• Stanford Law School (J.D., 2010); Stanford Law Review
  • University of California, Irvine (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2007), cum laude


  • Hon. Timothy B. Dyk, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

Christopher Abernethy is an associate in the Los Angeles office of Irell & Manella LLP. Mr. Abernethy's practice focuses on complex business and intellectual property litigation at both the trial court and appellate court levels. Mr. Abernethy has represented clients in a broad array of industries, including those associated with wireless devices, telecommunications, integrated circuits, battery and charger technology, insurance analytics, catastrophic risk analysis software, microprocessor architecture, pharmaceutical research, and hepatitis C medications.

In addition to his practice, Mr. Abernethy regularly writes and speaks on topics relating to patent law. Mr. Abernethy co-teaches the semester-long "Patent Law" course at Loyola of Los Angeles Law School. He has also guest lectured on patent issues at Stanford Law School, Berkeley Law School, and the UCLA School of Law. Mr. Abernethy is also a member of the firm's Hiring Committee.

Mr. Abernethy received his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 2010, where he was a senior editor of the Stanford Law Review. Mr. Abernethy received his B.S. in Computer Engineeringfrom the University of California, Irvine in 2007, where he was a member of the Tau Beta Pi and IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu engineering honor societies.

Before joining Irell, Mr. Abernethy served as a law clerk to the Honorable Timothy B. Dyk of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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Representative Matters

  • WARF v. Apple (W.D. Wis.)
    Represented the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple. Successfully defeated Apple's IPR challenge to WARF's patent. Thereafter obtained a jury verdict of infringement and validity on all asserted claims, followed by a damages judgment of $234 million. Currently representing WARF on appeal in the foregoing matter, as well as in a follow-up case concerning Apple's newly-released products.
  • Idenix Pharmaceuticals v. Gilead Sciences (UK High Court of Justice)
    Assisted Gilead in defending against a challenge to the priority date of Gilead's patents relating to hepatitis C medications. Competitor Idenix Pharmaceuticals challenged the priority date of Gilead's patents in the UK on the ground that the patent family allegedly had a defective chain of title stemming from the family's parent application filed in the US. Following a bench trial in the UK High Court of Justice, the Court ruled in favor of Gilead and found that Gilead's patent family was entitled to the claimed priority date. 
  • Aon Corporation v. Guy Carpenter & Company (S.D.N.Y.)
    Represented Aon Corporation, one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies, in a declaratory judgment action filed in the Southern District of New York relating to a competitor’s patent on insurance risk analysis software utilizing weather and catastrophe data. Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement significantly in advance of trial.
  • Charge Lion v. Skyworks Solutions (E.D. Tex.)
    Represented Skyworks in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Charge Lion asserting a patent relating to battery charger technology. Charge Lion brought the lawsuit in the Eastern District of Texas. Skyworks filed an early motion to transfer venue to the Northern District of California. The dispute was then promptly resolved before the Court could rule on Skyworks's transfer motion.
  • Unwired Planet v. Blackberry (ITC and D. Del.)
    Represented BlackBerry in patent litigation regarding mobile internet technology. Unwired Planet initiated proceedings in the International Trade Commission against Blackberry. Unwired Planet ultimately withdrew its complaint on the eve of trial after the ITC issued a claim construction order under which Unwired Planet admitted there was no infringement. In subsequent proceedings in the District of Delaware, the district court entered the identical claim construction, and Unwired Planet stipulated to a judgment of non-infringement. The case is currently on appeal to the Federal Circuit.
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  • The Myriad Reasons to Hit "Reset" on Patent-Eligibility Jurisprudence, 47 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. 117 (2013) (View Article)
  • Senate Gridlock Causes En Banc Uncertainty, The Recorder (July 15, 2013)
  • Contributor: A Bit of a Muddle on Abstract-Idea Patents, The National Law Journal (Sept. 9, 2013) 
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Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • IP Litigation in the Trenches: Experiences from Two Patent Litigation Associates, Berkeley Law School (August 23, 2015)
  • Oh Diehr, Was Myriad Just a Flook? The State of Patent-Eligible Subject Matter, Stanford Law School (October 21, 2014)
  • Mr. Abernethy guest lectured for the course "Law 525: Patent Intensive" at the UCLA School of Law (September 2014)
  • Divided / Joint Infringement after Limelight Networks v. Akamai Techs., Irell & Manella MCLE Presentation (June 25, 2014)
  • Patent-Eligible Subject Matter: Something More than Just a Phenomenon, Orange County Bar Association (April 21, 2014)
  • Overview of a Patent Case, Irell & Manella Patent Nuts & Bolts Program (January 11, 2013) 
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Bar & Court Admissions

  • 2011, California
  • 2011, U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit