Stephen Payne is a trial and appellate litigator focusing on complex commercial and intellectual property litigation. Stephen has significant trial experience, including six recent jury trials in federal court that resulted in verdicts totaling over $1.2 billion for Irell’s clients. He also has significant experience representing clients through all stages of the pre-trial process, including pre-litigation investigation, discovery, working with expert witnesses, and motion practice.

Stephen also litigates matters on appeal and has both challenged and defended district court and Patent Office rulings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Stephen has been recognized on the list of “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch” every year since 2021. He serves as a member of Irell’s Hiring Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association. 

Prior to joining Irell, Stephen clerked for the Hon. Sandra S. Ikuta of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He earned his J.D., with highest honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif and served as comments editor for The University of Chicago Law Review. While in law school, Stephen worked as an extern in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.


  • Netlist Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co. (E.D. Tex.) / Netlist v. Micron Technology Inc. (E.D. Tex.). Stephen was a core member of two trial teams that secured (1) a $303 million jury verdict for Netlist in a suit against Samsung, in which the jury found Samsung willfully infringed five Netlist patents relating to computer memory technology, and (2) a $445 million jury verdict for Netlist in a suit against Micron, in which the jury found that Micron willfully infringed two Netlist patents relating to computer memory technology. In the Samsung case, the jury also determined Samsung failed to prove any of the patents are invalid. The district court subsequently held a bench trial to address three equitable defenses asserted by Samsung arguing that the Netlist patents were unenforceable, at which Stephen examined Netlist’s expert witness. The district court ruled in Netlist’s favor on all three defenses.
  • StreamScale, Inc. v. Cloudera, Inc. (W.D. Tex.). Represented StreamScale in a jury trial against Cloudera, in which the jury found that Cloudera infringed three StreamScale patents related to cloud-based data storage, rejected Cloudera’s defense that the claims were invalid, and awarded $240 million in damages.
  • DePuy Synthes Products Inc. v. Veterinary Orthopedic Implants, Inc. and Fidelio Capital AB (M.D. Fla.). Represented DePuy Synthes, an industry leader in veterinary orthopedic implants, in patent infringement litigation against VOI and Fidelio Capital. Secured a jury verdict in favor of DePuy Synthes on all issues, finding that VOI and Fidelio willfully infringed and awarding over $59 million in damages. The court subsequently entered a permanent injunction against VOI and Fidelio.
  • United Services Automobile Association v. PNC Bank, N.A. (E.D. Tex.). Obtained jury verdicts totaling over $220 million for USAA in patent infringement trials against PNC in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas involving USAA’s mobile remote deposit capture technology. Also obtained a victory for USAA on PNC’s counterclaims related to four patents, including a jury verdict of no infringement.
  • Glaukos Corp. v. Ivantis Inc. (C.D. Cal.). Represented Glaukos, a pioneer in therapies for the treatment of eye diseases, in patent infringement litigation against Ivantis. Secured key victories in the district court, including summary judgment rulings that one of the asserted Glaukos patent claims was infringed and not invalid, and dismissing Ivantis’s counterclaims from the case. Stephen and the Irell team also secured a ruling that Ivantis had destroyed evidence and successfully opposed a mandamus petition on that issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The case settled shortly before trial.
  • Defended a leading provider of machine health solutions against claims for patent infringement. Stephen and the Irell team challenged the claims with a motion to dismiss and at claim construction, resulting in a settlement and dismissal with prejudice of all claims.
  • Finjan Inc. v. Juniper Networks Inc. (N.D. Cal.). Served as a member of the Irell team that convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to affirm Juniper’s victories against Finjan in cybersecurity patent litigation. In October 2020, the Federal Circuit upheld a jury’s finding that Juniper did not infringe a malware detection patent held by Finjan, and also affirmed summary judgment rulings in Juniper’s favor. The Irell team subsequently obtained an attorney’s fee award against Finjan of nearly $6 million, and the Federal Circuit affirmed the fee award on appeal.
  • Represented the developer of novel technologies for farm management software in a confidential, multi-million dollar arbitration trial against a major agricultural company. Stephen was a core member of the trial team, including examining a lead developer of the technology platform at trial.
  • Immersion v. Apple (ITC). Represented Immersion, a longtime developer of tactile feedback, or “haptic,” technology, in a Section 337 investigation against Apple and AT&T. Apple and Immersion reached a confidential settlement and license agreement days before the Chief ALJ’s decision was set to be issued.
  • Secured an appellate victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissing an antitrust case against a major talent agency alleging that the agency had conspired to fix prices and boycott of smaller talent agencies, thereby affecting the market for the licensing of scripted television series.
  • Represented a major California grower in appellate litigation, in which the grower prevailed in the California Court of Appeal.
  • Defended two major film studios in a class action alleging violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized on the list of Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch (2021-2024)


  • “Let's Be Reasonable: Controlling Self-Help Discovery in False Claims Act Suits,” 81 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1297 (2014)

Professional Activities

  • Board of Directors, Orange County Chapter of the Federal Bar Association


University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 2015), highest honors; Comments editor, The University of Chicago Law Review

University of Notre Dame (B.A., Political Science, 2012), summa cum laude


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


  • Hon. Sandra S. Ikuta, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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