Chris is Intellectual Property Partner at DP&F and has been practicing in the areas of trademark, trade secret, copyright and business law since 2005, in a range of industries which include: internet and high technology, agribusiness, food, wine, arts and entertainment. Chris handles international and domestic I.P. registration, transactions, litigation and enforcement matters, including representation before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and U.S. federal courts.
Chris has represented Fortune 500 companies, publicly-traded companies, and large private entities worldwide in protecting their I.P. This includes anti-counterfeiting, gray market and parallel importation, unauthorized online dealer enforcement, trade secret theft and misappropriation matters, as well as, trademark, copyright and patent infringement disputes. He has managed international I.P. portfolios for several well-known companies, has acted as U.S. trademark counsel to numerous foreign clients and counsel, and has acted as trusted local counsel for significant concerns in I.P. litigation before the federal district courts of California. Chris regularly practices before the Northern, Eastern, and Central Districts of California, and has litigated in numerous federal courts outside of California, including the Eastern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the Northern District of Illinois, the Southern District of Florida, and the District of South Carolina.
Prior to joining the firm, Chris was partner at an international intellectual property boutique in Monterey, California, with satellite offices in San Jose, Seattle and Bangkok. During this time, Chris taught classes in intellectual property law at the Monterey College of Law. Chris is actively involved with the State Bar of California as the Vice Chair of Programs and Publications on the Executive Committee of the Business Law Section, overseeing the Section’s provision of continuing legal education programs and legal practice publications for over 8,000 California attorney-members. Chris formerly served as Chair of the Agribusiness Standing Committee from 2010-2011. Outside of his practice, Chris is a member of the Board of Directors of Hands Across The Valley, a Napa Valley nonprofit that is the only organization that raises money specifically for the safety net food programs in Napa County.
Chris graduated from University of California, Berkeley in 2000 with a degree in Psychology, and a minor in Slavic languages and literature. Chris was recognized by the U.C. Berkeley Slavic Department for his excellence in the study of Russian language, and was inducted into the National Slavic Honors Society as Lifetime Member. Chris was also recognized for his performance and appointed Undergraduate Student Laboratory Instructor by the U.C. Berkeley Molecular and Cell Biology Department for the Fall 1998 semester. After college, for two years Chris worked with the Napa chapter of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Napa River on steelhead salmonid and benthic macroinvertebrate survey projects, while concurrently working as a music instructor in Walnut Creek, California. In 2002, Chris attended the Santa Clara University School of Law, where he was recipient of the CALI Award of Excellence for the Future in the Study of Evidence, and upon graduation in 2005 was conferred with the High Technology Law Certificate of Specialization in Intellectual Property Law by the SCU High Technology Law Institute.
- J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law (2005)
- B.A., University of California, Berkeley (2000)
Writings and Presentations
- “Protecting Your Cannabis Brand” Webinar, sponsored by the National Cannabis Industry Association, May 16th, 2020.
- “Wine Law: An Introduction”, CLE Program Moderator, sponsored by the California Lawyers Association, July 2nd, 2020.
- “Lodi Vineyard & Wine Economics Symposium,” Wine & Roses Conference Center, Lodi CA, June 27th, 2019.
