Kathi Vidal is one of the leading IP litigators and Federal Circuit strategists in the country. She represents both plaintiffs and defendants in U.S. district courts, the International Trade Commission, and at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Kathi advises clients—ranging from Fortune 100 companies to start-ups—on their portfolios, patent prosecution, inter partes review, trade secrets, trademarks, and other intellectual property matters. Kathi regularly wins for her clients, including obtaining a preliminary injunction, permanent injunctions, exclusion orders, a contempt finding, attorney fee awards, patent invalidations, and treble damages. She argued the seminal SAP v. InvestPic case on 35 U.S.C. § 101 (patent eligibility) at the Federal Circuit, and made precedent by obtaining a district court decision allowing her to reopen a case to pierce the corporate veil to seek attorney fees from the lawyers and principals under 35 U.S.C. § 285.
Building on her Federal Circuit clerkship and her long-term involvement with the Federal Circuit Bar Association, for which she now serves as a Fellow, Kathi has led or been called in as a strategist on dozens of Federal Circuit appeals, has argued numerous Federal Circuit appeals, and has teamed with former Federal Circuit judges and other national Federal Circuit specialists to adjudicate mock appeals. Kathi has also led amicus efforts on important cases before the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court of the United States. Kathi also advises on IP policies for standard-setting organizations, patent prosecution/portfolio development strategy, and on strategies for worldwide patent disputes, including advising on national security, policy, and related issues. She is one of only two law firm instructors teaching patent law to new Article III judges through the Federal Judicial Center and is chair of the Sedona Conference Working Group on rethinking the way lower-value patent cases are managed and tried (working alongside Judges Beth Freeman (NDCA), Alan Albright (WDTX), and Chris Burke (DDel)).
Starting college at age 16 as a mathematical physics major, Kathi began her career as an electrical engineer. She worked for five years as a systems and software design engineer with General Electric (which later became Martin Marietta, then Lockheed Martin), where she graduated from the prestigious Edison Engineering Program and designed one of the first leading-edge expert systems (neural networks, fuzzy logic, expert systems) for fault diagnostics in aircraft. Through the rotational management program, she designed aircraft and engine-control systems that are currently employed on military aircraft including the C-17 and Apache. She also worked on the F-16, F-18, and Osprey. Kathi also led design teams in numerous departments (software design, systems design, hardware design, research & development, manufacturing), which gave her broad exposure to industry and technologies. Kathi won a number of awards for design and leadership while in the industry. Kathi was a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and won its North East Regional Design Contest when she was an undergraduate.
Kathi is conversant with source code, schematics, and technical materials, and explains complex concepts clearly to courts and juries. Her technical background includes a solid grounding in mathematical physics and programming, combined with a bachelor’s and master’s in electrical engineering. Kathi’s master’s thesis in the early 90’s was in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Kathi is a thought leader who speaks regularly on numerous topics. Outside of the law, she is a member of Fortune Most Powerful Women; sits on numerous boards, including SuperPhone (a smart-texting start-up), ChIPs (women in policy, law, and technology), and Cinequest (the Silicon Valley Film Festival); regularly works to advance diversity and equality; and is a perennial athlete (from playing NCAA volleyball to running more than a dozen marathons, winning for the U.S. in the first U.S. vs. Mexico polo tournament; and winning the Northwest Region of the U.S.’s crew regatta as a first-year rower, as well as windsurfing, surfing, and golf). She mentors women from underdeveloped countries through the State Department’s mentorship program and has been recognized for such efforts in Fortune (which also published a number of Kathi’s photographs related and unrelated to her mentorship).