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Ambika Kumar Doran

DoranAmbika
Partner
T206.757.8030
F206.757.7030

Ambika Kumar Doran practices media, Internet, and intellectual property law. She counsels and represents clients on defamation, privacy, commercial speech, public records, courtroom access, other First Amendment issues, copyright, trademark, and Section 230 immunity.

Representative Experience

Backpage.com LLC v. Cooper et al.

Represent Backpage.com in its constitutional challenge to T.C.A. § 39-13-314, which makes it a felony to "sell[] or offer[] to sell" certain advertisements. Court granted motion for preliminary injunction. (Ongoing)

Backpage.com LLC v. Hoffman et al.

Represent Backpage.com in its constitutional challenge to N.J.S.A. § 2C:13-10, which makes it a crime to knowingly publish, disseminate, display, or to "directly or indirectly" cause offending content to be published. Court granted motion for temporary restraining order. (Ongoing)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem v. General Motors

Defended General Motors against claims that it misappropriated the publicity rights of Albert Einstein and falsely implied the plaintiff endorsed its vehicle by featuring an image of Einstein in an advertisement. The court dismissed the Lanham Act and unfair competition claims on summary judgment and the remaining claims before trial, finding that under New Jersey law, Einstein’s rights of publicity had expired before publication of the ad. The plaintiff has appealed to the 9th Circuit. (Ongoing)

Henne v. City of Yakima

On behalf of major news organizations, filed amicus brief in first case construing Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute to reach the Washington State Supreme Court, urging the Court to construe the statute broadly in favor of protecting speech and petition rights. Case pending. (Wash., 2014)

Daniel v. Kruger

Represented defendants in appeal of trial court’s order denying motion to dismiss complaint under Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute. Plaintiff, a real estate agent, claimed defamation and related claims over the posting of a negative review on the website Zillow.com. Court of Appeals reversed trial court’s decision that anti-SLAPP statute did not apply. 176 Wn. App. 1028 (Div. II 2014)

Davis, et al. v. Cox, et al.

Defended Olympia Food Cooperative’s current and former board members against claims that they unlawfully enacted a boycott of Israeli products. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion to strike under Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute, and awarded them their attorneys’ fees and $10,000 each in statutory damages. The Court of Appeals affirmed, rejecting the plaintiffs’ arguments that the anti-SLAPP law is unconstitutional. Davis v. Cox, --- Wn. App. --- (Apr. 7, 2014)

Fisher Broadcasting-Seattle TV LLC v. City of Seattle

On behalf of major news organizations and open government advocates, filed state Supreme Court amicus brief arguing for public disclosure of police dash cam videos. Court adopted statutory construction advocated by amici. 326 P.3d 688 (Washington Supreme Court, 2014)

Intercon Solutions, Inc. v. Basel Action Network et al

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of coalition of media organizations and trade associations urging 7th Circuit to hold that Washington's anti-SLAPP law applies in federal court and that the collateral order doctrine permits immediate appeal from denial of an anti-SLAPP motion. (7th Cir. 2014)

Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of online service providers, including major technology companies and news media, arguing for reversal of district court's narrow interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately reversed and vacated the judgment, endorsing a broad interpretation of Section 230 which permits websites and service providers to engage in traditional editorial functions without becoming liable for user content. (6th Cir. 2014)

Routt v. Amazon.com, Inc.

Defended Amazon against claims that it was liable for the allegedly infringing acts of participants in its marketing program. The trial court dismissed complaint and amended complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), and the 9th Circuit affirmed. (2014)

Thomson v. Doe

Represented lawyer rating website Avvo.com, a third party, in response to motion to compel disclosure of identity of individual who posted allegedly libelous review. Court denied motion to compel because plaintiff had not met heightened First Amendment standard applicable to anonymous speech. (King Cnty. (Wa.) Sup. Crt. 2014)

Towillis v. Nystuen

Represented couple against claims that they defamed the plaintiff, a real estate agent, because one of them posted a negative review of the plaintiff on Yelp.com. After defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the claims with prejudice. (Snohomish Cnty. (Wa.) Sup. Crt. 2014)

ACLU-NC v. City of Redding

Obtained temporary and permanent injunction against enforcement of City of Redding, Calif.'s "Outdoor Public Forum Policy" as violating the public’s First Amendment rights. Third District Court of Appeal largely affirmed in published opinion. 211 Cal. App. 4th 1322 (2013)

Backpage.com LLC v. McKenna et al.

Represented Backpage.com in its constitutional challenge to Washington SB 6251, which made it a felony to knowingly publish, disseminate, display, or to "directly or indirectly" cause offending content to be published. Secured temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of law based on court's finding that SB 6251 was likely preempted by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments and Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. State thereafter stipulated to permanent injunction and paid $200,000 in attorneys’ fees. (2013)

Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Servin, et al.

Represented the Yes Men against trademark claims filed after they performed a political parody of the Chamber of Commerce's controversial position on global climate change; three years after defendants moved to dismiss, the Chamber dropped its lawsuit. USDC D.C. 09cv 2014 (2013)

United States Mission Corporation v. KIRO-TV, Inc.

