United States > Litigation > Trade secrets
Index of tables
- Jenner & Block LLP
Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
- Victoria Cundiff - Paul Hastings LLP
Thomas Frongillo -
Fish & Richardson P.C.
- Dale Giali - Mayer Brown
- Eric Hagen - McDermott Will & Emery LLP
Mark Halligan -
Nixon Peabody LLP
- John Mancini - Mayer Brown
James McQuade -
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
- George Riley - O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Linda Stevens -
Schiff Hardin LLP
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s sizeable global network enables it to bring to bear broad trial experience, as well as a track record on high-profile, "bet-the-company" cases. It represents large corporate clients and startups across a range of industry sectors. Joseph Serino, Eric Leon, Mark Rasmussen and Claudia Ray represented TechForward in a claim brought against Best Buy, which involved allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets and projections regarding customer behavior relating to the development of a consumer electronics buyback program. A trial jury found in favor of TechForward, holding Best Buy liable for wilful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets. In another highlight, Craig Primis, John O’Quinn and Matthew Papez are defending Boeing against claims of unjust enrichment and conversion of intellectual property brought by former business partner Alabama Aircraft Industries.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP regularly acts in high-profile trade secrets cases for a client base that includes Fortune 500 companies, startups and foreign multinationals, and advises clients on strategies to safeguard valuable confidential information and materials. The team recently obtained a $65m settlement for Canadian Pharmaceutical firm Tekmira in a multi-jurisdictional patent, licensing and trade secret dispute against competitor Alnylam Pharmaceuticals involving a $2bn product. The firm also handles forensic investigations. Silicon Valley-based Neil Chaterjee, who co-chairs the firm’s intellectual property group, is recommended.
Under the leadership of global trade secrets practice chair Victoria Cundiff, Paul Hastings LLP’s 12-partner team handles the full spectrum of matters, including assisting clients in the identification of potential issues and successfully obtaining remedies in high-profile cases. In Washington DC, newly appointed partner Carson Sullivan represented a defense contractor in a matter concerning the departure of several high-level employees for a competitor, which involved the enforcement of restrictive covenants in the former employees’ contracts and a claim for trade secret misappropriation against one employee. Palo Alto-based Bradford Newman is also recommended for ‘ensuring clients’ interests come first’.
The lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP are praised for their ability to ‘customize their vast legal knowledge to specific business needs’. The firm leverages its offices in the US, Germany and Japan to field a team with an international scope that attracts a multinational client base that includes a number of household names. David Quinto, who is recognized for his ‘great litigation management skills’, is defending a Korean garment manufacturer against a claim for fraudulent acquisition of trade secrets by an operator whose factory was acquired by the client. The team also has experience defending clients in criminal cases brought by the US government, and is currently representing a large Chinese steel company against claims by the US government that it knowingly purchased blueprints containing trade secrets regarding manufacturing processes.
Covington & Burling LLP’s 40-attorney practice, which is spread across various practice groups and offices, adopts a multi-disciplinary approach to trade secrets cases. It is co-headed by Kurt Calia, who acts as vice chair of the trade secrets committee of the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association, and Michael Plimack, who chairs the firm’s electronics and information technology industry group. In a reflection of the increasing internationalization of trade secrets issues, the team defended the CEO of Ambow Education Holding in a case filed by Mintel Learning Technology involving computer software used for the purposes of teaching English to students in China. The Superior Court of California granted the motion to quash the claim for lack of personal jurisdiction, and for failure to properly serve the summons.
Keker & Van Nest, L.L.P.’s ‘terrific trial lawyers’ conduct a significant amount of trade secret litigation, and ‘get right to the heart of the issues’. The San Francisco-based firm obtained a favorable settlement for client SBM Site Services in its claim against Ables Services and various former employees, which involved allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of covenants, and violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It also benefits from its track record as a criminal defense firm, and acts for a range of clients on civil and criminal trade secret matters across numerous jurisdictions. Highlights included defending an engineer under indictment for attempted economic espionage, a technology firm, and a venture fund company. Key contacts include firm co-founder John Keker and head of trade secrets team Jeff Chanin.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s multi-disciplinary approach encompasses disputes over enforcement rights and the implementation of safeguarding mechanisms for trade secrets, as well as a particular strength in assisting clients on the overlapping issues between trade secret misappropriation claims and antitrust law. It also advises clients on the potential trade secret implications of mergers, joint ventures and licensing agreements. Los Angeles-based Eric Hagen represents a diverse set of high-profile clients, including Fortune 500 companies, on trade secret-related matters.
The trade secrets team at Morrison & Foerster LLP ‘delivers services at the highest level’. Co-led by ‘true expert’ Daniel Westman and respected lawyer Bryan Wilson, the team leverages its wider practice area expertise, principally the IP and employment groups, and continues to act for plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of employee movement cases. It recently settled a case on favorable terms for the US subsidiary of Australian recruitment specialist NGA.NET, which involved a claim for trade secret misappropriation and breach of non-solicitation provisions brought against it by Monster Government Solutions (MGS) following the hiring by NGA.NET of three former MGS employees and the subsequent award of a recruitment services contract by the US Department of Agriculture. San Francisco-based Arturo Gonzalez is noted for his ‘ability to lay out a brilliant litigation road map’, and Eric Tate draws praise for his ‘ability to manage complex files’.
