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Judge A. Howard Matz (Ret.)

Judge A. Howard Matz (Ret.)

Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks, Lincenberg & Rhow, P.C.
Senior Counsel
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Judge A. Howard Matz is Senior Counsel at Bird Marella.  After serving on the bench of the United States District Court for the Central District of California for nearly 15 years, he rejoined the firm he helped launch in 1983, then known as Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert & Matz P.C.  During his 15 years with the firm, he was one of the first attorneys listed in The Best Lawyers in America®.

As Senior Counsel, Judge Matz brings his considerable experience on both sides of the bench to represent clients in areas such as governmental and internal investigations, including matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the representation of lawyers and law firms, and non-patent intellectual property disputes, such as copyrights, trademark and trade secrets.  He serves as an arbitrator, mediator and Special Master.  He shares his rich experience as guidance to the firm’s younger attorneys. Judge Matz also advocates for the judiciary and is committed to significant public service and pro bono projects.

Judge Matz was nominated to the federal bench by President Clinton and received his commission in June 1998. He presided over numerous noteworthy cases and several of his decisions were ultimately adjudicated by the Supreme Court. Judge Matz served on many judicial committees, including the Ninth Circuit Model Jury Instructions Committee. He chaired the District Court’s Pro Bono/Pro Se Committee and under his leadership the Committee established the nation’s first walk-in Pro Se Clinic, which received widespread recognition. Additionally, Judge Matz was the first recipient of the “Vanguard Award” bestowed by the California State Bar for his contributions to intellectual property jurisprudence.


Among Judge Matz’s precedent-setting decisions are the following:

  • Became the first judge in the country to rule on challenges to the detention of alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.
  • Ruled that under CERCLA, various California water districts were entitled to recover costs from a military weapons manufacturer for cleaning up perchlorate-contaminated aquifers.
  • Enjoined real estate magnate and Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from using the word “Korean” (as opposed to “Koreantown”) in the names of some of his apartment buildings, finding that such practices violated the Fair Housing Act.
  • Held for the first time that the “sublicensing rule” from copyright and patent law should be extended to the licensing of trademark and related publicity rights. The Ninth Circuit affirmed that ruling by attaching Judge Matz’s decision as an appendix.
  • Issued precedent-setting rulings construing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in highly publicized cases, including those brought against Google by softcore pornography publisher Perfect 10 and against Veoh by music recording giant Universal Music Group.
    Ruled that the term “foreign official” in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act encompassed high-ranking executives of state-owned enterprises.
  • Ruled that Dick Clark Productions had the right to produce the Golden Globes award show under its contract with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.


  • Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, J.D. (1968)
  • Columbia University, New York, New York, A.B. (1965)  cum laude


New York, 1970
California, 1973


  • Member, Federal Judges Association
  • Member, Association of Business Trial Lawyers
  • Member, Federal Bar Association
  • Member, Los Angeles County Bar
  • Member, State Bar of California
  • Member, State Bar of New York


  • Senior District Judge, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 2011-2013
  • District Judge, United States District Court for the Central District of California, 1998-2011
  • Founding Partner, Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert & Matz, Los Angeles, California, 1983-1998
  • Partner, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP, Los Angeles, California, 1979-1983
  • Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California 1974-1979 (Chief of the Special Prosecutions Unit 1977 -1979)
  • Law Clerk to the Hon. Morris E. Lasker, United States District Judge, Southern District of New York, 1969-1970


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