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Hanson Bridgett LLP

Robert A. McFarlane

Robert A. McFarlane



  • Technology
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation & Dispute Resolution

WSG Practice Industries


Hanson Bridgett LLP
California, U.S.A.


Rob is a registered patent attorney who chairs Hanson Bridgett’s Technology Practice and co-chairs its Intellectual Property Practice. His litigation practice focuses on patent infringement matters, intellectual property disputes, and technology-related commercial disputes. He also provides his clients with counseling on a wide range of intellectual property matters relating to licensing negotiations, data breaches, trademark and copyright, unfair competition, and trade secrets. He advocates on behalf of clients ranging from individuals to multi-national corporations, often in cases involving the threat of injunctive relief with potential damages of tens or hundreds of millions of dollars.

He has argued cases before the Federal Circuit and the California Courts of Appeals, and represents his clients in courts throughout the United States, including significant patent litigation jurisdictions such as the Eastern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, the Northern District of Illinois, the District of Delaware, and the Northern and Central Districts of California. He has been designated as an expert in U.S. patent law in a matter before the High Court of England and Wales, is experienced with inter partes review before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), patent infringement matters filed in the International Trade Commission (ITC), and with trademark appeals filed in the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Rob has successfully represented his clients in patent infringement matters involving a wide range of technologies including solar mounting technology, laser processing, medical imaging, semiconductor fabrication processes, semiconductor power technologies, digital signal processing, microprocessor design, software, computer hardware, FLASH and DRAM devices, business methods and financial transactions, the internet, optics and optoelectronics, circuits, textile chemistry, oil exploration, optical character recognition, agricultural and manufacturing equipment, transportation and consumer products.

In addition to patent litigation matters, Rob litigates software development and performance disputes and trade secret trademark, trade dress, unfair competition matters, and complex commercial disputes. He has litigated cases involving tortious interference and other business tort claims relating to the acquisition, assertion and use of intellectual property; multi-million dollar software performance matters that include misrepresentation, breach of contract, fraudulent inducement and negligence claims; a major antitrust matter in the magazine distribution industry; and breach of contract cases involving technology companies.

Rob is a recognized leader in the San Francisco intellectual property law community. He teaches patent law as an adjunct professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law and patent litigation and intellectual property courses at Golden Gate University School of Law. He has been a guest lecturer in intellectual property at the University of San Francisco, and served as an instructor of copyright law in an LLM program offered jointly by Santa Clara University and Korea's Seoul National University. He is an officer in the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association, currently serving as vice president.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • 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 Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas


J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law (1994)
B.A.S., with departmental honors, Industrial Engineering and Political Science, Stanford University (1990)
Areas of Practice

Intellectual Property | Litigation & Dispute Resolution | Litigation & Dispute Resolution | Technology

Professional Career

Professional Associations

  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Adjunct Professor
  • Golden Gate University School of Law, Adjunct Professor
  • San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association, Secretary (2018-2019); Treasurer (2017-2018)
  • International Business Law Consortium, Intellectual Property Co-Chair
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • San Francisco Bay Area Intellectual Property American Inn of Court
  • Federal Circuit Bar Association
  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • American Bar Association

"New and Improved Strategies to Combat Patent Trolls," co-author, Technology Law Alert (December 2015)
"â??A Bitcoin Primer on Jurisdiction," Bitcoin Foundation (August 2014)
"Supreme Court Doubles Down on Patents and Addresses Standards for Both Definiteness and Inducement On the Same Day," co-author, Technology Law Alert (June 2014)
"The House Passes Substantive Patent Reform Aimed at So-Called Patent Trolls; Action in the Senate Awaits," co-author, Technology Law Alert (January 2014)
"The Supreme Court’s Decision That Human DNA Cannot Be Patented Preserves Significant Protections for Genetic Research," The Marin Lawyer (September 2013)
"E-Discovery: Computer-assisted coding is a powerful tool to control complex case e-discovery costs," co-author, InsideCounsel (May 2012) 
"E-discovery: Popular patent venue in Texas adopts model order to rein in e-discovery costs," co-author, InsideCounsel (April 2012) 
"Supreme Court: New Ruling On Patentable Subject Matter," co-author, Hanson Bridgett IP Alert (March 2012) featured in Bar Association of San Francisco’s iCounsel Newsletter (May 2012)
"Five Custodians and Five Search Terms: A step toward the responsible and targeted use of e-discovery," co-author, Hanson Bridgett Litigation Alert (November 2011), featured in the Bar Association of San Francisco’s iCounsel Newsletter (March 2012)
"E-Discovery: 5 custodians and 5 search terms," co-author, InsideCounsel (December 2011)
"Getting Out of the Eastern District of Texas," co-author, IP LAW360 (April 2011)
"Stauffer v. Brooks Brothers: False Patent Marking Cases to Proceed," CBM Intellectual Property Update Newsletter (September 2010)
"Bilski v. Kappos: Supreme Court Permits Business Method Patents That Do Not Seek Protection on 'Abstract Ideas'," CBM Intellectual Property Update Newsletter (August 2010)
"Software Patents Under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f): Should Congress Amend § 271 to Harmonize Protection Between Tangible and Intangible Inventions?," co-author, Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal (June 2010)
"Business Methods and Patentable Subject Matter Following In re Bilski: Is 'Anything Under the Sun Made by Man' Really Patentable?," co-author, Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal (February 2010)
"Eastern District of Texas Denies Transfer of Patent Infringement Case Filed Against Geographically Diverse Defendants," IP Update, Lexology (August 2009)
"Uncertainty Regarding Business Method Patents Continues Pending Supreme Court review of Bilski," IP Update, Lexology (August 2009)
"The Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in Bilski and Stands Ready to Answer the Question: 'What is Patentable?'," Association of Corporate Counsel, San Francisco Chapter (Summer 2009)
"The Ninth Circuit Lands a 'Perfect 10' Applying Copyright Law to the Internet," Golden Gate University Law Review (2008)
"Attorney-Client Privilege Strengthened in Patent Cases," Executive Counsel (May/June 2008)
"The Effect of International Comity on the Application of the Attorney-Client Privilege and Foreign Privilege Laws in U.S. Patent Litigation," Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal (2007)
"Scope of Attorney-Client and Work-Product Waivers When Relying on an Opinion of Counsel," IP Law 360 (May 2006)

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