Tom Rubin

Position / Title: 
Non-Residential Fellow

Tom Rubin is Special Counsel at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Lecturer in Law at Stanford Law School, where he is teaching a seminar entitled Lawyering for Innovation in the fall of 2017. For many years he served as Chief Intellectual Property Strategy Counsel and the head of the copyright, trademark and trade secret group at Microsoft. He has vast expertise in intellectual property, technology, licensing, internet, media law, corporate governance and investigations.

At Microsoft, Rubin spearheaded complex litigation, enforcement, product development, licensing, marketing, and global policy strategies across Microsoft’s business divisions, including Windows, Office, Azure, Xbox and Bing. He also led many collaborative efforts with other leaders in the technology and content industries, including amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court and California Supreme Court; policy initiatives; and product partnerships. In 2010, the Los Angeles County Bar Association awarded him the Corporate Alternative Dispute Resolution Award for his leadership of the landmark User Generated Content Principles.

Rubin has previously taught two advanced copyright seminars at Stanford Law School (2011 and 2015) and one at Harvard Law School (2016), as well as a criminal justice seminar at Yale College (1989). A frequent speaker on legal, policy, and business issues related to content, innovation, and the Internet, he has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and addressed the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia, International Copyright Forum in China, International Copyright Technology Conference in Korea, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and many other government, academic and industry forums around the world.

Prior to Microsoft, Rubin was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he was one of the country’s first prosecutors of computer and intellectual property crimes. He was awarded the Department of Justice Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney in 1997. Among his notable cases were: a three-year international investigation and prosecution of over 40 spy shops for smuggling and selling sophisticated eavesdropping equipment, including a trial before then-Judge Sonia Sotomayor that resulted in the forfeiture of the largest chain of spy shops in the United States; the first large-scale investigation under the Economic Espionage Act, involving two major corporations and proprietary information related to financial services data; the first-ever prosecution involving the illegal interception of pager messages, involving cloning of pagers and interception of messages of the New York Police Department and the New York Fire Department; and the first-ever prosecution involving sports betting on the Internet, involving 21 defendants at nine companies located offshore.

Prior to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rubin was at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, where he represented, among others, Sony Corp. in the landmark digital audio tape recorder class action copyright litigation brought by music publishers; Time Inc. defending an investigative reporter subpoenaed by the subject of the expose; Infinity Broadcasting Co. in libel and election law matters involving Howard Stern; and Video Monitoring Services of America in a copyright action brought by CNN over a news clipping service.

He clerked for Judge Leonard B. Sand in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and Chief Judge James L. Oakes in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

A graduate of Yale and of Stanford Law School, he worked in the newsroom of The New York Times prior to law school. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Creative Commons; the Steering Committee of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; and the Board of Visitors at Stanford Law School. He was also a member of the Intellectual Property Commission of the MIT Media Lab and on the Board of Advisors of CCH’s Guide to Computer Law.