Morningstar Law Group – Raleigh Law Firm – Durham NC Attorneys

John Kivus is a software attorney and intellectual property lawyer who focuses on helping software companies resolve disputes and other issues through contracts, transactions or litigation. In addition to software companies, John works with a variety of businesses and individuals on intellectual property issues and disputes.

A former software engineer, John spent five years working in software development for Amdocs, AT&T, Motricity, and NetApp before becoming an IP lawyer. His experience working on software projects for Bank of America, Costco, DirecTV and other large companies enables him to advise clients on the interplay between complex factual and legal issues.

John regularly draws on his technology background and works closely with experts on complicated technical matters, including analyzing software code and system architecture to help expedite the early stages of disputes. He also applies his knowledge and expertise of intellectual property law to help individual authors, artists, and photographers protect their IP.

A native of Maine, John currently lives in Raleigh with his wife, Elyssa, who is a wedding & portrait photographer.

What's the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Never let your book work get in the way of your education.


  • Best Lawyers: Litigation – Intellectual Property (2020-2022)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite: Young Guns (2018)
  • Super Lawyers Rising Star (2016-2021), 2021 Selectee for Intellectual Property Litigation

Representative Experience

  • Defended a large, publicly-traded software company against claims including breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unfair and deceptive trade practices, negligence, and conspiracy
  • Defended a privately-held software development company against claims including breach of contract, violation of N.C. Trade Secrets Act, federal Computer Fraud and Abuse and N.C. Computer Trespass Act, unjust enrichment, tortious interference with contractual relations, and violation of state unfair and deceptive trade practices act
  • Serves as a consultant for out-of-state counsel in software disputes involving breach of license and copyright infringement
  • Represents software developers against breach of license and copyright infringement claims
  • Defends software companies in disputes involving breach of contract and breach of warranty claims
  • Defends domain holders in Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) proceedings

Presentations & Publications

  • The Laws of Cloud Computing: Cloud Security and Data Privacy Laws in the United States (2015)
  • The Laws of Cloud Computing: Business Issues Arising From Cloud Computing (2015)


  • University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D. (2011)
    North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology: Online Editor and Staff Member
  • Clemson University, B.S. (2003) with honors
    Calhoun Honors Scholar


  • North Carolina State Bar (2011)
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina


  • Rotary Club of Crabtree