Bill Hicks focuses his practice on complex civil litigation, with particular emphasis on patent and trade secret matters, class actions, and high-stakes business disputes. He has successfully represented a range of clients in the technology sector, and was an active member of the team that achieved victory in one of the largest trade secrets cases ever tried in California. Mr. Hicks has also represented clients under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
In his pro bono practice, Mr. Hicks has first-chaired a trial resulting in the grant of asylum based on sexual orientation and has assisted in the defense of multiple federal capital cases.
As an undergraduate, Mr. Hicks studied opera and classical piano at a leading conservatory, while undertaking advanced coursework in French, history, and international relations at Princeton University and the Sorbonne (Paris IV).
Prior to joining Keker & Van Nest, Mr. Hicks was a law clerk on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Cases of Note
NVIDIA Corporation v. Qualcomm Inc.: We represented Qualcomm in an ITC investigation in which Nvidia asserted infringement of seven patents that purportedly cover graphics processing units (GPUs). Nvidia sought to block the importation of Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets that contain Qualcomm’s Adreno technology, as well as those containing chips from ARM Holdings and Imagination Technologies. Nvidia abandoned its claims of infringement as to three of the patents prior to the hearing before the ALJ, and dropped its claims as to a fourth patent during the course of the hearing. Following the hearing, the ALJ determined that no violation of section 337 had been established, because of the patents remaining in the investigation, two had not been infringed, and the third had been infringed but was invalid. In December of 2015, the full International Trade Commission declined to review the ALJ’s initial determination of no violation of section 337, resulting in a complete victory for our client Qualcomm in the ITC. Nvidia filed and then dismissed an appeal to the Federal Circuit, cementing the win for Qualcomm.
Biax Corp. v. Motorola Mobility et al.: We represented Motorola Mobility and third-party Broadcom in a patent case targeting a key technology underlying a wide variety of semiconductor chips. The case settled favorably after summary judgment briefing.
In re Budeprion Multidistrict Litigation: In a multi-district class action, plaintiffs challenged a drug company's product label under California's unfair competition law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. We settled the case on extremely favorable terms to our client.
Broadcom Corporation v. SiRF Technology and CSR: We served as trial counsel for Broadcom, one of the world’s leading semiconductor companies, against SiRF, a GPS chip manufacturer, and its parent CSR. Broadcom asserted multiple patents covering graphics, video processing, and digital signal processing techniques, as well as claims arising under the Lanham Act and unfair competition laws. This case, along with other actions between the parties, was settled shortly before trial on terms that were very favorable to Broadcom.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company v. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation: We represented TSMC against China's then-leading semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, in the largest trade secret misuse case tried to date. SMIC owed its very existence to technology stolen from our client. Following a jury verdict on liability in favor of TSMC, SMIC agreed to pay $200 million in cash and approximately $130 million of its company stock. The case serves as precedent for the strong protection afforded by California's trade secret statute, even where the actual theft occurred in Asia.
Awards and Honors
- Order of the Coif, 2004
- Scholarly Writing Award for "Background Study for the Third Colloquium on Challenges in International Refugee Law," University of Michigan Law School, 2004
- Intellectual Property Section, American Bar Association
- Business, Intellectual Property Sections, California State Bar
- “Is There a Subjective Element in the Refugee Convention’s Requirement of ‘Well-Founded Fear,’” Michigan Journal of International Law, 2005. Co-authored with Prof. James Hathaway