San Jose Federal Judge Lucy Koh has been nominated to a post on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Obama to fill a judgeship vacant since December 11, 2015.
Koh, 47, is the first Korean-American to become a federal judge. She became the de facto Silicon Valley tech judge for her assignment of complex cases involving Apple, Samsung, Google, and a host of other technology firms.
Koh gained a national name for presiding over the long-running and big dollar patent battle between Apple and Samsung over the iPhone. The case produced a $119 million verdict in 2012, but is still going in her court.
She also oversaw a class action accusing Silicon Valley icons, such as Google and Apple, of a conspiracy to suppress wages by joining in an illegal anti-poaching deal, promising not to steal each other tech engineers.
She also oversaw privacy litigation against Google’s Gmail.
She has been on the U.S. District Court in Northern California since June 2010 following a unanimous vote (90-0) in the U.S. Senate.
Prior to her nomination to the federal bench Koh was appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Santa Clara County Superior Court bench. She worked as a litigation attorney with McDermott, Will and Emery in Palo Alto prior to her state appointment.
Koh specialized in appellate commercial and criminal law and intellectual property.
Koh grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and attended Harvard Law School. She is married to another judge, California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.