Michael Harbour represents clients in complex commercial disputes. His practice spans diverse areas of law, including antitrust, intellectual property, securities litigation, false advertising and unfair business practices, and class actions. Michael has experience in all stages of litigation and recently served as one of the lead counsel in a high-stakes confidential arbitration hearing involving computer imaging technology. He has also represented clients in precedent-setting appeals in courts throughout the country, including the United States Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of California, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Prior to joining Irell, Michael clerked for the Hon. Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He currently serves on the firm’s Hiring Committee and is co-chair of the Summer Committee.

Representative Litigation Experience

  • G+ Communications, LLC v. Samsung Electronics Co. LTD., et al (E.D. Tex.). Represented G+ Communications in a patent infringement suit against Samsung Electronics brought in the Eastern District of Texas. The jury returned a verdict in favor of G+ awarding a royalty of $1.50 per unit and damages up to the date of trial of $67.5 million.
  • Represented a biotech company in a confidential arbitration in which the claimant was seeking more than nine figures in damages. After an evidentiary hearing, the panel found there was no liability and then later awarded Michael’s client attorneys’ fees.
  • Represented a digital imaging company in a confidential arbitration seeking unpaid royalties relating to an intellectual property license. After a five-day arbitration hearing before the International Chamber of Commerce, Michael’s client obtained a favorable settlement that included payment of nearly all damages that had accrued to date.
  • Intel Corporation et al v. Fortress Investment Group LLC et al., (N.D. Cal.). Represented Fortress Investment Group LLC and VLSI Technology LLC in a high-stakes antitrust claim brought by Intel Corporation and Apple Inc., purporting to challenge defendants’ business model. After obtaining a complete discovery stay, defendants prevailed on three motions to dismiss, the final one resulting in dismissal with prejudice. This case was recognized by the Daily Journal as one of the top defense verdicts in California in 2021. The dismissal was later affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
  • Irving Firemen’s Relief & Retirement Fund v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., (N.D. Cal.). Secured a dismissal with prejudice in a securities fraud class action brought against Uber seeking billions of dollars in damages. The case was one of the first of its kind, brought under California’s market manipulation statute.
  • Represented a leading developer of semiconductor packaging technology in a patent licensing dispute. The case settled favorably after the court denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
  • Represented two film studios in a class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and seeking over $500 million in damages. The case resulted in a favorable settlement.
  • Secured class decertification in a federal class action against a homeopathic and dietary supplement company alleging false advertising.
  • Obtained asylum for transgender woman who had fled persecution in Guatemala.

Representative Appellate Experience

  • Peter v. NantKwest, Inc., 140 S. Ct. 365 (2019). Represented NantKwest in a successful appeal before the United States Supreme Court challenging the Patent and Trademark Office’s ability to recover attorneys’ fees in suits brought under Section 145 of the Patent Act. In a unanimous decision, the Court held that Section 145 did not authorize the PTO to collect attorneys’ fees.
  • McKnight, et al v. Uber Technologies, Inc., 54 F.4th 1069 (9th Cir. 2022). Argued on behalf of Uber in an appeal challenging a class action settlement as an improper “coupon settlement” under the Class Action Fairness Act. In a precedent setting opinion, the Ninth Circuit found in favor of Uber and the named plaintiffs and affirmed the district court’s finding that the settlement was not coupon based thereby effectively ending a class action litigation that had been pending for nearly nine years.
  • Irving Firemen's Relief & Ret. Fund v. Uber Technoliges, Inc., 998 F.3d 397 (9th Cir. 2021). Represented Uber in an appeal challenging the dismissal of securities fraud case brought under California’s blue sky law. In a precedent-setting opinion, the Ninth Circuit agreed with the firm’s argument that the plaintiff had failed to plead loss causation because it did not specifically tie any alleged misstatement to a drop in Uber’s stock price. The Ninth Circuit’s opinion was the first to address the causation pleading requirement for claims under California’s market manipulation statute asserted in federal court.
  • Fowler Packing Company, Inc. v. Lanier, 844 F.3d 809 (2016). Obtained reversal of an order dismissing an equal protection challenge to a California law that precluded two employers from raising a newly established wage and hour claims. The Ninth Circuit held that the complaint plausibly alleged that the California law violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The Daily Journal recognized this case as one of the “Top Appellate Reversals” of 2016.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized on the list of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2023-2024)
  • Named to the Southern California Rising Stars list (2022-2023)


  • “The exact nature of California's standing doctrine,” Daily Journal (December 31, 2018)


Harvard Law School (J.D., 2013), cum laude

Vanderbilt University (Ph.D., Philosophy, 2010)

Emory University (B.A., 2004), with Highest Honors; Phi Beta Kappa


  • California, 2014
  • U.S. District Court for the Central and Northern Districts of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth and Federal Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • Hon. Mary M. Schroeder, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit , 2013-2014
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