John S. Gibson

Orange County
Phone: +1 949.798.1330
3 Park Plaza, 20th Floor
Irvine, CA 92614-8505

John S. Gibson is one of the leading commercial, technology, and antitrust litigators in the nation. He is also a member of the firm's Management Board. A highly-decorated veteran of litigation battles and rescue missions, he has won celebrated trials and cases around the country for high-tech, international, and Fortune 500 companies as well as healthcare companies, professional sports teams, and pro bono clients seeking social justice. A master theme-builder and communicator, John emerged victorious as lead trial counsel in: the "trial of the decade" in Los Angeles for the Los Angeles Clippers, litigation attempting to stop the launch of 4G devices and cellular networks, class action challenges to healthcare and manufacturing clients’ business models, litigation brought by a putative class of a Fortune 10 client’s thousands of domestic distributors/retailers seeking $2 billion in damages, and antitrust litigation over global patent-licensing practices and terms for essential technologies. He is a partner in Crowell & Moring’s Litigation & Trial Department and serves on the firm’s Management Board, as co-chair of the Diversity Council, and as chair of the 3D Printing Digital Transformation and the Antitrust & Technology Working Groups.  In naming John one of The Best Lawyers in America, the editors described him as "very talented" and "effective and dedicated." In addition to being a successful courtroom advocate, John won the Burton Award for being one of the "finest law firm writers of 2019."

A former software engineer who did coursework in organic chemistry, physics, and biology at Harvard, he also partners with clients to help them create—and protect themselves within—digital transformation ecosystems, including 3D printing.

John is rated AV Preeminent 5.0 out of 5.0 by Martindale-Hubbell. This is Martindale's top rating, reflecting practice "at the highest level of professional excellence."* John is also a fellow in The Litigation Counsel of America honorary society for trial lawyers. He is listed as one of The Best Lawyers in America (2013-2020 editions). He was selected as one of the Savoy 2018 Most Influential Black Lawyers. And in 2019, John was honored as the “Attorney of the Year” by the Thurgood Marshall Bar Association.

Representative examples of his practice include:


  • Advising the world's leading 3D printer maker on ecosystem-building, standards-development, regulatory, and related issues.
  • Won summary judgment for leading technology company, defeating Unfair Competition Law claim in precedent-setting antitrust and contract litigation to determine FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing terms for a worldwide portfolio of standard-essential mobile-telecommunications patents. Also, helped win a verdict that his client did not breach its FRAND licensing obligations.
  • Won motion to dismiss leading mobile-device maker in federal antitrust litigation over company's role in technical standard-setting for 4G-LTE mobile technology—thus defeating a threatened injunction against launch of the company's 4G devices.
  • Represented a top Web-browser maker in IP and standard-setting issues regarding the next-generation hypertext markup language (HTML) for the World Wide Web.


  • Suing MasterCard & Visa in antitrust litigation over credit and debit card interchange fees charged to major merchant clients, including United Airlines, AT&T, Warner Bros., Kaiser Foundation, and UnitedHealth. 
  • Eliminated 95 percent of the largest antitrust jury verdict in the U.S. through a rescue mission by taking over the case after trial. The case involved online advertising in the mortgage lending industry.
  • Won judgment N.O.V., eliminating a $10 million jury verdict in a commercial real estate case, by taking over the matter after trial.
  • Defeated $2 billion in federal antitrust claims before trial for a Fortune 10 company in multiple cases brought by a putative class of the company's thousands of domestic distributors/retailers.
  • Won a high-profile trial defending the country's second-largest school district against a claim by a Trump partnership seeking $26 million in damages regarding development of an historic site in Los Angeles.
  • Turned the tables for one of the top companies in Asia by taking over declaratory relief litigation that another firm had lost for the company. Prevented Plaintiff from using collateral estoppel against the company in a second action for $30 million in damages.
  • Won summary judgment for a major airline in defending against the general contractor's construction-delay and fraud claims in federal court. The lawsuit involved a $40 million project at a major international airport.
  • Defeated a significant lease pass-through liability for a major bank that was the anchor tenant in a downtown office building affected by an assessment for commercial asbestos-abatement and fire-sprinkler retrofit work. Also recovered attorney's fees and costs for the client in the highly-publicized arbitration proceeding.


  • Served as lead trial counsel for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball franchise in historic diversity and inclusion-related litigation against the former owner, whose allegedly racist remarks published by TMZ caused the NBA to ban him from managing the team. Winning the trial helped rescue the team by enabling a widely-acclaimed sale of the team to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The crisis management and resolution also avoided a potential walkout of the NBA's star players.
  • Led investigations relating to recent college sports scandals.


  • Won summary judgment for industry-leading distributor of medical and surgical supplies in federal antitrust litigation over pricing policies.
  • Represented a top healthcare company in federal antitrust litigation over competitive business practices.

Mass Torts

  • John’s tort litigation experience began when he was the senior law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. His judge presided over all of the asbestos litigation then pending in the district. John helped the judge review the Sumner Simpson papers in camera and write several seminal opinions on theories of product liability, causation, and damages at the summary judgment, directed verdict, and post-trial stages. 
  • In practice, John has successfully defended litigation against manufacturers in the medical device, medical supplies, and metals industries as well as RCRA and CERLA litigation against owners of superfund sites.

John also served as in-house counsel and vice president for companies formed by the Robert M. Bass Group while helping to liquidate more than $6 billion in "bad bank" assets formerly held by American Savings & Loan Association. And he served on the Board of Directors of a related company.