Secured dismissal of libel by implication claim brought against local television station stemming from investigative report about halfway house’s requirement that its residents–some of them criminals–perform door-to-door solicitations on its behalf. Court of Appeals affirmed trial court decision. 2013 Wash. App. LEXIS 44 (Wash. App. 2013)

Alberghetti et al. v. Corbis Corporation

Represented national media and licensors of photographic imagery in amicus brief challenging district court's ruling that the subject of a photograph may assert a viable right-of-publicity claim based merely on a licensor's offer to license the copyright in the photograph. (9th Circuit 2012)

Bertsch v. Twentieth Century Fox Television, et al.

Represented Fox entities and Rupert Murdoch in lawsuit brought by plaintiff alleging that the film "Donnie Darko" and television series "The X-Files" and "Burn Notice" were based on his life. A day after defendants filed an anti-SLAPP motion, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice. (W.D. Wash. 2012)

Davis v. Avvo, Inc.

Represented lawyer ratings website on unfair competition, misappropriation, and related claims brought by disgruntled attorney. Court granted special motion to strike the complaint under Washington's anti-SLAPP statute, awarding the defendant its attorneys' fees and the $10,000 statutory penalty. (W.D. Wash. 2012)

Dinsmore v. George et al.

Represented several individuals in lawsuit alleging they defamed the plaintiff by confronting him about his anger management problem and asking him to get help. After defendants brought an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the complaint, the court significantly limited discovery. The plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit. (2012)

Peterson v. Kellogg

Represented counterclaim defendant against libel and related claims stemming from his Better Business Bureau complaint and reviews about the plaintiff’s vintage Land Rover repair and restoration business. Defendant brought anti-SLAPP motion, and court denied plaintiff’s request to lift the discovery stay. Case settled later that day. (Thurston Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2012)

Accor Technology, Inc. v. Keeney Manuf. Co.

Represented Accor Technology, Inc., manufacturer of plumbing valves, in lawsuit against competitor alleging trademark infringement. Case successfully settled. (W.D. Wash. 2011)

Breach of contract dispute for book author

In arbitration, successfully obtained dismissal of breach of contract claim arising from statement made in the defendant’s book. Arbitrator found that anti-SLAPP statute applied and dismissed the complaint because it failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. (2011)

Castello v. City of Seattle

Obtained dismissal of defamation and related claims and award of attorneys' fees and costs under Washington's recently enacted anti-SLAPP statute, where claims arose from statements a public employee allegedly made to her superiors, a co-worker, and a local television station. 2011 WL 219671, 39 Media L. Rep. 1601 (W.D.Wash. 2011)

Illinois Tool Works, Inc. et al. v. Seattle Safety, LLC

Represented crash sled patent holder in a patent infringement, breach of contract, and unfair competition litigation against former contractor. Won partial summary judgment of infringement; case settled four days before trial. (W.D. Wash. 2011)

J.R. Four Ltd. dba Technical Glass Products v. Proscience et al.

Represented manufacturer of architectural glass in lawsuit against former distributor alleging trademark infringement. Case successfully settled. (2011)

Keck v. Amazon.com

Defended Amazon.com against privacy claims raised by book that was published by third parties through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program. Court found Amazon.com immune from liability under Section 230, granting its motion for judgment on the pleadings. (2011)

Pro bono services for private non-profit organization

Handled clearance of expanded use of prior-used trademark for entire operations and business name, with registration of marks and addressing of potential conflicts via proceedings and/or negotiation of agreements. (2010-2011)

Rawlings Sporting Goods Co., Inc. v. Under Armour, Inc.

Represented Rawlings, a major sporting goods manufacturer, in litigation arising from competitor's use of trademark in advertising and promotional materials. After the court entered a preliminary injunction ordering competitor to stop and issue corrective notices, the case successfully settled. (W.D. Wash. 2011)

Suulutaaq et. al. v. Center for Investigative Reporting et al.

Successfully defended award-winning investigative reporting center, its veteran reporter, and the San Francisco Chronicle in libel action brought by an Alaska Native Corporation challenging news article that raised questions about its receipt of millions in federal stimulus money for a construction project in Napa Valley. The bulk of Suulutaaq's implication claims were dismissed by the Court as a matter of law, after which Suulutaaq voluntarily dismissed the action with prejudice. 782 F. Supp. 2d 795, 2010 (D. Alaska 2011)

The Boeing Company and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District Lodge 751 - NLRB Proceeding

Represented major news provider before administrative law judge in NLRB proceeding in effort to ensure procedure regarding sealed documents comported with First Amendment right of access. Judge issued opinion recognizing that right applied even in the context of a federal administrative proceeding, a subject on which federal appellate courts are split. (2011)

Anderson v. Pearson plc et al.

Defended the U.K., Canadian, and U.S. publishers of Penguin Books, and their corporate parent, against a copyright infringement claim in Alaska arising from use of photo on the cover of a book that had not been published or sold in the U.S. The case settled satisfactorily after extensive jurisdictional discovery and filing and arguing a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. (D. Alaska 2010)

Getty Images (US) Inc. v. Visions of Tomorrow, Inc. and Minden Pictures, Inc.

