Venkat Balasubramani

Venkat Balasubramani

Tech-Internet Lawyer at Focal PLLC
Joined on September 10, 2007
Total Post Views: 235,896


Venkat Balasubramani is one of the founding attorneys of Focal PLLC, a law firm focused on serving internet, technology, and media clients. Venkat’s practice focuses on intellectual property disputes, including trademark, copyright, and domain name disputes, commercial disputes and appeals.

Licensed in both California and Washington, Venkat began his legal career as an associate in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP. Next Venkat clerked for the Honorable John C. Coughenour, then-Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. After completing his clerkship, Venkat joined the Business and Tax department of Perkins Coie LLP, Washington’s largest law firm. Most recently, Venkat spent three years at Newman & Newman, an intellectual property and litigation boutique where he worked on a variety of trademark, copyright and domain name disputes, commercial disputes, and appeals. He also has spent time as in-house counsel at WildTangent, Inc., a Redmond multimedia platform company, where he oversaw the corporation’s legal affairs, and negotiated and structured a variety of technology, software, and entertainment related transactions.

Except where otherwise noted, all postings by Venkat Balasubramani on CircleID are licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Featured Blogs

Disclosing Unique User IDs in URLs Doesn’t Violate ECPA - In re Zynga/Facebook

In separate lawsuits, plaintiffs alleged Facebook and Zynga violated the Stored Communications Act (in Zynga's case, also the Wiretap Act). The crux of plaintiffs' allegations was that when a Facebook user clicked on an ad or a link, the HTTP request sent by the browser included the user's Facebook ID and the address of the webpage the user was viewing when he or she clicked the link. An end user's request to play Farmville would result in the transmission of similar information to third parties. more

Court Says gTLDs Aren’t ‘Domain Names’ for Cybersquatting Purposes, Declines LRO Review of .delmonte

A Swiss Del Monte entity that had a license to use the "DEL MONTE" mark applies to operate the .delmonte generic top level domain (gTLD). Another Del Monte entity, based in Delaware, filed a "legal rights objection" (LRO) - under WIPO-established procedures - to the Swiss Del Monte's application. A three member panel sustained the Delaware company's LRO... The Swiss entity sued in federal court seeking a declaration that it had sufficient rights in the "DEL MONTE" mark to operate the TLD... more

Typosquatting Claims Against Security Researcher Are Legally Complicated - Gioconda v. Kenzie

Kenzie is a security researcher who has registered numerous domain names that are typographic errors of well-known trademarks (e.g., rnastercard, rncdonalds, nevvscorp, rncafee, macvvorld, rnonster, pcvvorld). He points the domain names to the actual sites in question (e.g., rncdonalds points to, but he is looking to demonstrate how these typo domains are used for "social engineering" attacks. more

Seventh Circuit Awards e360 a Whopping $3 in Damages Against Spamhaus - e360 v. Spamhaus

The lawsuit between e360 and Spamhaus was a long-running, tortured affair, and it looks like it finally came to a close. With e360 being awarded a whopping $3 in damages against Spamhaus. ... e360 sued Spamhaus, a UK entity, for damages allegedly resulting from being identified as a "known spammer." It sued Spamhaus for tortious interference and defamation. Spamhaus removed to federal court and asserted lack of personal jurisdiction. more

Multiple (Even Random or Garbled) Domain Names to Bypass Spam Filters Not a Violation

The California Supreme Court issued its opinion in Kleffman v. Vonage, a case certified from the Ninth Circuit. The California Supreme Court held that the transmission of "commercial e-mail advertisements from multiple domain names for the purpose of bypassing spam filters" does not violate California's spam statute. more

Judge Kocoras Cuts Down $11MM Award Against Spamhaus to $27,000 - e360 v. Spamhaus

e360 v. Spamhaus is one of these cases that's been around so long it feels like an old friend. A few years ago, e360 got some press for winning an eleven million dollar damage award against Spamhaus. In a less heralded development, following a bench trial on damages, last week a district judge modified e360's damage award down to only $27,000 on its tortious interference and defamation claims. more

CAN-SPAM Plaintiff Slammed With $800K Attorney Fee Award - Asis Internet v. Optin Global

A federal court granted a request for attorney's fees (in the amount of $806,978.84) against prolific CAN-SPAM plaintiff Asis Internet. I thought things were looking good for Asis - whose lawsuits have generated substantial blog fodder - when it recently obtained a 2.5 million dollar default judgment in a spam case. more