In addition to private practice, John is very involved in the community. He has served on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Constitutional Rights Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Bar Association. A champion for diversity & inclusion and social justice, John has handled significant pro bono matters, including a litigation victory in which he obtained the first federal court order in the U.S. requiring a school district to accommodate the service dog of a student with autism. John has also been a volunteer youth basketball coach. Recently, he received the "Outstanding Community Member Award" from the University of California-Irvine Law School BLSA.

John holds a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a member of the Law Review, and an A.B. from Harvard College, where he was a John Harvard Scholar (top five percent (5%) of undergraduate students). After law school, he clerked for the Honorable John Feikens, United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan. John was also a recruited NCAA Division I student-athlete in basketball, and a teammate of NBA Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson. He was selected Honorable Mention on the McDonald's High School All-American Basketball Team by a panel that included legendary UCLA coach John Wooden.


Admitted to practice: California

(*AV Preeminent is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.)

Highlights, News & Knowledge

Speeches & Presentations

  • "Anti-suit Injunctions and the Future of FRAND Litigation," Intellectual Property Owners Association Webinar (January 9, 2020). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Resolving Competitor Disputes Generally and in the NBA: A Focus on NBA Game Protests." OCBA Young Lawyers Division HoopLaw CLE & Clippers Game Night (December 1, 2019). Speakers: John S. Gibson, and Akhil Sheth.
  • "Summit of Managing Partners: What Works & What Doesn’t?" 2019 LACBA Diversity and Inclusion Conference, Los Angeles, CA (September 27, 2019). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Emerging Technologies & Digital Transformation: Making it Work for You as a Government Contractor," Crowell & Moring's Ounce of Prevention Seminar (OOPS) 2019, Washington, DC (May 8, 2019). Moderator: Mana Elihu Lombardo; Speakers: Gail D. Zirkelbach and John S. Gibson.
  • "Developing Standards For 3D Printing," The Legal, Regulatory and Business Conference on 3D Printing, Chicago , IL (June 13-15, 2018). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Moving the Needle on Diversity & Inclusion," An Evening at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington, D.C. (March 15, 2018). Moderator: John S. Gibson.
  • "Recent Developments in Patent Laws," U.S. - China Intellectual Property Summit, Los Angeles, CA (October 13, 2017). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Get Your Swagger On: How to Roll With Style and Quiet Confidence," California Minority Counsel Workshop, Irvine, CA (July 19, 2017). Presenter: John S. Gibson.
  • "SEPs and FRAND: The US Approach," EU Competition Law: Current Issues in a Global Context, Brussels, Belgium (May 20, 2016). Presenter: John S. Gibson.
  • "Winning as a Team!" California Minority Counsel Program 26th Annual Business Conference, Los Angeles, CA (October 22, 2015). Presenter: John S. Gibson.
  • "Standard-Essential Patents and Competition Law," Queen Mary/Crowell & Moring Global Competition Conference, Brussels (May 2014). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Trying Your First Case: A Practitioner's Guide," American Bar Association Litigation Section Annual Conference (April 10, 2014). Speaker: John S. Gibson.
  • "Litigation Forecast Antitrust Webinar: Litigating SEPs and FRAND Terms," Crowell & Moring Webinar (February 12, 2013). Presenters: John S. Gibson, Mark A. Klapow, Beatrice B. Nguyen, and M. Brinkley Tappan.


Client Alerts & Newsletters

Media Mentions

Firm News & Announcements

Jan.27.2020 Three Crowell & Moring Partners Named to ‘Power List’ Recognizing Influential Minority Attorneys and Allies
Sep.20.2019 Super Lawyers Recognizes 82 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Across United States
Aug.16.2019 The Best Lawyers in America 2020 Recognizes 49 Crowell & Moring Attorneys, Three Selected as Lawyer of the Year
Aug.12.2019 National Bar Association Names John Gibson a Diversity in Tech & IP Award Winner
Mar.12.2019 Crowell & Moring Partners Scott Winkelman, John Gibson, and Rebecca Chaney Honored with Burton Awards' 'Law360 Distinguished Legal Writing Award'
Feb.22.2019 Crowell & Moring's Antitrust Group Listed as "Highly Recommended" in Global Competition Review's 19th Annual "GCR 100"
Feb.05.2019 Crowell & Moring’s John Gibson Named Attorney of the Year by Thurgood Marshall Bar Association
Oct.15.2018 Super Lawyers Recognizes 82 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Across United States
Aug.15.2018 The Best Lawyers in America 2019 Recognizes 38 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jul.12.2018 Crowell & Moring Partner John Gibson Recognized Among Savoy Magazine’s '2018 Most Influential Black Lawyers' List
Oct.31.2017 Super Lawyers Recognizes 79 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Across United States
Oct.31.2017 The Best Lawyers in America 2018 Recognizes 40 Crowell & Moring Lawyers
Nov.30.2016 Super Lawyers Recognizes 71 Crowell & Moring Lawyers Across United States
Aug.18.2016 The Best Lawyers in America 2017 Recognizes 38 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Mar.08.2016 Litigation Note: Crowell & Moring Wins Tying and Exclusive Dealing Case on Summary Judgment
Dec.18.2015 Crowell & Moring Establishes Endowed Diversity Scholarship at the University of California, Irvine School of Law
Oct.27.2015 Super Lawyers Recognizes 90 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Aug.25.2015 The Best Lawyers in America 2016 Recognizes 39 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Aug.28.2014 The Best Lawyers In America 2015 Recognizes 40 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Sep.03.2013 The Best Lawyers In America 2014 Recognizes 41 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Jan.29.2013 Crowell & Moring Releases Report, "Litigation Forecast 2013"
Sep.04.2012 The Best Lawyers in America 2013 Recognizes 44 Crowell & Moring Attorneys
Mar.28.2012 Crowell & Moring Boosts Antitrust Litigation Practice in California