Represented the world's leading provider of stock photography in arbitration and litigation with two image partners regarding Getty Images' licensing of their images through a new product. The case centered on the image partners' claims that Getty Images breached its contracts with them and violated their, and their contributors', copyrights by licensing the images. After significant discovery and motion practice, the case settled satisfactorily. (S.D.N.Y. and arbitration by Judicial Dispute Resolution, Inc., 2010)

Psihoyos v. NBC Universal, Inc. and Getty Images

Defended a copyright infringement claim arising from NBC Universal's use of video footage of a bank of video screens, which it had licensed from Getty Images, and which the plaintiff claimed was substantially similar to his photograph '500 TVs,' depicting a bank of television screens. The case successfully settled after filing and arguing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim based on lack of substantial similarity to the defendant's photograph. (S.D.N.Y. 2010)

Salehoo Group Ltd. v. ABC Co.

Successfully moved to quash subpoena directed at anonymous owner and operator of website critical of plaintiff. The court found the plaintiff had not overcome the defendant's First Amendment right to speak anonymously because it had not stated a prima facie claim for defamation or Lanham Act violations. 722 F. Supp. 2d 1210 (W.D. Wash. 2010)

Adams County Historical Society v. Kinyoun

Prepared briefing to help secure unanimous decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court making historic burial records from the state's largest mental health cemetery publicly available. Over objections by the Nebraska Attorney General and reversing more than a century of secrecy, the Nebraska Supreme Court, interpreting state and federal privacy law, held that the names of some 1,400 former patients buried between 1890 and 1959 at the Hastings Regional Center are public under the state's Public Records Act. (2009)

Attachmate Corporation v. Sentry Insurance

Defense of claims for copyright infringement and breach of license agreement arising out of alleged copying of software. Obtained dismissal of breach of license claim as preempted by Copyright Act; case successfully settled shortly thereafter. 90 U.S.P.Q.2d 1648 (W.D. Wash. 2009)

Brain vs. Halsne

Defended KIRO-7, a Seattle-based television station, and one of its reporters in a defamation lawsuit brought by a Tacoma, Wash., pediatric dentist. Cause No. 07-06234-9 (Pierce Cnty. (Wash.) Super. Ct. 2009)

Hust v. State of Wyoming, et al.

In federal court, represented media defendants accused by the plaintiff of defamation. Defendants won a dismissal with prejudice on grounds that the two-year statute of limitations had expired. The dismissal was affirmed by the 9th Circuit in March 2010. 372 Fed. Appx. 708, 2010 WL 1174584 (W.D. Wash. 2009)

Isomedia v. Spectrum Direct, et al.

Defended EducationDynamics in case alleging that the company violated the CAN-SPAM Act. The claims were settled. (2009)

Liao v. CNN

Twice, obtained dismissal of federal civil rights lawsuit challenging editorial content on CNN.com. (2009)

Zango, Inc. v. Kaspersky Lab, Inc.

Summary judgment dismissing lawsuit against distributor of anti-malware products, recognizing 'robust' immunity under 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(2) enabling consumer access to information about potentially 'objectionable' software. In 2009, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed the lower court's 2007 dismissal. WL 1655217 (W.D. Wash., 9th Cir. 2009)

Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley, et al. v. Roommates.com, LLC

Submitted amicus brief on behalf of media amici in 9th Circuit's en banc review of the scope of immunity afforded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to mixed-content websites. No. 04-56916 (en banc) 521 F.3d 1157 (9th Cir. 2008)

Walters v. Seattle School District No. 1

Represented the Seattle Times in an unusual lawsuit alleging civil rights violations arising from the newspaper's coverage of a recruiting scandal involving two high school basketball coaches. The district court granted the Times' motion to dismiss because it concluded that there were no valid allegations of conspiracy or of interference in contractual relations stemming from news coverage. 578 F.Supp.2d 1310 (W.D. Wash. 2008)

Browne v. Avvo, Inc.

Defended attorney evaluation website. Court granted motion to dismiss on First Amendment opinion grounds, also holding that distribution of information is not 'commerce' under state consumer protection laws. 525 F. Supp. 2d 1249 (W.D. Wash. 2007)

Dibbs v. The Franklin Mint, et al.

Defense of copyright infringement action involving use of photographs in promotional materials for model airplanes. Obtained favorable confidential settlement. No. CV06-604RSM (W.D. Wash. 2007)

Additional Qualifications

  • Summer Associate, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Washington, D.C.
  • Summer Associate, Davis Wright Tremaine, Seattle
  • Public Interest Law Initiative Intern, American Civil Liberties Union, Chicago
  • Legal Intern, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Durham
  • Legal Intern, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, Chicago

Professional & Community Activities

  • Development Committee Member, Duke Student Publishing Company, 2012-present
  • Member, Training & Development Committee, American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law, 2010-present
  • King County Bar Association
  • South Asian Bar Association of Washington
  • Board Member, Duke Student Publishing Company, 2002-2009

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "Washington Rising Stars," 2012, and "Washington Super Lawyers," Thomson Reuters, 2013-2014
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