Robert J. Nolan


  • Robert J. Nolan
  • Phone: +1 415 957 3118

    Robert J. Nolan - LinkedIn Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    Spear Tower
    One Market Plaza, Suite 2200
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1127

Robert J. Nolan is a trial attorney who focuses on intellectual property, unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation disputes. He represents technology companies, including those focusing on artificial intelligence, in commercial disputes and class action litigation, as well as in international disputes and arbitrations. He also represents committees of the Board of Directors and individuals in investigations brought by the Securities Exchange Commission, Department of Justice and other governmental enforcement agencies, and regularly works with companies on compliance issues.

In addition to litigation, Mr. Nolan serves as a trusted legal advisor to clients in all aspects of their business, developing a detailed working knowledge of client’s businesses. He endeavors to work with clients to avoid or favorably resolve litigation to ensure key business objectives are met. Mr. Nolan has represented technology companies in negotiating complex technology transactions, and he has assisted technology companies in the cloud computing and Fintech space to expand operations globally using a diverse team of attorneys located across the world.

Mr. Nolan has handled numerous pro bono matters on behalf of multiple clients, including civil rights, immigration, landlord-tenant, criminal defense and expungement, and recently secured a victory in a civil rights case in partnership with the ACLU.

Mr. Nolan currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of OneJustice, a non-profit legal services organization with whom he has worked for more than a decade.

Mr. Nolan is a 2004 cum laude graduate of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where he was senior notes editor of the Hastings Law Journal, and a graduate of Tufts University.

Areas of Practice

  • Mr. Nolan is a partner in the Trial Practice Group. He represents companies in intellectual property and commercial disputes in the U.S. and abroad, with extensive experience in unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation litigation. He also represents companies in investigations brought by the SEC, DOJ and other governmental enforcement agencies and advises clients on compliance and remedial measures.

Representative Matters

    Intellectual Property Litigation, Trade Secret Misappropriation and Unfair Competition

  • Representing a nationwide technology company seeking to disrupt the market through innovative technology in a federal unfair competition and trademark dispute under the Lanham Act filed by a competitor.
  • Representing a cloud computing company based in San Francisco in a significant trade secret misappropriation dispute seeking over $800 million, which ultimately resulted in a favorable settlement.

  • Representing a multinational environmental engineering company in a complex trade secret and unfair competition case in federal court, resulting in a successful multimillion-dollar settlement.

  • Representing company in a cryptocurrency dispute regarding a newly-founded decentralized wireless network.

  • Obtaining a dismissal of a business dispute involving complex claims, including French law, on behalf of a major manufacturer of high-end audio products.

  • Representing publicly-traded company in the handling of unfair competition claims pending in multiple states, including through trial.

  • Representing a Fortune 500 company in a significant trade secrets case against a competitor, resulting in a favorable settlement.

  • Obtaining a trial victory, affirmed by the Delaware Supreme Court, in a US $60 million licensing dispute for a Fortune 500 technology company in actions proceeding simultaneously in Delaware and California, including obtaining an injunction against further proceedings in California.

  • Representing a medical device company in domestic and international disputes regarding devices used in neurosurgery.

  • Representing multiple companies in trademark, trade dress, copyright and intellectual property disputes.

  • Representing a client in the shutdown of a patent infringement action before it could get off the ground, resulting in an early dismissal.

  • Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Representing Fortune 500 company in international arbitration dispute involving alleged product defect with $100 million in potential liability at issue.

  • Serving as counsel to a technology company in a securities class action in federal court alleging fraud claims.

  • Defending a Fortune 100 telecommunications company in a consumer class action alleging claims of false advertising.

  • Representing Fortune 500 companies in product defect litigation filed in federal and state court, including both individual and class actions.

  • Serving as coordination counsel to one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers in federal and state litigation across the U.S. for product defect cases.

  • Defended numerous warranty cases in nationwide coordination for commercial automobile manufacturer.

  • Shutting down a nationwide consumer class action in federal court at the pleading stage.
  • Arbitrating a contract dispute between two of the nation’s largest oil companies, resulting in a favorable settlement.

  • Obtaining a favorable judgment in California state court in a securities case involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty.

  • Representing a client in a derivative action in California, resulting in a favorable settlement.
  • Serving as first chair in a victory in an arbitration filed by a client’s former employee.

  • Obtaining a victory in a securities class action alleging claims of breach of fiduciary duty.

  • Litigating a federal class action against an energy company which was resolved in the client’s favor.

  • Obtaining a favorable settlement in a wage and hour class action in California state court.
  • White Collar Criminal Defense, Corporate Investigations and Regulatory Compliance

  • Representing the Special Committee of the Board of Directors before the Securities Exchange Commission in an investigation of a company that went public through a SPAC.

  • Representing a company in an investigation and prosecution by the Department of Justice of an individual who stole company trade secrets and took them to a competitor.

  • Representing the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of a large company in investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission and Department of Justice, as well as in subsequent class actions and derivative litigation.

  • Representing a Special Committee of the Board of Directors in an investigation concerning alleged fraud related to stock options backdating.

  • Representing the Audit Committee of a company before the Securities Exchange Commission in a fraud investigation related to a reverse merger involving a Chinese corporation.
  • Representing an executive of a Japanese company in a large scale Department of Justice antitrust investigation into alleged price fixing.

  • Providing advice to technology companies on domestic and international compliance procedures and remediation measures.


  • California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • Supreme Court of the United States


  • University of California College of the Law, San Francisco, J.D., cum laude, 2004
    - Senior Notes Editor, Hastings Law Journal
  • Tufts University, B.A., 1998


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2023-present
  • DLA Piper LLP
    - Partner, 2020-2023
  • Squire Patton Boggs LLP
    - Partner, 2016-2020
  • Carroll, Burdick & McDonough LLP
    - Partner, 2015-2016
    - Senior Associate, 2012-2015
  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
    - Senior Associate, 2005-2012
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
    - Law Clerk to the Hon. Bernard Zimmerman, 2004-2005

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association

  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers
    - Chair of Leadership Development Committee, 2008-2010

  • Bar Association of San Francisco

  • Edward J. McFetridge American Inn of Court
    - Barrister, 2014-2017
  • Tufts Lawyer’s Association
    - Board Member, 2017-2020

Civic and Charitable Activities

  • OneJustice
    - Chair of the Board of Directors, Past Finance Committee Chair and Treasurer, 2006-present

Selected Publications

  • “Key Intellectual Property Enforcement Mechanism or Toothless Tiger: The US Department of Justice and Department of State Launch IP Law Enforcement Coordinator Network,” Lexology, December 19, 2017

  • “All That the Law Will Allow: Protecting Trade Secrets and Other Company Assets in an Era of Increased Scrutiny,” The Recorder, Vol. 139, No. 30, July 2015

  • “Consenting to Magistrate Judge Jurisdiction in the Northern District of California,” ABTL Report, Northern California, Vol. 21, No. 2, Spring/Summer 2012

  • “Prejudice Presumed: The Decision to Concede Guilt to Lesser Offenses During Opening Statements,” 55 Hastings Law Journal 965, 2004