Darin Snyder heads a 30-lawyer team at O’Melveny & Myers LLP that has the resources to advise defendants and plaintiffs on all trade secrets issues, from investigation to litigation. The team recently showcased its courtroom advocacy skills when it achieved a victory for Botox developer Allergan in a high-profile case against competitor Merz. Allergan was awarded injunctive relief blocking the distribution of rival product Xeomin when it was found that Merz had misappropriated confidential Allergan materials by hiring an Allergan sales representative. Snyder, who also chairs the intellectual property and technology practice, is recognized for his wide-ranging expertise.
Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘go-to’ trade secrets team ‘can draw upon a deep bench of partners to provide clients the best advice within the US and abroad’. ‘Excellent’ founder and co-head of the trade secrets group Steven Kayman has particular experience in the movement of employees between competitors, and the drafting and negotiation of restrictive covenants. ‘Knowledgeable and excellent litigator’ John Barry is sought out for his expert advice on hiring executives and other employees subject to non-compete agreements; he is handling 14 non-compete matters for client Sientra filed against 15 of its employees by Mentor Worldwide. The team also has notable strength in the movement of private equity executives, and in 2012 acted for Access Securities in allegations of trade secret misappropriation arising out of its recruitment of three brokers previously at Williams Trading.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP handles the full gamut of trade secrets work. The breadth of the practice’s client base is representative of its wide-ranging capabilities, which has recently seen it act for a medical services company, a defense contractor and a modeling agency. It is serving as national coordinating counsel for Alliant Insurance Services in three lawsuits pending in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, all involving allegations by Aon of trade secrets misappropriation, aiding and abetting breaches of fiduciary duty, and conspiracy relating to the departure of 60 former Aon employees to Alliant. In the Los Angeles case, it successfully obtained a partial summary judgment rejecting Aon’s attempt to enforce employee covenants. On the advisory side, the team is assisting a large utility firm to minimize misappropriation risks in its joint venture with a Chinese counterpart. Silicon Valley-based Christopher Cox is recognized for his thought leadership on the trade secrets issues arising out of employee mobility.
Boutique trial firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP’s trade secrets strength lies in its litigation capabilities. In Chicago, Sean Gallagher defended a life sciences firm against claims for trade secret misappropriation relating to technology used in pathology laboratories for the diagnosis of diseases, which resulted in a complete defense jury verdict for the client. Denver-based Lindley Brenza obtained a favorable outcome for an international seed company in claims against competitors that it had improperly obtained and used certain genetic processes.
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s trade secrets group represents clients from a variety of industries, with particular expertise in the finance and insurance sectors. It also has a considerable track record advising various parties on strategies to avoid trade secret disputes. Trade secrets expert Roger Books led a team that acted for Renaissance Technologies Corp as plaintiff in a New York State Supreme Court action involving claims that two of the firm’s former employees used its proprietary and trade secret statistical algorithms to construct an automated statistical arbitrage equities trading system for a rival hedge fund. Having obtained a favorable settlement in that case, Books continues to provide the client with advisory work on the enforcement of the settlement agreement and the ongoing protection of its trade secrets.
Dedicated IP firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, L.L.P. fields over a dozen partners with significant experience in identifying, safeguarding and enforcing the protection of valuable confidential information and industry secrets across its Palo Alto, Boston and Washington DC offices. Clients range from startups to Fortune 500 companies, and the team has expertise across a large number of industry sectors including energy, pharmaceuticals, information technology and manufacturing.
The five-partner trade secrets team at Latham & Watkins LLP stands apart for its international footprint and multi-jurisdictional capabilities. Perry Viscounty, co-chair of the firm’s global IP litigation practice group, and newly promoted partner Jennifer Barry receive plaudits for their ‘level of service, attention to detail, quality of writing and sound business advice’. Together they are representing Chinese firm America Chung Nam (ACN) in a misappropriation case following the departure of two key employees for a rival paper exporting company, which centered on allegations that the departing employees contacted key ACN suppliers despite having no prior relationship with those companies. The case involves evidential issues spanning Japan, South Korea, Spain and China. The team also continues to defend Skullcandy in its well-publicized $10m trade secret dispute against Monster Cable.
Mayer Brown fields a core trade secrets team comprising eight partners that includes leading lawyer John Mancini, who co-chairs the firm’s IP practice from the Washington DC office. The team is able to draw on the firm’s global network to assist clients in the US, Europe, and particularly Asia. It advises a diverse client base on company-to-company trade secret cases relating to college football TV networks, door-to-door airport baggage services, and technological innovations in the smart phone market.
