Photo: Sherman Chu

Chris Ridder


Work: Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP

Region: San Francisco / Silicon Valley


Tel: (650) 646-3264

Skype: chris.ridder

Social Media

Twitter: @chrisridder

Facebook: facebook.com/chris.ridder

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/cridder


Chris Ridder is an attorney who has been practicing technology, intellectual property and business law in San Francisco and Silicon Valley since 2002. He is a partner at Ridder, Costa & Johnstone, LLP and a Non-residential Fellow at Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society.
Practice areas include: copyright (including fair use and open source), trademark, trade secrecy, privacy, intermediary liability, software development, computer security, free speech, defamation, and other issues at the intersection of law and technology.


Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP, Partner
Dec. 2009 - Present
  • Advise clients on a broad range of issues at the intersection of technology and law, including: copyright, trademark, trade secrecy, intermediary liability, software development/open source, internet terms and policies, free speech, fair use, defamation, invasion of privacy, computer security, data privacy. Conduct intellectual property and related diligence in mergers and acquisitions. Represent clients in litigation and adversarial proceedings.
Stanford Law School, Center for Internet & Society, Residential Fellow
July 2007 - July 2009
  • Advised clients (including filmmakers and public advocacy organizations) regarding copyright, trademark, right of publicity, First Amendment and media law issues. Litigated copyright and First Amendment cases, including Fairey v. Associated Press, Rowling v. RDR Books, Yoko Ono Lennon et al. v. Premise Media, Golan v. Holder. Assisted in teaching “Legal Rules for the Metaverse,” a law school course examining legal issues in virtual worlds. Co-authored amicus brief in Jacobsen v. Katzer, a Federal Circuit case regarding the enforceability of open source and free software licenses. Public speaking, writing about emerging legal issues related to technology, privacy, computer security and the internet.
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP, Associate
Oct. 2004 - May 2007
  • Litigated complex business disputes including patent litigation (digital microwave radio technology, semiconductors), technology-intensive contract cases. Participated in internal investigations. Drafted settlement agreements, patent licenses and joint development agreements. Conducted intellectual property and litigation due diligence in mergers and acquisitions, including Apax Partners’s $7.75 billion acquisition of Thomson Learning, Veritas Software’s $13 billion business combination with Symantec Corp., Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Sheridan Healthcare. Managed complex e-discovery.
Fish & Richardson, P.C., Associate
Oct. 2002 - Sept. 2004
  • Litigated complex patent, trademark and copyright matters, including significant software patent cases. Created a retrocomputing laboratory for searching and evaluating prior art software. Worked closely with expert witnesses. Prepared pleadings and briefs, including infringement/invalidity contentions, expert reports and summary judgment motions. Co-managed firmwide email list regarding open source legal issues.
U.S. District Court, Central District of CA (Judge Pfaelzer), Law Clerk
August 2001 - August 2002
  • Drafted orders in a diverse range of cases, including claim construction and summary judgment orders in patent cases relating to computer technology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Assisted with two large trials. Participated in settlement conferences.


University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Juris Doctor, May 2001
Berkeley Technology Law Journal
. Co-founder, boalt.org.

University of California, Santa Cruz
1989 - 1993

B.A., Sociology; Minor, Journalism, 1993
Co-founder, Fish Rap Live! newspaper. Chair, Cowell Senate.