Dennis Courtney concentrates on intellectual property litigation and complex business litigation. He has assisted clients in numerous federal courts and in matters before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Prior to law school, Dennis was a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Iowa, where he researched functional analysis and taught calculus, linear algebra and real analysis.

Dennis earned his J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School. He earned his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, where he also earned his B.A. in Mathematics, with highest honors in Mathematics and high distinction in General Scholarship. Dennis is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.


  • Zahourek Systems, Inc. v. Balanced Body University, LLC. Convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to reverse a district court’s summary judgment ruling against a client in a copyright infringement dispute over a sculpture of a human skeleton with muscles. The Tenth Circuit’s published opinion revived client Jon Zahourek’s infringement suit against Balanced Body University, LLC involving the giant skeleton Zahourek created known as “the Maniken.” Before Zahourek hired Irell, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado held that the sculpture was a “useful article” and not protectable by copyright. After the ruling, the client hired Irell to represent him on appeal, and the Tenth Circuit agreed with the firm’s argument that the court’s “useful article” analysis was flawed. The opinion remanded the case for further consideration.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized on the list of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2021-2022)


  • "A mini-max problem for self-adjoint Toeplitz matrices," Mathematica Scandinavica 110, Issue 1, pp.82-98 (2012)
  • "Composition operators and endomorphisms," Complex Analysis and Operator Theory 6, no. 1, pp.163-188 (2012)
  • "Unions of arcs from Fourier partial sums," New York Journal of Mathematics 16, pp.235-243 (2010)
  • "Inefficiency and complementarity in sharing games," Review of Economic Design 13, no. 1-2, pp.7-43 (2009)
  • "Lifting endomorphisms to automorphisms," Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 136, no. 6, pp.2073-2079 (2008)
  • "Shirking and squandering in sharing games," Topics in Theoretical Economics 6, Issue 1, pp.1-34 (2006)


Harvard Law School (J.D., 2015), cum laude

University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D., Mathematics, 2007)

University of California, Berkeley (B.A., Mathematics, 2001); Highest honors in Mathematics; High distinction in General Scholarship; Phi Beta Kappa


  • California
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of California
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