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Pilar Stillwater

Phone: +1 415.365.7444
3 Embarcadero Center, 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Pilar Stillwater is a counsel in the Intellectual Property and Litigation groups in Crowell & Moring's San Francisco office. Her practice focuses on intellectual property and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on licensing and patent infringement disputes. Pilar has litigated breach of contract, patent infringement, trade secret, copyright, and other commercial cases involving a wide range of technologies, including software, pharmaceuticals, and wireless LAN technology. Pilar also counsels clients on litigation, licensing, and intellectual property issues in the software, medical device, and biopharmaceutical areas. She has represented universities, research organizations, corporations, and private individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants in federal and state courts.

Pilar handles all aspects of commercial and intellectual property litigation, from pre-suit investigations, through discovery, specialized patent proceedings, summary judgment motions, trials, and appeals. Her experience also includes assisting clients with the evaluation of existing licenses, disputes asserted by third parties, and rendering detailed opinions relating to patent invalidity, non-infringement, and unenforceability. Additionally, she has been admitted pro hac vice to practice before the Patent Trial and Appeals Board (PTAB)in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings. She is also experienced in technology transfer agreements, such as drafting licenses and advising start-up clients and potential investors on these and related agreements, including non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements.

Pilar has a sophisticated understanding of modern electronic discovery practice including drafting and negotiating orders governing electronically stored information (ESI) and protective orders guarding her clients’ most sensitive information and source code. She also has extensive experience with high volume electronic discovery as well as complex forensic collection and analysis of data and ESI.

Representative matters include:

  • Representation of the University of California against the University of Southern California and one of its faculty members for interference with contract, interference with prospective economic advantage, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of employee duty of loyalty, and commission of computer crimes, among other claims, resulting in a $50 million settlement and public apology from t over USC’s 2015 raid on an Alzheimer’s Disease research program at UC San Diego, a result reported on the front page of the Los Angeles Times as a “jaw-dropping conclusion” to “unprecedented litigation” concerning the protection of academic research. 
  • Representation of Cybergenetics in a patent infringement suit against its primary competitor involving computer-based probabilistic genotyping systems used for forensic analysis of evidence samples containing DNA mixtures.
  • Representation of a mid-size government contractor in a theft of trade secrets case involving whistleblower counterclaims.
  • Representation of defendants and plaintiffs in employment matters involving discrimination and wage-and-hour class actions.
  • Representation of universities and other research institutions in connection with disputes regarding rights under license agreements. Some matters settled on confidential basis.
  • Representation of software licensees in contentious software audits involving breach-of-contract allegations brought by global enterprise software providers. 
  • Representation of the University of California, San Francisco, in enforcing its patents for medical device technology.
  • Member of the team providing representation to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian government’s science agency, in enforcing its patent on wireless LAN technology in the United States, resulting in settlements of more than $200 million.

Prior to joining Crowell in 2012, Pilar was an associate in a prominent San Francisco litigation boutique firm, where she represented both plaintiffs and defendants in complex commercial litigation and patent infringement disputes in state and federal court.

Pilar is actively involved in pro bono work and has represented clients in debt-collection and copyright disputes. She successfully brought a third-party debt collection case to trial in collaboration with the East Bay Community Law Center; and supervises students participating in the University of California, Hastings’ Startup Legal Garage, a legal clinic providing services to startup organizations in the Bay Area. She currently represents victims of crimes in petitions for U nonimmigrant status (U-Visa) as a result of their assistance to law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.

Pilar earned her B.S. in molecular, cell, and developmental biology with highest honors in the major and college honors from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2004. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings, cum laude, in 2008, where she was the executive production editor of the Hastings Law Journal.


  • University of California, Santa Cruz, B.S. molecular, cell, and developmental biology (2004) highest honors
  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D. (2008) cum laude, Executive Production Editor, The Hastings Law Journal


Admitted to practice: California; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal and Ninth Circuits; U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California, and Eastern District of Texas.

Professional Associations

  • American Bar Association: Science & Technology and Intellectual Property Law Sections
  • California Lawyers Association: Litigation and Intellectual Property Law Sections
  • San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association

View More

"Unfair Import Investigations Rise at ITC—Particularly as to Trade Secrets," Crowell & Moring’s International Trade Law (March 18, 2021). Authors: Pilar Stillwater and Joshua Pond.
"Unfair Import Investigations Rise at the U.S. ITC in 2020—Particularly as to Trade Secrets," Crowell & Moring’s Trade Secrets Trends (February 11, 2021). Authors: Pilar Stillwater and Joshua Pond.
LITIGATION NOTE: Crowell & Moring Defeats Preliminary Injunction Motion, Securing Swift Dismissal of Case Seeking to Halt University of California Flu Vaccination Requirement (Dec.21.2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"Trade Secret Litigation Strategies: Tools for Managing Costs," Crowell & Moring’s Trade Secrets Trends (September 10, 2020). Authors: Pilar Stillwater, John E. Davis and Julia Milewski.
Crowell & Moring Represents University of California in Suit against Department of Homeland Security over International Student Directive (Jul.16.2020)
Firm News / Announcement
"Arthrex v Smith & Nephew: Is The Sky Falling, Or Is It Business As Usual At The PTAB?," Daily Journal (March 18, 2020). Authors: Pilar Stillwater, and Molly A. Jones.
"Cannabis Trademarks Not Stoned by PTO," IP Insights (May 7, 2019). Contacts: Anne Elise Herold Li, Pilar Stillwater, Molly A. Jones, Kainoa Asuega
Client Alert / Newsletter
Crowell & Moring Elects Six New Partners and Promotes 19 Associates to Counsel (Jan.09.2017)
Firm News / Announcement
"Lanham Act in Trade Secrets Case Triggered by Sending Misleading Email to Former Employer's Customers," Trade Secrets Alert (December 23, 2015). Contact: Pilar Stillwater
Client Alert / Newsletter
"Third Circuit Rules That FTC v. Actavis Covers More Than Cash," Antitrust Law Alert (July 2, 2015). Contacts: Keith J. Harrison, Astor Heaven, Anne Elise Herold Li, Pilar Stillwater
Client Alert / Newsletter

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with approximately 550 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm has offices in Brussels, Doha, London, Los Angeles, New York, Orange County, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Washington, D.C.

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