Cynthia D. Vreeland

Cindy Vreeland has more than 25 years of experience litigating a range of intellectual property disputes, with a focus on patent and trade secret litigation. She has served as lead or co-lead counsel in more than 20 trials, successfully trying cases in technologies ranging from wireless devices, semiconductor chips and computer storage to medical devices, superconducting materials and pharmaceuticals. Ms. Vreeland’s work earned her a spot as one of only two IP litigators selected by Law360 for its inaugural list of “Top Female Trial Attorneys.” She has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Managing IP, IAM Patent 1000 and Boston Magazine for her intellectual property litigation practice.

Ms. Vreeland also maintains an active pro bono practice, including precedent-setting representation of human trafficking victims. Ms. Vreeland led the team that successfully represented pro bono client Lisa Ricchio in the first civil sex trafficking case filed against a motel under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). The case received significant media attention and set several important precedents under the TVPA, making it possible for trafficking victims across the United States to file many similar suits against hotels. The National Law Journal recognized Ms. Vreeland as a “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer” for her work on behalf of Ms. Ricchio, and the Human Trafficking Center named the Ricchio team its “Litigation Team of the Year” for 2020.


    • Intellectual Ventures v. EMC:Secured a complete victory for EMC in a lawsuit filed by Intellectual Ventures in the District of Massachusetts. Intellectual Ventures, a notorious patent monetization entity, asserted six patents against a broad swath of EMC products. We filed and won five inter partes reviews (IPRs) at the US Patent and Trademark Office in response, successfully invalidating all asserted claims for four of the patents. Intellectual Ventures appealed only two of these five decisions, and we convinced the Federal Circuit to affirm both decisions. We also won a summary judgement of invalidity for the last remaining claim of a fifth patent (asserted after our IPR) and argued a summary judgement motion on the last remaining patent. The case has since been the subject of several articles focusing on our use of collateral estoppel to leverage a Patent Office IPR decision. Ms. Vreeland served as lead counsel for the litigation and appeals and argued the firm’s successful Markman and summary judgement motions and one of the two Federal Circuit appeals. 
    • PersonalWeb v. EMC and VMware:Secured a complete victory for EMC and VMWare after more than eight years of litigation. PersonalWeb initiated this suit in the Eastern District of Texas claiming infringement of a portfolio of patents by most of the major cloud computing companies. EMC and VMware were the only companies in the first round of defendants to file IPRs, a relatively new procedure at the time. We convinced the Eastern District of Texas to transfer the case to California, and the California court to stay the case pending our IPRs. The PTAB subsequently invalidated all challenged claims of all six challenged patents, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. After the stay was lifted, PesonalWeb agreed to drop a seventh patent. The final win came with the judge’s ruling that the only remaining patent was invalid under Section 101 because it did not claim patent-eligible subject matter. 
    • Wireless Technology: Secured a long string of victories on behalf of a major wireless company against a non-practicing entity. In a trial in the Eastern District of Texas, we defeated the plaintiff’s $101 million damages claim, winning a complete verdict of noninfringement on all five patents brought to trial. Before trial, after we exposed the problems with the plaintiff’s other patent assertions, it dropped nine other patents. In total, we defeated all 14 patents—each an alleged cellular-standard-essential patent (SEP). The district court awarded over $735,000 to our client in costs, and the Federal Circuit affirmed on appeal. While that first case was pending, the plaintiff filed two others in the Eastern District of Texas, one asserting five more alleged SEPs, the other six non-SEPs. After the trial described above, we successfully transferred both cases to the Northern District of California. The transferred SEP case proceeded to trial in San Jose. Before trial, we exposed problems with the plaintiff’s patent assertions that led it to drop three of the patents. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff on the remaining two patents, although it awarded only one-third of the amount sought. On appeal, the Federal Circuit reversed as to one patent, holding it was not infringed and vacated and remanded on the other, instructing the district court to determine whether the patent should be held unenforceable because it was untimely disclosed to the relevant standard-setting organization. On remand, the district court held the patent unenforceable, the first time any court had held an allegedly cellular-standard-essential patent to be unenforceable. The transferred non-SEP case has been stayed for several years, during which we have prosecuted IPR proceedings that resulted in the invalidation of the substantial majority of the asserted patent claims. The stay remains in place. In sum, in eight years of litigation, the plaintiff has asserted 25 patents against our client and prevailed on none.
    • TransData v. CenterPoint and Itron: Favorably settled this case for CenterPoint and its supplier, Itron, in the Eastern District of Texas. We took over defense of the case, which alleged infringement of a patent relating to “smart” electrical meters, approximately one month before trial, identified a document corroborating that Itron had developed a prior art product that predated the asserted claims, and then won a motion to supplement our invalidity defenses to add this product to the case as anticipatory prior art. The case settled favorably, on the eve of trial, soon after we won the motion.
    • Cree v. SemiLEDs: Represented Cree in related suits in the District of Delaware alleging infringement of eight Cree patents relating to LED chips. We secured a settlement including an agreed injunction prohibiting the importation and sale of SemiLEDs’ accused products in the United States and a payment for past damages.
    • Delano Farms v. California Table Grape Commission: Represented the California Table Grape Commission in a trial in the Eastern District of California challenging the validity of patents covering two of the commission's top selling grape varieties. The court upheld the validity of both of our client's patents.
    • Uniloc v. Rackspace: Represented Rackspace in a suit in the Eastern District of Texas alleging infringement of a Uniloc patent relating to floating point numbers. The court granted our motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the asserted claim was not patentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101, in a ruling recognized by Am Law Daily as a “rare” win in East Texas. Rackspace believes that this was the first time the Eastern District of Texas granted an early motion to dismiss under Section 101.
    • Yahoo v. Facebook: Represented Facebook in a major patent battle with Yahoo, after Yahoo initiated a lawsuit in the Northern District of California claiming infringement of 10 Yahoo patents. We assisted in mounting a full-scale defense, including a counterclaim for infringement of 10 Facebook patents, described by TechCrunch as a “masterful response to Yahoo’s patent trolling.” The parties reached a highly favorable settlement three months later, recognized by Business Insider as “a win” for Facebook.
    • Medtronic v. Globus: Represented Medtronic in a three-week jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania relating to minimally invasive spinal surgery. The jury found that each of the two patents asserted by our client was valid and infringed.
    • Broadcom v. Qualcomm: Secured a significant victory for Broadcom when a jury returned a verdict finding that Qualcomm infringed two Broadcom patents relating to wireless networks and push-to-talk applications. Broadcom claimed that key features offered on certain Qualcomm wireless-communications computer chips infringed three Broadcom patents. After a four-week trial, the jury agreed that that each of the three asserted patents was valid and infringed. The Federal Circuit affirmed the decision and upheld the permanent injunction. The broader dispute between the parties subsequently settled for more than $890 million.
    • In re. Audio Digital-to-Analog Converters and Products Containing Same: Represented Wolfson Semiconductor in a two-week trial before the US International Trade Commission (ITC) relating to digital-to-analog circuits. The ITC found the primary patent asserted against our client unenforceable because the inventors failed to disclose highly material prior art to the Patent Office with the intent of deceiving the Patent Office.
    • Fonten v. Ocean Spray: Represented Ocean Spray in a two-week jury trial in the District of Massachusetts relating to the marketing of fruit juice products. The jury agreed that our client did not breach a contract between the parties.
    • EMC v. Hewlett-Packard: Represented EMC in a three-week jury trial in the District of Massachusetts relating to computer storage devices. The jury found that each of the three patents asserted by our client was valid and infringed. The broader dispute between the parties subsequently settled for more than $325 million.  
    • Schwarz-Pharma v. Braintree: Represented Braintree in a two-week trial in the District of Delaware relating to gastrointestinal product. The court rejected IP-related antitrust claims against our client.
    • In re. Certain Microlithographic Machines: Represented ASML in a five-week trial before the ITC in a suit filed by its chief rival, Nikon. At issue was approximately $1.8 billion in annual sales in the market for photolithographic equipment. The ITC found that each of the seven patents asserted against our client was not infringed, invalid and/or unenforceable because of the inventors’ inequitable conduct.
    • American Superconductor v. MIT: Represented American Superconductor in the trial of a “patent interference” proceeding relating to high-temperature superconducting materials. The Patent Office intervened in the suit to defend its decision. We successfully reversed the Patent Office’s finding that a patent owned by our client, and a patent application exclusively licensed to it, “interfered.”  
    • Ricchio v. Shangri-La Hotel: Secured a precedent-setting outcome for pro bono client Lisa Ricchio when we reached a favorable settlement of her sex trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) after the second day of trial, following a powerful opening statement and testimony from Ms. Ricchio. The settlement marked the end a four-year legal battle against her assailant, who pretended to be her boyfriend and lied about a cancer diagnosis to engender her sympathies, and the managers of the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk, Massachusetts. This case has groundbreaking implications for sex trafficking victims in the United States. As the first civil suit to be filed against a hotel or motel under the TVPA’s civil-remedy provision, it has clarified what makes hotels and motels, and their insurers, liable for sex trafficking on their premises under the TVPA. Following this case, other sex trafficking victims across the country have filed suits against major hotel chains. 