The ‘very knowledgeable’ Mark Haligan heads Nixon Peabody LLP’s trade secrets practice, which is composed of lawyers with backgrounds in IP, labor and employment, white-collar crime and commercial litigation, and has invested in building its international client base in China and South Korea. Haligan served as lead counsel for Motorola in a lawsuit against a large Chinese technology company and 13 individuals, which involved violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and trade secrets misappropriation. A favorable settlement was secured for the client, and one of the defendants was found guilty in a separate criminal trial under the Economic Espionage Act. The firm is also lead counsel for defendants Bob Rogers Travel and Brian Rogers in a lawsuit involving alleged violations of non-compete and non-disclosure obligations, unfair competition, and civil conspiracy.
Schiff Hardin LLP wields ‘a devoted team with impressive trial and negotiation skills’. Practice leader Linda Stevens operates out of Chicago alongside three other core partners, with the broader team spread across its other US offices. Matthew Prewitt is commended for his ‘deep knowledge of the law’, as well as his attention to detail. He successfully defended Portuguese multinational Logoplaste against allegations of trade secrets misappropriation by a competitor that had previously been in merger discussions with the firm. In a first under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, the Circuit Court of Cook County found that the plaintiff had made its claims in bad faith, and ordered that it pay for the client’s attorney fees.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP has ‘a strong national footprint and deep expertise arising out of its track record for large corporate clients’, with a strong focus on high-level executive appointments and departures. The ‘brilliant and incredibly responsive’ Robert Milligan acted for client US Foods in an employee-raiding case involving several regional executives departing the client to join chief competitor Shamrock Foods Company. Milligan and his team secured a permanent injunction preventing the former US Foods employees from using alleged trade secrets and confidential information in the course of their new employment. The firm’s 12-attorney e-discovery group has strong technical backgrounds in computer forensics.
Boston-based Choate, Hall & Stewart’s niche practice focuses on advising clients in the life sciences arena on both company-to-company and employee-mobility trade secret cases. Practice co-chair Michael Bunis recently settled a dispute for a leading engineer and manufacturer of medical imagery equipment in a dispute with a former employee who was alleged to have misappropriated confidential information. The practice is also acting for New England Biolabs in a matter involving the theft of trade secrets by former employees who founded a new company. Outside of life sciences, it is currently working with EMC Corporation, a global provider of consulting and IT services, on a claim of theft of data by former employees who went on to found their own company.
The trade secrets team at Dentons has extensive experience handling various trade secrets cases, including company-to-company and employment-related cases, for plaintiffs and defendants. It is defending Vulcan Motor Club in a trade secrets misappropriation case following collapsed merger discussions. Christian Samay is a key contact.
Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s IP litigation expertise forms the backbone of its well-regarded trade secrets group. Illustrating its ability to handle complex trade secrets cases through forward-thinking legal strategies, the team was the first to employ the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to obtain a preliminary injunction preventing unauthorized entry of a company database through a public website. In another technology-related case, it recently obtained a complete defense verdict for client Cisco Systems in a $400m claim for damages concerning the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets relating to computer storage technology.
Greenberg Traurig LLP’s trade secrets team is co-headed by Kurt Kappes in Sacramento and Rich Mcrea in Tampa. It recently settled a case for defendants Seaworld Parks & Entertainment and Anheuser-Busch, in a claim by former animatorsa of a Fortune 500 company for $350m in damages, alleging that the client had copied their ideas, concepts and drawings for dozens of attractions at multiple parks. On the plaintiff side, it acted for Pyro Spectaculars in a claim against a former employer who had surreptitiously downloaded the client’s documents and handed them to its new employer. A motion for preliminary injunction was granted to Pyro Spectaculars shortly after the complaint was filed.
A substantial portion of Jenner & Block LLP’s trade secrets practice involves non-contentious work advising employers on potential trade secret and non-compete issues concerning new employees, as well as assisting departing employees on similar issues. On the dispute side, Debbie Berman represented the subsidiary of a leading electronic systems developer in a trade secrets misappropriation action against former employees and other individuals. The action was resolved through a series of favorable settlements for the client. The practice has a strong presence in Chicago, and also operates out of offices in Washington DC, Los Angeles and New York.
Commercial litigation outfit Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s track record includes representing defendants and plaintiffs in a number of employee-movement-related trade secrets cases in courts across the US. It obtained injunctive relief for Edelman Public Relations in an action against two former senior executives and their new employer in claims involving the alleged theft of confidential information and poaching of clients. It also represented Avnet, a large distributor of electronic parts, in a claim for trade secrets misappropriation brought against it by a competitor in the New York Federal Court. New York-based Aaron Marks is a key contact.
Based out of Atlanta, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s 16-attorney trade secrets group has particular strengths in trade secrets issues that have arisen from the movement of employees and the breach of restrictive covenants. Practice co-leader Jay Bogan acted for technology firm Digital Generation in litigation involving the departure of a top-level salesperson who diverted a number of the client’s customers towards his new employer. Digital Generation was awarded over $3.5m in damages following successful arbitration proceedings. The practice experienced a growth in the number of clients seeking pre-litigation advice, resulting in an increase in trade secret audits and advice training employees.