Overview

Christopher Varas is a litigator in the fields of intellectual property and technology. Mr. Varas focuses his practice on trademark, copyright 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 Instagram in a lawsuit filed by a developer claiming common law trademark rights in the term “Layout” for a mobile application. We successfully opposed the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, submitting extensive factual evidence and three expert reports rebutting the plaintiff’s claims. The District Court judge concluded that the plaintiff’s alleged mark was generic and entered a final judgment in Instagram’s favor. Mr. Varas argued the plaintiff’s appeal before the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed the District Court’s judgment.

Manages complex international trademark dispute portfolios for various clients. Mr. Varas and our team coordinate global enforcement, administrative and litigation strategy, directing foreign counsel in jurisdictions around the world and serving as the clients’ main point of contact with their network of global outside counsel handling these disputes.

Represented Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, in a lawsuit alleging that the logo used to identify Snap’s “Spectacles” camera sunglasses infringed a logo used by a manufacturer of reading glasses. We opposed the plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The District Court judge denied the plaintiff’s motion in a comprehensive order, prompting the plaintiff to dismiss its lawsuit altogether.

Represented Airbnb in a right of publicity lawsuit filed by the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. The Foundation alleged that Airbnb had infringed Ms. Child’s posthumous publicity rights under California law. Mr. Varas defended Airbnb in the California Superior Court proceeding, which settled amicably.

Represented KFC (formerly Kentucky Fried Chicken) in a trademark lawsuit filed by the owner of a local Mexican restaurant in California. The plaintiff alleged that the Spanish language translation of KFC’s IT’S FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD slogan infringed the plaintiff’s own Spanish-language slogan.The case settled amicably after an early mediation.

Represented Yahoo in a California Superior Court lawsuit against a plaintiff’s claim that search results infringed her claimed trademark rights in her name. The case was litigated for three years before the Superior Court judge granted Yahoo’s motion for summary judgment. Mr. Varas argued Yahoo’s summary judgment motion and also argued the case before the California Court of Appeal, which affirmed the Superior Court’s judgment.

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 the game developer 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. Our team 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.

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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