Darren Smith

Senior Associate
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 8361
Houston
United States
T:+1 713 651 8361
Darren Smith

Darren Smith

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Biography

Darren's focus is technology – he is interested in deep dives into electronic devices and using that understanding to provide clients with legal advice specific for the technology at issue. Darren's background includes a Master's degree in materials engineering and a Doctorate degree in electrical engineering. He performed research related to materials science and semiconductor manufacturing, and has past experience working as a programmer. With this technical background and over ten years of legal experience, he can interface with engineers, inventors, experts, and other lawyers to counsel regarding intellectual property, transactions, and litigation issues and their impact on the overall business.

Darren's technical expertise includes semiconductor devices, semiconductor packaging techniques, semiconductor fabrication processes, circuit design and simulation, magnetic devices, processor architecture, dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and flash memory design, wireless devices, and computer software. Darren has knowledge and experience with standards-based technologies, including 2G, 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, JDEC standards, ITU standards, and MPEG standards.

In addition to counseling and litigation, Darren assists clients before the U.S.P.T.O. in obtaining patents and around the world to obtain international patent protection. Darren focuses his practice by leveraging his own technical background in electrical engineering to assist clients in interacting with inventors to obtain clearly written and detailed descriptions of inventions. Darren's work has included preparing patent applications in a diverse range of technical fields, but focusing on telecommunications, circuitry, medical devices, and semiconductor devices and manufacturing.

Previously, Darren conducted research in the field of magnetic storage and magnetic devices. His research focused on developing new lithography and etching techniques for massively parallel processing at sizes smaller than 25 nm. These new techniques were used in fabricating and studying bit patterned media, a technology for expanding magnetic recording capabilities. During his research he authored or co-authored over a dozen peer-reviewed journal articles in engineering and science journals and presented at several magnetic materials and nanotechnology conferences.


Professional experience

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JD, University of Houston Law Center, 2013
Ph.D, Electrical Engineering, University of Houston, 2008
MS, Materials Engineering, University of Houston, 2007
BS, magna cum laude, Honors, Electrical Engineering, University of Houston, 2005

Darren was awarded outstanding presentation at the ECE Graduate Research Conference in 2006. During his graduate studies he was awarded the NSF-NAVY Fellowship and the Presidential Fellowship.

While in law school, Darren served as Notes & Comments Editor of the Houston Law Review and as a Research Assistant in the Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law. He also received the 2012 AIPLA Past President's Scholarship, which recognizes one student annually who has excelled in the study of intellectual property.

  • Texas State Bar
  • US Patent & Trademark Attorney

Some specific examples of technologies in patent portfolios that Darren has managed include:

  • Digital circuitry for memory devices
  • Mixed signal circuitry for audio processing
  • Semiconductor manufacturing for planar and non-planar transistors
  • Radio frequency identification (RFID) systems and security for those systems
  • Power supply circuitry for low voltage devices
  • Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) battery packs and charging and balancing of the battery packs
  • Large-scale off-grid power systems
  • Solar cell materials and design
  • Medical devices, surgical tools, medical imaging, and medical diagnostics software

Representative litigation experience:

  • Represented a major mobile device chip provider in defending a four-patent investigation brought at the International Trade Commission, where Complainant alleged that three patents covered various aspects of graphical processing units (GPUs) and one patent covered DDR memory controllers. After the claim construction hearing, the case favorably settled.
  • Represented a major mobile device chip provider in defending a seven-patent investigation brought at the International Trade Commission.  The Complainant alleged that the seven patents covered various aspects of graphical processing units (GPUs) contained within accused smartphones.  After accelerated discovery and a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the ALJ determined that no violation of section 337 had been established.  Over Complainant's objections, the full International Trade Commission declined to review the ALJ's initial determination of no violation.  Complainant appealed to the Federal Circuit, but subsequently dismissed the appeal as well as a parallel district court action.
  • Defended a large manufacturer of LCD displays in a patent litigation suit filed in the Eastern District of Texas; we led the joint defense group during both claim construction and summary judgment and obtained a summary judgment of non-infringement; the case later settled while on appeal.
  • Represented leading telecommunications provider in defending patent litigation suit in the Eastern District of Texas related to automated messaging.
  • Represented major technology company in defending patent litigation suit in Eastern District of Texas related to a semiconductor structure found  in microprocessors.
  • Texas Rising Stars, Thomson Reuters, 2018 - 2019
  • "Near neighbor averaging: A technique for improving image uniformity in aperture array lithography," J. Vacuum Science and Technology B, 2009
  • "Size Distribution and Anisotropy Effects on the Switching Field Distribution of Co/Pd Multilayered Nanostructure Arrays," IEEE Trans. on Magnetics, 2009
  • "Magnetization Reversal and Magnetic Anisotropy in Patterned Co/Pd Multilayer Films," Journal of Applied Physics, 2008
  • "Design and Fabrication of High Anisotropy Nanoscale Bit-Patterned Magnetic Recording Medium for Data Storage Applications," Electrochemical Society Transaction, 2007
  • "Intergranular Interactions of  Low Temperature Atmosphere Annealed Co/Pd Magnetic Multilayers," Journal of Applied Physics, 2007
  • "Ion Irradiation of Co/Pd Multilayers," Journal of Applied Physics, 2007
  • "On the Physics of Magnetic Anisotropy in Co/Pd Multilayer Films," Mater. Res. Soc. Symp. Proc., 2007
  • "Micromagnetics of Magnetization Reversal in Patterned Magnetic Recording Medium," IEEE Trans. on Magnetics, 2006
  • "The Influence of Bit Patterned Mediation Designs and Imperfections on Magnetoresistive Playback," IEEE Trans. on Magnetics, 2006
  • "Combinatorial Synthesis of Co/Pd Magnetic Multilayers," Journal of Applied Physics, 2006
  • "Fabrication of High Anisotropy Nanoscale Patterned Magnetic Recording Medium for Data Storage Application," Nanotechnology, 2006
  • "Magneto-resistive Playback Heads for Bit Patterned Medium Recording Applications," Journal of Applied Physics, 2005
  • "Physics of patterned magnetic medium recording: Design considerations," Journal of Applied Physics, 2005
  • "On the Physics of Magnetic Anisotropy in Co/Pd Multilayer Films," Joint Intermag, MMM Conference, 2007
  • "MR Playback Heads for Bit Patterned Medium Recording Applications," Intermag Conference, 2006
  • "Design Considerations for a Perpendicular Recording System," IEEE Conference on Nanoscale Design and System Integration, 2005
  • Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  • Houston Intellectual Property and Law Association (HIPLA)
  • American Intellectual Property and Law Association (AIPLA)
  • Houston Symphony Chorus, Past Member