Benjamin P. Smith represents and defends clients in high-stakes disputes, arbitrations, and trials—principally in the life sciences and technology sectors. Among his victories, Benjamin obtained one of the largest contested jury verdicts in United States history, and has both won and defeated claims seeking tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
In the biotechnology and medical device industries, Benjamin represents startups as well as leading manufacturers in licensing, royalty, intellectual property, and product liability disputes. Last year, Benjamin defeated a $50 million claim asserted against a leading medical device manufacturer, while obtaining a positive counterclaim recovery. At present, Benjamin is representing two biotech companies in separate “bet the company” contract disputes while defending another client in a series of actions and class actions regarding reproductive issues. Benjamin has specific experience with cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, and ophthalmologic products and treatments.
In Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. Actelion Ltd., Benjamin obtained one of the largest contested jury verdicts in the United States, $577 million, which was affirmed on appeal. That courtroom victory won him a place among The Recorder’s 2011 Attorneys of the Year.
In the technology sector, Benjamin litigates on behalf of hardware manufacturers, gaming application developers, online service providers, and retailers. Among his successful representations is a zero-damages defense verdict in the retrial of a trade secret misappropriation case where a California state court jury previously had found liability and the plaintiff sought more than $300 million in damages. At present, Benjamin is prosecuting claims against a chip manufacturer, and recently successfully settled claims asserted against a gaming retailer.
Benjamin’s experience also includes a number of product liability, personal injury, and property damage claims.
Benjamin lectures on business torts, commercial disputes, damages, and expert witness retention and use in the United States and in Asia.
Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Device
Obtained largest contested jury verdict of 2011 of $577 million on behalf of Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, which was later affirmed on appeal in 2013. Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp. v. Actelion Ltd., et. al., 222 Cal.App.4th 945 (2013).
Defeated $50 million breach of contract and tort claims asserted against leading medical device manufacturer arising from a terminated license agreement and obtained a positive counterclaim award of approximately $6 million.
Successfully prosecuted breach-of-contract claims before International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, obtaining $91 million final award – an international arbitration ranked, by amount in controversy, as one of the 30 largest of 2009 by The American Lawyer magazine.
Currently representing biotechnology companies in litigations pending in state and federal courts in Delaware and federal court in Wisconsin.
Successfully defended medical device firm in a licensing and royalty dispute in the Northern District of California.
Represented various biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device firms in defending failure to warn and products liability actions involving implantable devices, cardiovascular stents, ophthalmologic lenses, and pharmaceuticals.
Technology and Internet Industries
Successfully represented videogame retailer in Unfair Competition Law claims brought by several California District Attorneys.
Successfully represented Japanese and U.S. social gaming developers in trade secret misappropriation actions filed in California and Florida.
Obtained a zero-damages defense verdict in the retrial of a trade secret misappropriation case where liability had previously been found by a California state court jury, and in which plaintiff sought more than $300 million in alleged unjust enrichment damages.
Successfully defeated patent infringement, trade secret, and antitrust claims asserted against a technology client in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas.
Successfully represented a publisher in a false advertising and antitrust suit in the Central District of California.
Obtained a dismissal of breach of warranty claims filed by a telecommunications service provider against a technology client in the Eastern District of Michigan.
Obtained a rare, mid-trial defense verdict for a technology client in a corporate opportunity and business tort action in Minnesota state court, which was later ranked on the National Law Journal's "Defense Hot List."
Successfully represented national bank in putative class action filed in the Southern District of New York alleging billions in damages.
Successfully represented asbestos settlement trust in declaratory relief trial in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California.
Obtained partial summary judgment in favor of a property owner defending groundwater contamination claims asserted by a public agency in the Northern District of California.
Served as national counsel for a manufacturer of exterior insulation and finishing systems in "toxic mold" class action litigation, with responsibility for all actions filed nationwide and scientific defense of "toxic mold" claims.
Harvard Law School, 1998, J.D.
Stanford University, 1995, A.B.
U.S. District Courts for Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Awards and Affiliations
2011 Attorney of the Year (The Recorder)
Top 10 Verdict of 2011 (The Daily Journal)
Law360 IP Group of the Year 2011
2009 top international arbitration (American Lawyer)