  • Award Text

    Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazer

    The National Law Journal


  • Award Text

    Top Lawyer for IP Litigation and Patent Litigation

    Best Lawyers in America

    Since 2013

  • Award Text

    Leading Practitioner

    IAM Patent 1000

    Since 2013

  • Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2013–2021 editions of the Best Lawyers in America in the areas of intellectual property litigation and patent litigation, cited by a client as "one of the best patent litigators in the country” and as “a person you would trust with a bet-the-company kind of case.”
  • Named among the 2018–2019 Top 250 Women in IP and selected as a 2013–2020 IP Star by Managing IP, a guidebook that identifies leading IP lawyers in the United States
  • Named a 2015–2020 leading practitioner by IAM Patent 1000: The World's Leading Patent Practitioners
  • Named to The National Law Journal’s 2020 “Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Trailblazers” list for her representation of sex trafficking victim Lisa Ricchio
  • Named a "New England Super Lawyer" (formerly "Massachusetts Super Lawyer") in the 2006–2019 issues of Boston Magazine in intellectual property litigation; also named among Super Lawyers' "Top Women Attorneys in Massachusetts" in 2013, 2016 and 2017 and the "Top 50 Women Attorneys in Massachusetts" in 2015 for intellectual property litigation 
  • Named a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers
  • Recommended in the 2018 edition of The Legal 500 United States for intellectual property: patent litigation: full coverage
  • Recognized among the 2015 Top Women of Law by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
  • Recognized by Texas Lawyer when the publicationselected client Apple's success in Core Wireless Licensing v. Apple as a Top IP Defense Win in 2015 in their Top Texas Verdicts & Settlements supplement
  • Selected as one of Lawdragon Magazine's "500 Leading Lawyers in America" in 2013
  • One of two IP litigators selected by Law360 for its inaugural 2012 list of Top Female Trial Attorneys

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, University of Chicago Law School, 1990

      with honors
    • BA, Baylor University, 1987

      summa cum laude
  • Admissions

    • Massachusetts

    • Texas

  • Clerkships

    • The Hon. Patrick Higginbotham, US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1990 - 1991