Chris First

609 Main Street, Suite 3200 | Houston, TX 77002
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About Chris First

Chris First practices complex litigation, primarily in antitrust and patent matters. He is often consulted for his ability to combine outside-the-box thinking with a unique breadth of knowledge of technology, procedure, and local practice.

Chris began his career practicing at a large international law firm in Washington, DC. His practice included representing some of the largest companies in the world in high-stakes technology litigation and handling a broad array of legal matters for a growing education technology startup.

In 2013, Chris was asked to serve as a law clerk to the Honorable Roy S. Payne of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, Texas – the busiest federal trial court in the United States at that time.

While in Marshall, Chris handled over a thousand cases and assisted with large jury trials in antitrust, intellectual property, catastrophic personal injury, and civil rights matters. During his time at the Court, Chris also served as an acting law clerk to District Judge Rodney Gilstrap and then-Chief Judge Leonard Davis.

Chris graduated cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he earned the highest overall grade in Advanced Patent Law and Intellectual Property Litigation, as well as serving as a board member on the Journal of Technology Law and Policy. Chris was also named Pro Bono Student of the Year in 2010 for his pro bono work with indigent defendants in the 12th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Chris obtained a breadth of experience prior to attending law school, spending a year as the only undergraduate research assistant in a groundbreaking search and rescue robotics lab, serving on the Board of Directors of a major entertainment venue, and working for two years as a management intern for the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Representative Cases
  • Value Drug, et. al. v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals, et. al., (E.D. Pa.): Chris worked as lead patent trial counsel for a group of national drug wholesalers in a national antitrust suit alleging overcharges for the drug Colcrys ®. After defeating motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and a motion for judgment as a matter of law, and a four-week trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the case settled on favorable terms only days before being submitted to the jury. More details: over-gout-drug-colcrys
  • Enventure Global Technologies, Inc. v Weatherford U.S., L.P., (S.D.Tex.): Chris successfully defended Weatherford U.S. L.P. (one of the largest oil field services companies), against patent infringement allegations brought by Enventure Global Technology, Inc., an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell that holds the largest market share for expandable tubing. Prior to suing Weatherford over 11 patents, Enventure won a $16 million judgment based on the same patents against another company. In the face of Enventure’s claims for tens of millions of dollars in damages against Weatherford, Chris and the team at Heim, Payne & Chorush secured court- ordered dismissals of five patents and filed inter partes review (IPR) petitions at the Patent and Trial Appeal Board (PTAB) seeking to invalidate the remaining Enventure patents. In March, April, and May 2022, the PTAB issued final decisions invalidating all asserted claims in five of Enventure’s patents. The following month, Eventure’s claims were dismissed with prejudice. More details: Oil & Gas Service Provider Scores Patent Infringement Win (
  • In re: Seroquel XR (Extended Release Quetiapine Fumarate) Antitrust Litig., (D. Del.): Chris represents plaintiffs in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit relating to the brand name pharmaceutical Seroquel XR ®.
  • King Drug Company of Florence, Inc. et al., v. Abbott Laboratories et al., (E.D. Pa.): Chris represents plaintiffs in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit relating to the brand name pharmaceutical AndroGel.
  • Weatherford Technology Holdings, Inc. and Weatherford US, LP v. Tesco Corporation, Tesco Corporation (US), and Tesco Offshore Services, Inc., (E.D. Tex.): Chris represented Weatherford U.S. L.P. in a patent case brought in 2017 against Tesco Corporation (now owned by Nabors Industries Ltd.). The technology involved a Weatherford patent covering equipment used in downhole oil and gas operations. Chris and other attorneys at Heim, Payne & Chorush obtained favorable Markman rulings and successfully defeated a mandamus petition on various venue issues at the Federal Circuit. The case was tried before a jury in December 2018. On the fourth day of trial, a favorable settlement was reached during HPC’s cross-examination of Tesco’s damages expert.
  • In re Niaspan Antitrust Litigation, (E.D.P.A.): Chris represents plaintiffs in an ongoing antitrust lawsuit relating to the brand name pharmaceutical Niaspan ®.
  • Wi-LAN, Inc., Wi-LAN USA, Inc., and Wi-LAN Labs, Inc. v. LG Electronics, Inc., LG Electronics USA., Inc., and LG Electronics Mobilecomm USA., Inc., (S.D. Cal.): Chris served as counsel for WiLAN Inc. and WiLAN USA, Inc. in a case filed in 2017 against LG Electronics in the Southern District of California. WiLAN’s asserted patents covered various features of LTE/4G and 5G cellular technology. In May 2019, the Court issued a Markman order in favor of WiLAN on over 30 issues. In parallel with the lawsuit, Chris and the team at Heim, Payne & Chorush defeated numerous IPRs filed by LG, which allowed WiLAN to continue to enforce those patents in the litigation. As part of that proceeding, Chris was one of the first attorneys in the country to successfully brief, argue, and obtain enforcement IPR estoppel over opposition from defendants about its scope before the District Court. The case was resolved shortly after that landmark win, only shortly before trial.
  • Rapid Completions LLC v. Weatherford U.S. L.P., (E.D. Tex.): Chris represented Weatherford U.S. L.P. from 2015 through 2020 in a case brought by Rapid Completions LLC in the Tyler division of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Weatherford was accused of infringing multiple patents directed to downhole fracking procedures and equipment used in the oil and gas industry. Rapid Completions sought tens of millions of dollars in damages against Weatherford. In response, Chris and the team at Heim, Payne & Chorush filed five IPR petitions, all of which were granted. The PTAB issued final decisions invalidating all asserted claims that Weatherford was accused of infringing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit subsequently affirmed the PTAB’s invalidity rulings. As a result, Rapid Completions’ lawsuit claims were dismissed with prejudice in October 2020.
  • TecSec v. IBM (E.D. Va.; Fed. Cir.; U.S. Supreme Court): When a computer security pioneer faced an adverse Federal Circuit decision in a suit against industry giant IBM, most observers thought the case was over. Instead, Chris saw an opportunity and stepped in to design a groundbreaking strategy to allow his client to dispute the lower court’s erroneous claim construction for a second time before the Federal Circuit due to the summary nature of the Court’s prior decision. After accepting his argument, the Federal Circuit reversed the lower court decision, saving the case and allowing Chris’s client to proceed. The United States Supreme Court denied IBM’s petition for certiorari. Legal commentators have since written about the significance of the Federal Circuit’s decision. Chris’s work on the case was a major reason he was one of the youngest attorneys ever to be selected as a “Rising Star” by Washington Super Lawyers magazine.
  • Saint Lawrence Comms. V. Motorola, (E.D. Tex.): Chris worked with lawyers from AZA to represent a patent holder in the cutting-edge HD voice space against Motorola. Chris provided guidance through a difficult issue that required a combination of detailed technical knowledge and intimate experience with the local rules and practices of the Eastern District of Texas. With Chris’ help, AZA secured a substantial verdict against Motorola. The jury also found that the infringement was willful, allowing the judge to potentially triple the damages award.
Awards & Honors
  • Lawdragon 500, Leading Litigators in America, 2024, Complex Business Disputes and Antitrust Matters
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Litigators in America, 2023, Patent Litigation
  • Texas Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, 2013, 2018-2020
  • Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch – 2021-present
Lawdragon 500 2024

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