Joanna Mendoza  -  Partner

  • Summary of Practice Areas:
  • Intellectual Property
  • Registration, Transactions and Litigation
  • General and Complex Business Litigation
  • California and Federal Trial Courts
  • Writs and Appeals
  • Entity Formation
  • General Business Transactions
  • Media Personality Representation
  • Film and Television Production
  • Educational Background
  • BA: University of California, San Diego, cum laude, 1987
  • JD: University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1990

Narrative Description of Practice Areas:

Joanna Mendoza specializes in complex business litigation with an emphasis on intellectual property matters. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in civil jury trials over the years, and has expanded her experience to include an extensive appellate and writ practice.

More specifically, Ms. Mendoza's practice includes litigation and transactional matters relating to: copyright, trademark and patent disputes; trade secret misappropriation; copyright and trademark registration; licensing and other technology transfer instruments; Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings; WIPO/ICANN domain name dispute resolution proceedings; employee agreements protecting trade secrets; assignment of employee intellectual property rights; non-competition and non-solicitation agreements; representation of media personalities; film and television production transactions and royalty audits. Her practice includes small entity formation and general business transactions for select business clients.

Judicial and Quasi-Judicial Positions:

Ms. Mendoza is a judge pro tem for both Sacramento County Superior Court and El Dorado County Superior Court for the purposes of conducting settlement conferences. She has been actively involved in this role since 2004 and finds it very rewarding.

Since 2004 Ms. Mendoza has also been on the fee arbitration panel for the Sacramento County Bar Association's attorney/client fee dispute program, having presided over several such arbitrations over the years and issuing detailed rulings.

Publications, Speaking Engagements and Honors:

Ms. Mendoza is the author of law articles for the business press including: "Secrets to Success: Maintaining Trade Secrets into the Twenty-first Century" published in The Fresno Business Journal, August 1997; "Trade Secret Laws Won't Help Unless You Protect Your Ideas" published in The Sacramento Business Journal, February 1998; and "Intellectual Property Protection for Software" published online by PatentCafe.com, October 2000. She is also an author of a chapter entitled "Compelled Disclosure by Regulation: Making Sure Big Brother Keeps Your Secrets" in the book recently published by the California State Bar, Intellectual Property Law Section - TRADE SECRET LITIGATION AND PROTECTION IN CALIFORNIA (2005, Kay & Edelson, ed.).

She has made presentations to local bar groups on issues related to intellectual property licensing, copyright law, trademark law, trade secret litigation, including a presentation about trade secret law issues at a California State Bar Intellectual Property Section conference for in-house counsel in San Jose in April 2005 and, most recently, at the State Bar's Section Education Institute in January 2007 where she spoke on practical and ethical issues relating to Protecting Trade Secrets During Litigation.

The CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar - University of California) has selected Joanna Mendoza to sit on its State Bar - CEB Business & Intellectual Property Law Advisory Committee for the past three years (2004-present). The committee addresses CLE issues and publication needs for the legal community in California.

Joanna Mendoza was selected as the only Sacramento attorney in the field of Intellectual Property Litigation to be named a Northern California "Super Lawyer" in 2005. She was named again in 2007. San Francisco Magazine, using selective criteria, identifies the top 5% of all Northern California lawyers to be named "Super Lawyers" each year in the different practice areas. Less than 10% of all named Northern California "Super Lawyers" practice in Sacramento. She is also rated AV by her peers as published by Martindale Hubbell.

Ms. Mendoza appeared on the May 2007 Sky Radio Network (and NPR) show presenting Forbes' choices for 10 of "America's Most Influential Women in Government, Technology, Business and the Law." Selected professional women were interviewed during this in-flight radio show on all domestic airline flights and in-flight magazines, and Ms. Mendoza provided an interview on the business risks associated with trade secret litigation.

Local Bar Activities:

Ms. Mendoza served in the Sacramento County Bar Council for three years as an elected member at large (January 1999 - December 2001), and remains involved in various committees and bar activities. She has been on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Law Foundation, the charitable arm of the Sacramento County Bar Association from 2000-2006, serving as its vice-president.

Intellectual Property Related State and Local Bar Activities:

Ms. Mendoza is an active member of the Intellectual Property and Litigation Sections of the California State Bar, as well as the Trade Secrets Standing Committee for the IP Section. She was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the California State Bar in 2003, serving as the Committee's secretary for the 2005/2006 term and vice-chair for the 2006/2007 term. She will be the Chair of the State Bar's Intellectual Property Section during the 2007/2008 term. In that capacity she has also been the co-chair for the Intellectual Property Section's Liaison program with state law schools. Ms. Mendoza has also participated in and chaired the annual Washington D.C. delegation trip when the IP Section delegation meets with officials from the Patent and Trademark Office, Copyright Office, federal judiciary and legislative representatives to discuss issues of concern for California intellectual property practitioners. She is also the former chair if the Intellectual Property Section of the County Bar, having served for several years as an officer of that section.

Ms. Mendoza has been an active proponent to reform California's Uniform Trade Secret Act. Through her membership in the Executive and Trade Secret Standing Committees of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar, Ms. Mendoza initiated reform legislation that was ultimately approved by the State Bar Board of Governors. Thus, during the 2005/2006 California legislative session, she saw the presentation of her effort in California Senate Bill 1636 (Ackerman), proposing to reform the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the California Public Records Act with regard to the handling of trade secret and confidential business information. One aspect of that legislation was adopted during that legislative session, and she has continued to pursue approval of the remaining proposals to improve California's system of justice with regard to these unique types of lawsuits.

Federal Bar Activities:

Ms. Mendoza served an extended term as co-chair of the Lawyer Representatives for the United States District Court, Eastern District of California (2003 and 2004, Lawyer Representative; 2005 and 2006, co-chair), sitting on the Eastern District's Judicial Advisory Committee (2005 and 2006), the Eastern District Conference Planning Committee (co-chair, 2005 and 2006), and the Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives Coordinating Committee (2005 and 2006). During 2004 through 2006, Ms. Mendoza served as the chairperson for the Open Doors to Federal Court's program for the Eastern District of California. She previously served on the Executive Committee of the Sacramento Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, acting as its Treasurer and Membership Chair (2003-2004). She currently sits on the committee for drafting new patent rules for the Eastern District of California (2006 - present).


Joanna Mendoza