Steve Pollinger is a Principal in the Austin office of McKool Smith. Steve is a trial lawyer and registered patent attorney who has focused on patent cases and other intellectual property litigation for over 30 years. Steve’s practice is nationwide, at trial and on appeal. He has won courtroom victories in cases involving diverse software, electronics, and medical device technologies. Steve holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering, which allows him to understand the disputed technologies and to reduce the disputes to explanations and themes that are readily understood and compelling in the courtroom.

Steve served as a Judicial Clerk to the Honorable S. Jay Plager at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. He speaks frequently on intellectual property litigation.


Representative Matters

  • Good Technology. Represented Good Technology as lead lawyer in several patent cases in California, Texas, New York, and Georgia, against multiple competing companies over smartphone data synchronization and security software, resulting in several favorable settlements. The most recent case was tried to verdict in Northern California. 

  • Samsung v. Ericsson. Represented Ericsson in an ITC investigation initiated by Samsung over seven patents against Ericsson’s cellular base stations. Steve led the litigation team, argued two patents at the claim construction hearing, and examined expert witnesses at the hearing over three of the patents. The investigation was resolved by a settlement favorable to Ericsson.

  • MagSil & MIT v. Seagate et al. Represented the co-plaintiffs MagSil and MIT against the hard disk drive industry in Delaware in a patent case concerning pioneering read-head technology. Steve led the litigation team and argued the key hearings. The case settled favorably against most of the defendants after a successful claim construction decision. 

  • Representation of Halliburton in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill litigation. Represented Halliburton in the principal U.S. District Court litigation in Louisiana over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Steve led the McKool Smith expert witness team for Halliburton in defense of claims and in counterclaims over electrical, mechanical, and control issues.

  • FST v. Oracle. Represented the plaintiff FST, an Australian software company, against Oracle, the world’s largest database provider, in a patent infringement case concerning database technology. Steve ran the case and argued the key claim construction issues at the Markman hearing. The case settled favorably after the claim construction hearing.

  • Versata v. SAP. Represented the plaintiff Versata, an enterprise software company, against SAP, Europe’s largest software company, in a case alleging infringement of enterprise software patents. At trial, Steve put on the infringement case and cross-examined SAP’s technical fact and expert witnesses. The jury found Versata’s patents infringed by SAP and issued an award to Versata. Prior to trial, Steve argued the key claim construction and infringement hearings. At a subsequent new trial ordered on damages, Steve conducted the direct and cross-examinations of the parties' technical expert witnesses. The jury in the new trial awarded Versata a significant amount and found that SAP's modified products continue to infringe the patents. Final judgment has been entered on the verdict including interest.  

  • National Instruments v. MathWorks. Represented the plaintiff National Instruments, a worldwide software and instrumentation company, in its patent infringement case against MathWorks, a leading systems analysis and simulation software company. Steve led the litigation team in asserting National Instruments’ key patents covering its award-winning LabVIEW® software. At trial, Steve examined and cross-examined several witnesses and made key arguments to the jury. The jury returned a favorable infringement verdict, and the trial judge entered an injunction. The judgment and injunction were affirmed on appeal in National Instruments’ favor.

  • Visto v. Research in Motion. Represented Visto, a northern California software company, against RIM, the maker of BlackBerry® smartphones, in a number of U.S. and international patent litigation cases over smartphone synchronization software. Steve led Visto’s U.S. litigation team. The litigation resulted in a successful settlement to Visto, with RIM paying a publicly reported amount to Visto.

  • Visto v. Microsoft. Represented Visto against Microsoft in Visto’s patent infringement action over several of its patents directed to smartphone synchronization software. The case settled favorably for Visto shortly before trial.

  • Prompt v. 3M. Represented the defendant 3M in a patent case in which the plaintiff alleged infringement of patents concerning health-care management software. Steve led the defense for 3M. Steve argued the Markman hearing on the claim construction disputes, which resulted in a successful claim construction decision by the trial judge. Shortly thereafter, Steve obtained a favorable dismissal for 3M.

  • Alt v. Medtronic. Defended Medtronic in a patent suit brought by Dr. Alt over four patents directed to pacemaker and defibrillator controls. Steve led the defense team for Medtronic. Steve argued the key claim construction, infringement, and damages issues in the courtroom. The case settled favorably shortly before trial.

  • Ciena v. Nortel. Represented Nortel against Ciena in a case involving several patents of each company concerning high-density telecommunications technology. Steve led Nortel’s litigation team and argued key claim construction disputes. The litigation resulted in a favorable settlement.

  • Staktek v. Infineon. Defended Infineon in a patent and trade secret case involving memory density technology, resulting in a favorable settlement.

  • Harris v. Ericsson. Defended Ericsson against several patents asserted by Harris concerning cellular communications technology. Steve was brought in to argue key summary judgment motions. The case was resolved after a successful appeal for Ericsson.

  • Crystal Semiconductor v. OPTi. Represented the plaintiff Crystal Semiconductor in an appeal to reinstate a substantial jury verdict for infringement of patents directed to audio integrated circuits. The appeal was decided favorably for Crystal Semiconductor.

  • Freescale v. MediaTek. Represented Freescale in an ITC action asserting several Freescale semiconductor patents against MediaTek and its OEM customers. Steve led the litigation team. The litigation was concluded by a favorable settlement.


Rankings & Honors

  • Ranked among the top 250 Attorneys representing patent owners by Patexia's Intelligence Report (2023)
  • Ranked as a leading intellectual property lawyer by Chambers USA. (2014-2024)
  • Lauded as an "exceptional litigator" in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500
  • Named IP Litigation "Lawyer of the Year" by Best Lawyers in America (2024)
  • Recognized by "Best Lawyers in America" for Intellectual Property and Patent Litigation (2015-2024) and 2019 Austin “Lawyer of the Year” for Patent Litigation 
  • In its 2012 edition, Legal 500 described Steve as "very thoughtful and client oriented; a very good negotiator who understands how to get deals done."
  • Named "IP Star" by Managing IP (2013-2023)
  • Listed in Super Lawyers for Intellectual Property Litigation (2007-2024)


Community & Professional Activities

  • American Intellectual Property Law Association

Media & Events




J.D., with High Honors, University of Washington School of Law, 1993

  • Order of the Coif

M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, 1988

B.S., summa cum laude, Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, 1987

Court Admissions

  • State of Texas
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • The U.S. District Courts for numerous districts
  • The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
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