Companies in the tech, biopharma, and financial services sectors rely on Mr. Winters as a trusted trial lawyer and counselor. He selects and leads first-rate teams, works closely and smoothly with in-house counsel, and is known as a mentor who develops younger lawyers.
Following his latest trial win, representing one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies in a patent dispute about a biologic with approximately $5 billion in annual US sales, his client's market capitalization increased in one trading day by more than $12 billion—an amount that exceeds the largest patent damages award in history by more than a factor of four.
In that case, the financial press described his cross-examination of the opponent’s principal expert as “resemble[ing] trench warfare in World War I,” and that “[o]ver the course of three and a half hours, Mr. Winters eventually obtained concessions that demolished all of [the expert’s] opinions.”
For his role in that win and its commercial significance, The American Lawyer selected Mr. Winters and his co-lead counsel in the trial, David Pritikin, as its "Litigator of the Week" in all fields, beating out impressive and substantial submissions from distinguished global firms. Law.com. The press covered this win extensively. E.g., Reuters; Fiercepharma; and Pinksheet.
His work with innovative companies has resulted in other such recognitions. In 2017, the National Law Journal recognized him as an "IP Trailblazer," one of only seven California lawyers so recognized; the Daily Journal also named him as one of the best IP litigation attorneys in California. First ranked in Chambers USA in 2008, that and subsequent editions have reported client feedback that Mr. Winters "impresses clients with his ‘charismatic and persuasive style in the courtroom - he can strike the right tone in pre-litigation too,’" that he is "renowned for his sophisticated handling of patent litigation," has "exceptional knowledge of the law," and that he "is praised by clients for being ‘able to take a very complex legal or technical subject matter and make it accessible and compelling to a lay audience.’" The 2018 and 2019 editions of the London publication Who’s Who Legal recognized Mr. Winters as one of the top patent litigators in California.
The Client Comments section of US News & World Report’s Best Lawyers in America reports separate comments that clients regard him as an "in-court advocate and trial lawyer of the very highest caliber" who is "polished and compelling," with "a natural talent" for advocacy, who is "fantastic at cross-examining challenging witnesses, and ought to teach the class on that" and who is "a deep thinker on issues presented in the litigation" and is "an excellent writer." That ranking source also reported that Mr. Winters "really understands the back end of the relationship with the client and does all he can to ensure that the process of working with his team goes the way we need it to." The 2019 version of IAM Patent 1000 reports that Vern is a trial lawyer "to know if you’re looking for some serious firepower" and is "no stranger to headline-hitting cases."
Among his trial and other wins in patent and patent licensing disputes are:
- Beating, in a month-long arbitration trial, a global biopharmaceutical company’s patent infringement, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract claims directed to all of the recombinant organisms and materials used to manufacture several billion-dollar biologics;
- Defeating, in a week-long trial, an infringer’s claims, which relied on the expert testimony of the former chair of a state Bar’s ethics committee, that the chief legal officer at a leading biotech company had committed fraud in a patent-based joint venture; and
- Defeating, in the district court, all claims of three software and computer networking patents asserted by the nation’s fifth-largest patent-holder and then obtaining affirmance in the Federal Circuit.
For many years, Mr. Winters has served on the patent litigation Neutral and Early Neutral Evaluation Panels for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. He has authored amicus briefs in the Supreme Court, the Federal Circuit (en banc), and in the ITC. For eight years, he co-taught Patent Litigation at UC Berkeley's School of Law. He currently served on the Amicus Committee of the American Intellectual Property Law Association. Mr. Winters served as a law clerk to United States District Judge Robert C. Bonner of the Central District of California and as an extern law clerk to Justice Stanley Mosk of the California Supreme Court.
Mr. Winters’ wife, Kathleen, teaches at UC Berkeley's law school in the LLM program, and they are the proud parents of two children: a son, a US Marine Infantryman who was deployed overseas for seven months in 2017 and is a Combat Marksmanship Coach; and a daughter, an aspiring filmmaker at NYU Tisch.