William J. Elfving

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William J. Elfving is a judge in the Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.[1][2] He was appointed to the bench on November 13, 1997. Prior to his appointment he was in private practice for 30 years. He is the chair of the Superior Court Arbitration/ADR committee.[2] He is most notable because of his many rulings on specialized areas of intellectual property law.

Notable rulings[edit]

In a 1999-2000 case involving the DVD crack DeCSS, which allows users to evade copyright protections on DVDs allowing them to directly upload content onto their hard disk drive, he first denied the industry's "very broad request" for a temporary restraining order banning websites from the sale or distribution of the program or linking to places where it might be found,[3][4][5] but later issued a preliminary injunction barring sites from selling or distributing the program.[6] (See Universal v. Reimerdes.)

On September 21, 2008, he issued a summary judgment finding for Google in a closely watched age discrimination lawsuit, concluding that former director of operations, Brian Reid, had not supplied to the court sufficient evidence supporting the claims that he was fired on February 2004 because of his age.[7] Reid alleged he was fired because he "didn't fit in with the company's youthful culture."[8]

In 2009, he found that Yvonne Wong, a dentist, could continue to sue a couple who posted a negative review on Yelp alleging that "those statements libeled her and caused her emotional distress". In her lawsuit, Wong alleged that Tai Jing and Jia Ma defamed her by complaining on Yelp about the treatment their son received when he was 4 years old; they alleged the boy became lightheaded from laughing gas and had received a filling containing mercury.[9] The ruling was reversed by the California Sixth District Court of Appeals in 2010 [10]


  1. ^ "Family Courthouse - The Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara". Scscourt.org. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 
  2. ^ a b "Honorable William J. Elfving, Judge, Santa Clara County Superior Court". legalspan.com. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Suit Seeks to Stop DVD Copying". New York Times. December 30, 1999. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ "DeCSS temporarily banned from the Net · The Register". The Register. January 24, 2000. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  5. ^ Macavinta, Courtney (January 24, 2000). "Court blocks online publishing of DVD decryption tool - CNET News". CNET News. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Judge bars distribution of DVD copy software". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. January 23, 2000. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Google Wins Age Bias Lawsuit". CBS News. February 11, 2009. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  8. ^ Evers, Joris (July 26, 2004). "Ex-employee alleges Google discriminates". Network World. Retrieved November 21, 2011. 
  9. ^ Wendy Davis (March 23, 2009). "Court Allows Dentist To Sue Writer Of Bad Yelp Review". Media Daily. 
  10. ^ "YVONNE WONG, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. TAI JING et al., Defendants and Appellants., case H034059". November 9, 2010. 

External links[edit]