Benjamin P. Smith represents and defends clients in high-stakes disputes, principally in the life sciences and technology sectors. His clients include US and Asian companies involved in business tort, misappropriation, breach of contract, and fraud actions. Among his courtroom victories, Benjamin obtained one of the largest contested jury verdicts in United States history, and has successfully defended many clients against claims seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
In the biotechnology and medical device industries, Benjamin represents startups as well as leading manufacturers from the United States and Japan in licensing and royalty disputes. He also defends claims alleging trade secret misappropriation, violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL), negligence, and strict liability. He has specific experience with cardiovascular, endocrine, and ophthalmologic products and treatments. Clients also turn to him to obtain and defend against lost-profit recoveries.
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.
Representing technology and Internet companies is another significant focus of his practice. Benjamin litigates claims against hardware manufacturers, gaming application developers from the United States and Asia, and online service providers. 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. He recently won dismissal of trade secret misappropriation claims against two different social gaming manufacturers, one based in the United States and the other in Japan.
In addition to complex commercial disputes, Benjamin’s experience 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 Japan.
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).
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.
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 Japanese social gaming developer in trade secret misappropriation action filed in California state court in 2012.
Obtained dismissal with prejudice of trade secret misappropriation action against a social gaming client filed in Southern District of Florida in 2011.
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 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)