Overview

Christopher Varas is a litigator in the fields of intellectual property and technology. Mr. Varas focuses his practice on copyright, trademark and right of publicity. Mr. Varas has litigated cutting edge intellectual property and technology issues on behalf of some of the world’s most recognized companies. He routinely represents clients in high profile disputes involving unsettled areas of the law, and has significant experience obtaining and opposing requests for restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. He has litigated complex multijurisdictional disputes and has also developed sophisticated global litigation and enforcement programs. He has been listed as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers in both Washington and Southern California.

Prior to joining Kilpatrick Townsend, Mr. Varas worked as an associate with Keats McFarland & Wilson LLP in Beverly Hills, California, a boutique intellectual property law firm with extensive involvement in the development, protection, and enforcement of famous brands as they relate to consumer products, entertainment and the Internet. Previously, Mr. Varas practiced in the Seattle, Washington headquarters of a national law firm, where his practice focused primarily on issues relating to cybersquatting, phishing and unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material.

Mr. Varas has published articles dealing with a variety of subjects, including copyright work for hire agreements, the protection of trademark rights in Internet domain names, the use of trademarks in graphical virtual worlds, and the development and execution of intellectual property enforcement programs.

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Experience

Represented Zynga. The plaintiff was preparing to launch a social game called “BlingVille,” and filed a declaratory judgment action after receiving demand letters from Zynga asserting Zynga’s rights in its ‘VILLE Family of Trademarks. We worked with an expert to conduct a secondary meaning survey that provided compelling evidence of secondary meaning in the ‘VILLE suffix. The plaintiff agreed to entry of a judgment in Zynga’s favor recognizing Zynga’s rights in the ‘VILLE Family of Marks, and transferred the domain name blingville.com to Zynga as part of a settlement that Zynga considered a complete victory.

Representing Zynga Inc. in the Northern District of California to protect its trademark rights in the WITH FRIENDS family of brands against an online and mobile “dating” application under the name “Bang With Friends.” Negotiated a favorable settlement. Zynga Inc. v. Bang With Friends, Inc., No. 13-3517 (N.D. Cal. filed July 30, 2013).

Represented a manufacturer of a liquid and tablet herbal supplement in a false advertising class action. We successfully opposed certification of the class as to the tablet product, which significantly narrowed the available damages to the plaintiffs. We were then able to settle the case on favorable terms for the client.

Represented Yahoo! against the plaintiff’s claim that she had common law trademark rights in her personal name. Plaintiff asserted that the use of her name as a Pay-Per-Click keyword and in search results she did not authorize infringed her rights. We defended the case for three years through several amended complaints and successfully opposed the plaintiff’s attempts to add misappropriation of identity claims to the case. We successfully educated the judge about common law trademark rights and obtained summary judgment for Yahoo!.

Represented Zynga in a litigation enforcement program targeting high value resellers of virtual chips used in Zynga’s online poker game, with the goal of disrupting chipseller website networks, obtaining money judgments, and canceling or transferring ownership of high value domain names. This coordinated effort included 22 lawsuits, with 33 judgments in Zynga’s favor, and the transfer or cancellation of hundreds of domain names that had been the primary vehicles for the illicit businesses.

Successfully represented Zynga Inc. in trademark litigation in connection with an online game called “MafiaVille.” The defendant responded to Zynga’s initial demand letters by filing a declaratory judgment action and also submitting a federal trademark application for “MafiaVille.” The declaratory judgment action was dismissed on procedural grounds, following which the client asked its long-time trademark prosecution counsel to handle the opposition to the “MafiaVille” application. Following almost two years of opposition proceedings in the TTAB, and with trial deadlines looming, Kilpatrick Townsend prepared and filed the complaint in the defendant’s home Maryland. After several weeks of discussions, the defendant agreed to all of Zynga’s demands in a confidential settlement agreement and entry of a consent judgment in Zynga’s favor in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.

Represented Yahoo! in a national class action case for false advertising, breach of contract and unfair competition. The plaintiffs sought to certify a class of Yahoo! Pay-Per-Click advertisers asserting claims that they were paying for low quality traffic. We worked with a team of contract lawyers and eDiscovery experts to collect and review tens of gigabytes of data regarding Yahoo!’s advertising network. We were able to settle the case on favorable terms after filing an opposition to the class certification motion.

Represented Zynga Inc. in multinational lawsuits against Vostu. Zynga alleged that Vostu had launched on a Brazilian social networking site several online social games which closely emulated Zynga games and business model. Zynga alleged that Vostu had begun migrating these games to the U.S. via the Facebook platform. We filed the initial U.S. action, and directed the subsequent Brazilian action, in which we obtained a preliminary injunction against all of Vostu’s online games in South America. We defeated the defendant’s emergency request for an anti-suit injunction from the U.S. Court to stay the litigation in Brazil, and thereafter obtained a favorable settlement including money and drastic changes to all of Vostu’s games. Zynga, Inc., v. Vostu USA, Inc., 816 F. Supp. 2d 824 (N.D. Cal. 2011).

Represented Givenchy and argued that Givenchy’s handbag design functioned as a protectable trade dress. The defendant produced a line of “fast fashion” handbags that mimicked elements of Givenchy’s trade dress. We defeated the defendant’s summary judgment motion which argued that Givenchy’s handbag design did not function as a protectable trade dress. The case subsequently settled on favorable terms.

Represented Fossil Inc. and Macy's Merchandising Group, Inc. against allegations that the plaintiff owned trademark rights in its founder’s surname – YOUNGBLOOD – for use on watches, and that Fossil and Macy’s infringed its rights by using the term Youngblood to identify a line of DIESEL-branded watches. After conducting extensive fact discovery on a severely compacted schedule, including taking and defending over 15 depositions in two months, and conducting expert discovery on secondary meaning of surnames in the context of the fashion industry, we obtained summary judgment on behalf of Macy’s and settled the case on behalf of Fossil.

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Education

Northwestern University School of Law (2002) cum laude, Order of the Coif

University of Edinburgh, LL.M., Innovation, Technology and the Law (2007) with honours

Lawrence University (1998) magna cum laude

Admissions

California (2008)

Washington (2002)

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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Professional & Community Activities

Northwestern Law Alumni Board Member (2016-Present)

Seattle IP Inn of Court (2013-Present)

Copyright Society of the U.S.A. (2013-Present)

Washington State Bar Association, Civil Rights Committee, Co-Chair (2003-2006)

ACLU of Washington, Board of Directors and Speakers’ Bureau, Member (2003-2006)

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