Sara J. O’Connell



Sara O’Connell represents clients in matters involving intellectual property disputes and government investigations. A former federal prosecutor, she has successfully tried numerous cases to verdict and secured a dozen appellate victories. Most recently Ms. O’Connell has litigated claims of patent and trademark infringement, trade secret theft, and contractual interference, and represented clients in investigations by DOJ, FDA, DOD, and other agencies.

Ms. O’Connell was recognized as a Super Lawyers 2015 Rising Star. She is an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, where she teaches a litigation skills course. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. O’Connell was the communications director for a Member of Congress in Washington D.C..


Representative intellectual property matters include the following:

  • Invenger Tech. v. Enservio, Inc., CV 13-04828 (C.D. Cal.). Represented plaintiff-counter-defendant in case regarding trade secrets and contractual interference, resulting in settlement favorable to client.
  • American Automobile Association v. Zaid, CV 14-4040 (C.D. Cal.). Represented AAA in trademark infringement case, resulting in order to transfer registration of domain name to client.
  • Linex Tech. Inc. v. Hewlett Packard Co. et al., 13-cv- 00159 (N.D. Cal.). Defended Hewlett Packard in patent infringement case regarding wireless digital communication, resulting in summary judgment and costs awarded to client.
  • MicroUnity Systems Engineering, Inc., v. Apple, Inc., et al., 2:10-cv- 91 (E.D. Tex.). Defended Texas Instruments in patent infringement case relating to media processor technology, resulting in favorable settlement for the client.

Representative government investigation matters include the following:

  • Represented biotechnology company under investigation by DOJ.
  • Represented potential investor in company under investigation by DOJ and SEC.
  • USA v. Francis, 13-cr- 03782 (S.D. Cal.). Post-indictment representation of defendant charged with bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
  • USA v. Kaplan, 13-cr- 00377 (D. Nev.). Represented pharmaceutical company in trial regarding conspiracy to commit adulteration with intent to defraud.

Representative pro bono matters include the following:

  • Daire v. Lattimore, 812 F.3d 766 (9th Cir. 2016). Briefed and argued pro bono case resulting in en banc opinion overruling fifteen years’ of case law. Persons who suffer ineffective assistance of counsel at a state sentencing hearing are no longer barred from federal habeas corpus relief simply because they received a noncapital sentence.
  • Lopez-Rodriguez v. Mukasey, 536 F.3d 1012 (2008). Briefed and argued case resulting in panel opinion reversing BIA opinion on precedential grounds.


  • Super Lawyers 2015 Rising Star
  • Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services



  • California
  • U.S. District Courts in Southern, Central and Northern California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Professional Activities

  • Athena San Diego
  • San Diego Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Federal Bar Association, San Diego Chapter
  • Lawyers Club of San Diego


Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Case May Strengthen Trademark Protections,” San Diego Business Journal (September 2016)
  • “DOJ Shifts Focus to Individual Misconduct,” Los Angeles Daily Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal (2015)