Steven J. Nataupsky is the Managing Partner of Knobbe Martens. With approximately 300 lawyers and scientists, Knobbe Martens is one of the largest firms focusing on intellectual property in the country.
Steven's practice involves all aspects of intellectual property, including protecting inventions, trademarks, domain names, copyrights, and trade secrets, enforcing those rights against infringers, and defending clients against allegations of infringement. He has obtained numerous patents, trademarks and copyrights in various fields and tried several cases resulting in 8-digit jury verdicts in favor of his clients. Representative clients include Carl’s Jr. / Hardee’s and Monster Energy.
Steven serves as an adjunct professor of Intellectual Property Law at the University of California-Irvine School of Law and has served as an adjunct professor at Whittier Law School and the University of San Diego School of Law. He also teaches intellectual property courses at the University of California-Irvine Extension Program and Santa Ana College. Steven is the co-author of Protecting Your Athlete's Intellectual Property Rights in the leading treatise for sports law practitioners: Law of Professional and Amateur Sports, 2010 Thomson Reuters/West Publications.
Steven has received multiple awards and has been honored for his legal accomplishments:
- Repeatedly selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers magazine from 2013 to 2020 for his work in intellectual property law. In 2017, Mr. Nataupsky was featured as one of the "Top 50 Attorneys in Orange County".
- Named to the 2016 - 2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® for his work in Intellectual Property Litigation
- Recognized in The Legal 500 "United States" 2019 and 2015 as being an outstanding practitioner and for his work in patent prosecution
- Named to the Orange County Business Journal's 2016 and 2018 OC500 list as one of "the most influential business people and opinion shapers in Orange County"
- Recognized by American Lawyer Media as a Top Rated Lawyer in Intellectual Property Law for 2013
- Named as one of Southern California’s “Rising Stars” in intellectual property law in a survey of his peers, published in Los Angeles magazine and Super Lawyers magazine
Steven served as trial counsel for mophie, Inc. and obtained a jury verdict and a final judgment including a permanent injunction and damages of $4.5 million against Serve Global d/b/a SourceVista.com and Dharmesh Shah. At trial, mophie asserted copyright, trade dress and trademark infringement arising from the sale of counterfeit battery cases. The jury awarded damages for copyright infringement of mophie's packaging and user manual and infringement of mophie's juice pack plus® trademark. The jury also found mophie's juice pack® and juice pack pro® trademarks as well as trade dress in its packaging were infringed, while additionally finding for mophie on its claim of unfair competition. Moreover, the jury found that the defendants’ trademark infringement was willful.
Steven is part of the Knobbe Martens team coordinating and enforcing all aspects of strategy related to trademarks and trade dress for Monster Energy Company and has repeatedly represented the company in litigation and related proceedings domestically and internationally. With profits exceeding one billion dollars, Monster Energy Company is a top global energy drink brand. The firm has succeeded in defending the M Claw icon against infringing use on merchandise, it has attained favorable settlements against rival brands, and it has compelled the makers of rival energy drinks to change their labelling.
Steven is part of the Knobbe Martens team handling trademark prosecution and overall IP strategy for CKE Restaurants, Inc., best known for its Carl’s Jr. restaurants, since the company’s first location opened. CKE Restaurants also operates the well-known Hardee’s and Green Burrito restaurants and has become a leading international restaurant company over the course of time that Knobbe Martens represented the company. CKE Restaurants was recently created after a reorganization of the company and Knobbe Martens played a central role in strategically reorganizing the company’s IP portfolio in the process.
Steven represented the owner of the MONSTER ENERGY trademark in trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising litigation against a defendant protein beverage manufacturer using the MONSTER MILK mark. The team obtained a preliminary injunction in plaintiff’s favor, and the case settled favorably on eve of trial.
Steven and the Knobbe Martens team obtained judgment against the defendant for trademark infringement and unfair competition for operating a discount retail store using a confusingly similar trademark. After obtaining the judgment, we initiated contempt proceedings for defendant’s failure to comply with the injunction, which resulted in a favorable settlement including payment of monetary damages.
Steven and a team of Knobbe Martens attorneys received a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for client Industrial Dynamics Co. Ltd. and overturned a jury verdict that Industrial Dynamics infringed a patent owned by Heuft Systemtechnik GmbH. The case involved equipment used in bottling plants to inspect bottles for defects. The Federal Circuit agreed that the District Court had incorrectly construed the claims of Heuft's patent and found that Industrial Dynamics did not infringe the claims under the correct claim constructions. In the prior proceedings before the District Court, Knobbe Martens was also successful in defending Industrial Dynamics against Heuft's claims for damages and a permanent injunction. Because the Federal Circuit held that Industrial Dynamics did not infringe Heuft's patent, the Court stated that it did not need to decide Heuft's appeal of the denial of any damages or injunctive relief.
Strategic Implications of the America Invents Act - Post-Grant Proceedings and Challenges, UBIC and Knobbe Martens Hosted Seminar, Tokyo, Japan (April 2012).
Steven J. Nataupsky and Gregory B. Phillips, Chapter 28, “Protecting Your Athlete’s Intellectual Property Rights” in Law of Professional and Amateur Sports (Gary A. Uberstine ed. 2007).