Max L. Tribble
After graduating from the University of Texas in 1985 and Harvard Law School in 1988, I joined Susman Godfrey because it offered me a unique opportunity to obtain first-chair trial experience very early in my career and to learn how to win big-ticket cases at the best commercial trial firm in the country. For over 20 years, I have represented plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of commercial lawsuits-including suits regarding patents, trade secrets, licenses, contracts, fiduciary duties, fraud, antitrust, deceptive trade practices, class actions, securities, and insurance coverage.
University of Texas, 1985
Harvard Law School, 1988
- From 2005 to 2013, I have been honored as a "Texas Super Lawyer" by Law & Politics Magazine (Thomson Reuters), based upon votes of other Texas lawyers statewide. In 2004, Law & Politics Magazine (Thomson Reuters) named me a "Rising Star."
- In 2006-09, H Texas magazine named me a "Top Lawyer in Houston," for patent and intellectual property litigation.
- In 2009 I was honored as a "Super Lawyer" for the Corporate Counsel Edition for patent and intellectual property litigation (Law & Politics Magazine, Thomson Reuters).
- I have served on a special committee appointed to propose local rule changes in the Eastern District of Texas concerning discovery in patent cases.
- Paltalk v. Microsoft. In March 2009, SG (with Max Tribble as lead attorney) commenced trial against Microsoft on behalf of plaintiff Paltalk, an Internet audio and video conferencing company. On the fourth day of trial, Microsoft agreed to settle the case, taking a license,to the patents-in-suit. The amount is confidential. Paltalk filed suit against Microsoft in late 2006, alleging that Microsoft was using Paltalk's patented technology for its video game systems, specifically Halo 2 and Halo 3 combined with Microsoft's Xbox Live communications network. Paltalk defeated Microsoft's motions for summary judgment, leading to a jury trial in Marshall, Texas, in the Eastern District of Texas. The parties settled on the fourth day of trial, after Paltalk had rested its case and the first two Microsoft witnesses had been cross-examined. Microsoft agreed to license the Paltalk patents for an undisclosed sum of money.
- Mass Engineered Design v. Ergotron & Dell, et al. In November 2008, Susman Godfrey won a jury verdict of infringement and validity in Mass Engineered v. Ergotron & Dell et al., in Marshall, Texas, in the Eastern District of Texas. SG secured a permanent injunction on behalf of Mass Engineered. Max Tribble was lead attorney for the plaintiff. The case has since settled, and the terms are confidential.
- Sky Technologies v. Oracle. In January 2008, SG settled a patent infringement lawsuit against Oracle on behalf of Boston-based Sky Technologies filed in the Eastern District of Texas. The patents at issue relate to online commerce negotiations software. Oracle agreed to license Sky's patents and technology. The settlement amount is confidential. Max Tribble was lead attorney for Sky.
- UniRAM v. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). In September 2007, Tribble (lead lawyer) and a team of Susman Godfrey lawyers obtained a $30.5 million jury verdict on behalf of his client, UniRAM Technology, Inc., in a trade secrets case tried in federal court in San Francisco before Judge Vaughn Walker, Chief Judge of the Northern District of California. The trial court later entered judgment in favor of UniRAM for approximately $36 million. UniRAM alleged that defendant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) had misappropriated UniRAM's trade secrets regarding specialized computer memory devices known as embedded DRAM. Tribble handled opening, closing, and the majority of witnesses. News of the verdict was reported widely in both the U.S. and Taiwan. Verdict Search listed the verdict as one of the top 100 plaintiff's verdicts nationally in 2007, and the Los Angeles Daily Journal pegged it as one of the top 10 plaintiff's verdicts in California in 2007. The case settled on confidential terms while on appeal.
- Sky Technologies v. IBM. In March 2006, days before trial, IBM and Boston-based Sky Technologies announced that they have settled a lawsuit that SG brought on behalf of Sky in the Eastern District of Texas alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. IBM agreed to license Sky's patents and technology for conducting online negotiation. The amount is confidential. Steve Susman and Max Tribble were lead attorneys for Sky.