- “Private Label 101: What You Need to Know Before Starting A Brand,” at the 27th Annual Wine Industry Financial Symposium, Napa CA, September 2018
- U.S.P.T.O. Wine Industry Roundtable California, at Domain Carneros, Napa CA, September 2018
- “The Basics of I.P.,” Sonoma State University, April 2018
- “I.P. Fundamentals in the Cannabis Industry,” Sonoma County Growers Alliance, March 2018
- “The Produce Packaging Seminar,” sponsored by Western Growers Association – Salinas, Visalia and Sacramento, Summer 2017, http://producepackagingseminar.com/
- “Nuts & Bolts: Intellectual Property,” Napa County Women Lawyers, July 2017
- “Packaging the Brand,” Western Grower & Shipper Magazine, May/June 2017
- “Protecting IP Rights in the Food and Beverage Industry – Leveraging Trademarks, Copyrights and Patents to Protect IP From Product Development to Marketplace Delivery,” Strafford Webinars, April 2017
- “Responding to Alcohol Trademark Cease and Desist Letters” for Riverside Lawyer Magazine, May 2016 issue
- “Trademarks and Branding in Wine” Anderson Valley Winegrowers Association, March 2016
- “Challenges for Geographical Indications (GIs) in the context of the ICANN new generic Top-Level Domains (gTLDs)” A Manual for GIs Groups to Navigate the New Environment by Scott Gerien and Chris Passarelli, January 2016
- “Music in the Tasting Room: Are you Breaking the Law” interview with Emily Rasmussen, Wine Business Monthly, December 2015 Click Here for Subscription Access
- “Death, Taxes and Data Breach: The Legal Lessons” for Napa Valley Vintners at Chimney Rock Winery, Napa California, August 2015
- “Intellectual Property in the Beverage Industries” at the 6th Annual Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries: Practical Issues in the Alcohol Industry Conference presented by The Seminar Group, Portland Oregon, July 2015
- “Trade Secrets in the Agricultural Industries” at the American Agricultural Law Association Regional Conference, Woodland California, June 2015
- “The New gTLD Program, Trademark Clearinghouse and Geographical Indications” at Intellectual Property in the Food & Beverage Industries, Napa California, October 16 & 17, 2014
- “The Legal Complexities of Unauthorized Dealers, Grey Market and Parallel Importation” the State Bar of California 87th Annual Meeting, September 2014
- “Meet the New Digital Frontier: .wine” – Wines & Vines/Practical Winery & Vineyard, September 2014
- “Domain Enforcement and Brand Protection – The Rise of the gTLD’s” BLS Hot Topics MCLE Series, July 2014
- “Careers in Business Law,” Santa Clara University, March 2013
- “The Perils of Hidden Data,” Napa CA, November 2012
- “I.P. & Branding Strategies,” Western Growers Association, Irvine CA, March 2012
- “Wine Industry Branding,” Oak Ridge Winery, Lodi CA, June 2011
- “Careers in Business Law,” Monterey College of Law, February 2011
- “Workouts and Restructuring Agreements,” BLS Hot Topics Series, January 2011
- Trademark Enforcement on the Digital Frontier, WG&S Magazine, December 2010
- “Departing Employees and Intellectual Property,” State Bar Annual Meeting, September 2010
- Agricultural Law Sourcebook, California State Bar, Business Law Section, Co-Author & Editor, April 2010
- “Labeling for Brand Owners,” 2010 World Ag Expo MCLE Program, February 2010
- “Essentials of I.P. in Business Law,” California State Bar Live MCLE Webinar, January, 2010
- “I.P. in Agribusiness,” 2009 World Ag Expo MCLE Program, February, 2009
Associations and Recognition
- Hands Across the Valley – Board of Directors, Member, 2018 – present
- Executive Committee of Business Law Section, California Lawyers Association, 2020 – present
- Lawyers in the Library – Benicia Public Library, Solano County, 2020 – present
- Agribusiness Standing Committee, California Lawyers Association, Advisor
- Executive Committee of Business Law Section, State Bar of California, Vice Chair of Marketing and Outreach, 2014-2015
- Business Litigation Standing Committee, Business Law Section, State Bar of California, Co-Founder, 2014
- Executive Committee of Business Law Section, State Bar of California, Vice Chair of Programs and Publication, 2012 – 2014
- Agribusiness Standing Committee, Business Law Section, State Bar of California, Chair, 2010 – 2011, Vice Chair 2009 – 2010
- International Trademark Association, Member
- Ag4Youth Upvalley Ranchers – January 2013 – 2018
- California Association of Winegrape Growers, Associate Member, May 2014 – present
- Western Growers Association, Associate Member, March 2014 – present
- Admitted to the State Courts of California
- Admitted to the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California
- Admitted to the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California
- Admitted to the Federal District Court for the Central District of California
- High Technology Law Certificate of Specialization in Intellectual Property Law, High Technology Law Institute, Santa Clara University
- Dobro Slovo, National Slavic Honor Society: Lifetime membership award recipient, 2000
- State Bar of California, Business Law Section: In 2008, the BLS waived its five-year practice requirement for Chris’s appointment as member of the Agribusiness Standing Committee, based upon his extraordinary volunteer efforts, which included the coordination and execution of over twenty (20) Continuing Legal Education programs in the areas of agribusiness, intellectual property and business law.
- Produce Packaging Seminar
- Vichy Elementary School Starry Night Auction (2015, 2017)
Christopher J. Passarelli Appointed Vice Chair of California Lawyers Association Business Law Section
DP&F Showcases Domain Enforcement Expertise
DP&F Sr. Counsel Chris Passarelli’s Article on the <.Wine> TLD featured in the September Issue of Practical Winery & Vineyard Magazine