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The Tenth Annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards

Publication Date: 
March 10, 2006
California Lawyer

"California Lawyer" recognized Professor and former Dean Kathleen M. Sullivan and Professor Mark Lemley with a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year award.

Co-arguing with Clint Bolick of the Institute for Justice, Sullivan won a 5-4 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court that strikes down state laws barring consumers from receiving direct shipments of wine from out-of-state wineries if in-state wineries can make such shipments. It was a huge win for the wine industry, and also a big win for the economy of California, where wine and related industries have an annual impact of $45.4 billion. The decision, Granholm v. Heald (125 S. Ct. 1885), combining two cases from Michigan and one from New York, pitted two seemingly irreconcilable parts of the Constitution against each other: the Commerce Clause, which bars states from erecting trade barriers, even in areas of commerce where Congress has not legislated; and the 21st Amendment, which gives states broad powers in regulating the importation of alcohol. Bolick made the libertarian case to the justices. But in the oral argument, it was left to Sullivan to handle the most challenging questions. On the heels of the decision, a handful of states-including New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan-are moving toward allowing California wineries to sell directly to their residents. As big a year as 2005 was for Sullivan, though, the former Stanford Law School dean suffered a disappointment last year: She did not pass the California Bar exam after being hired by Quinn Emmanuel.


Lemley's pursuits in litigation, policy, and education in 2005 helped shape debate on the most pressing issues in intellectual property. He served as lead counsel on an amicus brief filed by various tech companies in the Federal Circuit case that changed the law of claims construction. (Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F. 3d 1303.) The court held in that case that patent claims should be construed based not on dictionary definitions but on the text of the patent-the position advocated by Lemley for his client, Intel, and other amici curae. In addition, Lemley testified before congressional panels on patent reform and pending legislation, and before the Senate on antitrust law reform. Finally, he established the IP Litigation Clearinghouse on the Stanford University campus. Its purpose is to create a comprehensive, searchable database on every IP lawsuit in the country, to help inform policy decisions, support consistent monetary values for patent cases, and provide data for standardizing royalty fees.