Robert D. Fram

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Covington & Burling LLP
One Front Street
San Francisco, CA 94111-5356
Tel: 415.591.7025
Fax: 415.955.6525





  • Harvard Law School, J.D., 1985
    • magna cum laude
    • Harvard Law Review, President
    • Sears Prize
  • Princeton University, A.B., 1979
    • magna cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Judicial Clerkship

  • Hon. J. Skelly Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • District of Columbia

Robert Fram is one of the leaders of the firm's patent litigation group, having served as co-chair from 2008 through 2013.  He resident in the firm’s San Francisco office.  He has substantial experience litigating patent, copyright, trade secret, and licensing cases.  Mr. Fram’s trial experience includes proceedings in federal and state courts and patent trials in California, New Jersey, Texas, and the International Trade Commission.

Mr. Fram has been recognized by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America as a leading IP lawyer, and the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journal named him one of the "Top 50 IP Litigators in California."  He is a past President of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers (Northern California).  Mr. Fram represents clients in a range of high-tech industries, including software, computer and electronic, semiconductor, and others.

Representative Matters

  • CCP Systems AG v Samsung Electronics Corp. Ltd. et al. (D. New Jersey).  Representing Samsung in a suit alleging copyright and patent infringement relating to software used by printers.
  • Mobile Device Litigation.  Mr. Fram led the team that decisively wiped out a half-billion dollar damages and injunction claims, part of Covington’s successful defense of one of the world’s largest smartphone and tablet manufacturers.  The case involved the assertion of six allegedly standards essential patents.  In a notable victory for our client, the Court ruled that an injunction cannot be obtained to enforce a patent that declared essential to a standard and is subject to a FRAND commitment.
  • Bockstar Technologies, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc.  Represents Bockstar Technologies against Cisco Systems in patent litigation in Delaware. Bockstar alleges infringement by Cisco of fundamental switching and routing patents.
  • In the Matter of Certain Electronic Devices, Including Handheld Wireless Communications Devices, Investigations Nos. 337-TA-667 and 337 TA 673Represented Samsung in this ITC investigation.
  • Ariba v. Emptoris (E.D. Texas).  Secured a jury verdict for Ariba Inc., including a finding that two patents involving online auction technology were valid and infringed.
  • Overture Services, Inc. v. Google Inc. (N.D. California).  Represented Yahoo! subsidiary, Overture Services, in a lawsuit alleging infringement of Overture's pioneering paid search patent.  In a highly-publicized settlement, Google took a license to this patent and several related patents.
  • GlobespanVirata v. Texas Instruments, Inc. (D. New Jersey).  Obtained a jury verdict of $112 million for Texas Instruments and Stanford University for infringement of patents involving high speed DSL modem technology.
  • Fortinet, Inc. v. Trend Micro Incorporated (N.D. Cal.).  Represents Trend Micro in patent litigation concerning anti-virus technology.

Honors and Rankings

  • Recognized in IAM Strategy 300 – The World’s Leading IP Strategists 2014
  • Chambers USA - America's Leading Business Lawyers (2004-2014)
  • San Francisco Magazine, Top 100 Northern California Lawyers (2011-2012)
  • Northern California Super Lawyers, Intellectual Property Litigation (2004-2014)
  • The Best Lawyers in America (2010-2015)
  • Daily Journal, Top IP Litigators in California (2008-2011)
  • Euromoney's Benchmark Litigation, Intellectual Property Local Litigation Star - CA (2013-2015) and Litigation Star - US (2013-2015)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America

Pro Bono

  • Hepting, et al. v. AT&T (N.D. California).  Represented plaintiffs in this landmark case concerning alleged mass electronic surveillance of Internet and telephone communications by the NSA.  Over the objections of the Department of Justice, Mr. Fram successfully persuaded the District Court that the case should not be dismissed on the basis of the State Secret privilege.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • State Bar of California
  • Board Member, Jewish Family & Children’s Services
  • Association of Business Trial Lawyers, President, Northern California Chapter (2002)

Publications and Speeches

  • "The New IEEE Standards Association Patent Policy: A Look Beyond the Blogs," Covington Advisory (February 2015), Co-Author
  • "SEP Litigation - Emerging Issues," Advanced Patent Law Institute (December 2013 & 2014)
  • "A Public Advocate for Privacy," InsidePrivacy Blog (6/5/2014), Author
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