Spammer Convicted on Wire Fraud Charges - United States v. Diamreyan

Earlier this year Okpako Mike Diamreyan was found guilty of wire fraud. The district court recently denied his motion for judgment of acquittal. Diamreyan "was charged with devising a scheme to defraud known as an 'advance fee.'" As the court describes it, this is a "scam . . . where a person asks an individual to pay an advance fee in order to obtain a larger sum of money, which the individual [victim] never receives." ... Two things about the case struck me... more

Court Case Serves as a Good Reminder as to the Perils of Marketing Through Text Messages

A court in Illinois rejected a motion to dismiss case filed by defendants in a class action brought on behalf of plaintiffs who received SMS spam marketing for an animated film called "Robots". The court's ruling is not surprising, given the other cases which have come to a similar conclusion. more

Creditor Can Execute Against Domain Name Where Registry is Located: Office Depot v. Zuccarini

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling in Office Depot v. Zuccarini, agreeing that a creditor may levy against a domain name in the jurisdiction where the domain name registry is located. The decision is significant for two reasons. First, it affirms (or reaffirms) that domain names are property subject to the claims of creditors... more

Domain Names as Property Subject to Creditor Claims - Bosh v. Zavala

Most people take it for granted that domain names are property. As such, there shouldn't be much dispute that domain names are subject to the claims of judgment creditors. But I've seen enough resistance to this position that I thought a recent case was worth a quick mention. more

A Look at the Facebook Privacy Class Action (Beacon) Settlement

Facebook announced on Friday that it settled the class action challenging its "Beacon" advertising program. Net result? Facebook establishes a privacy foundation funded with $9.5 million (or what's left of this amount after attorneys' fees, costs, and class claims are deducted)... Beacon was an advertising program launched in November 2007 which (roughly speaking) allowed the transmission of purchase and consumer-related information between partner retailers, Facebook, and of course, your Facebook friends. I don't think many people have a sense of all of the contours of the program... more

Tony La Russa’s Legal Claims Against Twitter Look Tenuous

It was bound to happen of course - someone sued Twitter for not verifying a "celebrity" or brand account. Mashable reports on a lawsuit brought by Tony La Russa, who is apparently a manager for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. Mashable and others initially reported that La Russa and Twitter had resolved this one. It turns out they haven't after all. So what to make of Mr. La Russa's claims? more

Hannaford Data Breach Plaintiffs Rebuffed in Maine

A US District Judge in Maine largely granted a motion to dismiss brought by Hannaford in a big data breach case... According to the court, around March 2008, third parties stole up to 4.2 million debit and credit card numbers, expiration dates, security codes, PIN numbers, and other information relating to cardholders "who had used debit cards and credit cards to transact purchases at supermarkets owned or operated by Hannaford." more

Facebook’s TOS Fumble

One big story of the day was Facebook's new and improved terms of service which this Consumerist post flagged and which set off a firestorm of controversy... What Was Facebook's Mistake? Facebook could have avoided much of the controversy by providing its users some advance notice of the upcoming changes. more

Peer-to-Peer Gambling Wins in the Washington Court of Appeals

Adding to the flurry of gambling news of late, the Washington Court of Appeals issued a decision today that found peer-to-peer betting company ( did not violate Washington state gambling laws. The court runs through some other issues underlying the statute, but the net result is that Betcha is off the hook... for now. Read more... more

MySpace Wins Big Against Richter?

News rumblings are that MySpace is celebrating its $6mm award against Scott Richter and his entities... Who Won? ...I'm not sure what MySpace asked for (their complaint is probably not a reliable barometer) but the overall tone of the document written by the arbitrator is that Richter's companies shouldn't be held entirely liable for all damages to MySpace. (In fact, the arbitrator's decision takes pains to show both sides of Richter. Some would say this is typical in arbitration.) more

Virginia Supreme Court Rejects First Amendment Challenge to Spam Statute

Thanks to Prof. Goldman I see that the Virginia Supreme Court issued its opinion in Jaynes, the state-law criminal spam case that has wound its way through the courts there. It affirms the conviction and rejects the various challenges to Virginia's spam statute... As a side note I should say that it's not often one is actually excited to read an order in a case you're not involved with. This is definitely one of those instances where the excitement is palpable... The news reports billed the case as the first felony conviction for sending spam. more