- SuperSpeed Software v. Oracle. In December 2005, Susman Godfrey obtained a settlement of client SuperSpeed Software's patent infringement suit against Oracle Software in the Southern District of Texas. Oracle settled soon after the District Court issued a claim construction opinion that was highly favorable to SuperSpeed. Details of the settlement are confidential. The suit alleged that Oracle's software products infringed a number of SuperSpeed patents regarding data caching. Max Tribble was lead attorney for SuperSpeed.
- MicroUnity v. Intel. In October 2005, weeks before trial, MicroUnity, Intel, and Dell reached a settlement of a case that SG brought on behalf of MicroUnity in the Eastern District of Texas, the terms of which are confidential. Intel publicly disclosed the financial terms of the settlement in its Third Quarter 2005 10-Q. SG filed suit on MicroUnity's behalf in April 2004, alleging that Intel's Pentium III, Pentium 4, and Pentium M processors infringed MicroUnity's "mediaprocessor" patents. Steve Susman and Max Tribble were lead attorneys for MicroUnity.
- SimDesk Technologies v. First Genesis. In 2004, SG successfully represented SimDesk Technologies against First Genesis in a suit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets relating to SimDesk's proprietary server-side applications and server-client communications protocol. SG obtained a temporary restraining order and, after a bench trial, an injunction, barring First Genesis from using the software and system at issue. Max Tribble was lead attorney for SimDesk.
- Pavilion Technologies v. Computer Associates. SG represented Pavilion Technologies in a patent suit against Computer Associates in the Western District of Texas (Judge Samuel Sparks) regarding neural network and expert system technology. The case settled after claim construction.
- VariLite v. High-End Systems. SG defended High-End Systems in a patent and trade secret suit brought by VariLite in the Northern District of Texas regarding computer-controlled lighting systems. The case settled after claim construction.
- First Capital Holdings v. Shearson Lehman. SG represented First Capital Holdings in an adversary proceeding against Shearson Lehman Brothers in bankruptcy court in the Central District of California (Judge Samuel Bufford) alleging fraudulent transfer, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims.
- Trinity Industries v. Road Systems. SG defended Road Systems in a patent suit brought by Trinity Industries in the Eastern District of Texas (Judge Schell) regarding roadway safety devices. The case settled favorably after SG obtained a summary judgment of non-infringement. Max Tribble was lead attorney for Road Systems.
- Wolter v. Delgatto. From 2002 to 2004, SG defended pro bono Joe and Madeline Delgatto, the Minister of Heights Presbyterian Church, and his wife, in a lawsuit brought by attorney John Worldpeace on behalf of his mother, Joyce Wolter, alleging various claims, including claims relating to Wolter's objection to the church participating in a project to build and operate a retirement facility in a predominately-black area of Houston. In 2004, the court dismissed the lawsuit and declared Wolter to be a vexatious litigant. Attorney Worldpeace was disbarred. Max Tribble was lead attorney for Delgatto.
- Western Atlas v. Garmin/Rockwell/Motorola. SG represented Western Atlas in a world-wide licensing and litigation program involving patented GPS technology. Western Atlas received substantial settlements and royalties under this program.
- GTE Sprint Communications v. GTE Sprint Communications. SG successfully defended GTE Sprint Communications against a service mark infringement suit brought by Texaco v. Pennzoil attorney Joe Jamail. SG persuaded the court to uphold the validity of our client's "Sprint" service mark and to enter a take-nothing judgment against the plaintiff.
State Bar of Texas, 2009
For the last 15 years, I have specialized in patent lawsuits, although I have continued to handle other types of complex commercial litigation as well. I have represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a broad spectrum of intellectual property cases involving a diverse range of technologies, including:
- Microprocessors and integrated circuits,
- Internet-based software & systems, both client-side and server-side,
- Microsoft Windows operating systems,
- Videogames and computer games,
- Graphics processing,
- Streaming media,
- Global-positioning systems,
- Neural network and expert system software,
- Seismic surveying systems and methods,
- Computer-controlled lighting systems, and even
- Roadway safety equipment