLaw firms were paid based on the number of hours they billed rather than the results that they achieved. This made no sense to me. The billable hour model creates an incentive to bill more hours, not to win cases. I could see the impact of this incentive on a daily basis. Lawyers became billing units, rather than persuaders. Their daily focus was meeting the next deadline in the litigation schedule, not building a persuasive case for trial. Their analysis and reasoning in their briefs was shallow and often short-sighted in ways that were damaging to the case. Rarely did someone do the difficult mental work of digging to the bottom of an issue to find a powerful argument grounded in truth that would win the motion or win the trial.
I had tried to make changes within the firm, and I had some limited success. For example, I organized regular meetings of lawyers to work on their trial skills. But the culture of BigLaw and the billable hour was too much to overcome.
I wanted a firm dedicated at its core to providing extraordinary quality in its briefs and at trial, and that was paid only for success. I wanted a firm where the lawyers studied persuasion and engaged in regular deliberate practice to improve key skills, such as cross-examination. I wanted a firm that would field a team of lawyers that was better bottom to top than any other litigation team in the country.
I came to realize that firm did not exist; I was going to have to create it.
So, in the summer of 1995, I left BigLaw. On the Friday before I left, my clients included companies like Lockheed and Chevron and Shell. The following Monday, I had no clients. I was starting over. This was the beginning of what became Dovel & Luner.