Innovative companies around the world rely on their intellectual capital to compete. This competitive drive can lead to legitimate hiring and fair reverse engineering, or to illicit employee raiding and trade secret theft, and eventual high-stakes trade secret cases. We have unparalleled expertise handling such cases on both sides of counsel table. Whether the matter involves alleged wholesale theft of technology or individual employee mobility, from advice and counsel, to injunctions to civil and criminal trials, whether international or local in scope, we deliver results.

Cases of Note

Internet Company v. Internet Company: We represented and advised a startup Internet company regarding claims brought against it by a well-established Internet company that the startup had improperly hired certain employees and that such employees had violated their non-competition and non-solicitation agreements with their former employer. We were able to help resolve those claims without litigation and without interference with the employees' work at the startup company.

Internet Company v. Employee: We represented and advised an Internet company when one of its employees was sued by his former employer in state court for allegedly violating a non-compete agreement and for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets. We helped the Internet company and its employee move the case to a more appropriate jurisdiction and to obtain a favorable ruling on a preliminary injunction motion that allowed early resolution of the claims.

Software Co. v. Software Co.: We defended a red-hot Silicon Valley software company that provides information analysis to the intelligence, defense, and law enforcement communities from trade secret and copyright charges. Our client's competitor brought the charges in the Eastern District of Virginia. We successfully settled the case after five and a half torrid months of rocket docket litigation.

Plaintiff v. Cepia, LLC: A toy developer sued our client Cepia for allegedly using misappropriated trade secrets to develop Cepia’s award-wining line of ZhuZhu robotic toys. We obtained Rule 11 sanctions for the pleading of factually baseless allegations as well as the dismissal of five of the plaintiff’s six claims. Shortly thereafter, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the final claim and issue a public acknowledgement of no misconduct and independent development by Cepia.

Plaintiff v. Investment Funds: We achieved an early resolution of numerous state and federal court actions for a venture fund company and one of its partners. Our clients faced trade secret misappropriation, copyright infringement, and breach of contract claims in both state court and in federal court. We were able to remove the state court action to federal court, and then secure an early settlement for our clients.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company v. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation: We represented the world’s leading semiconductor foundry, TSMC, against China’s leading semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, in the largest trade secret misuse case ever tried. SMIC owed its existence to technology stolen from our client, and faced our damages claim of $2 billion, which would have exceeded SMIC's entire market value. The parties produced nearly 18 million pages of documents and conducted 266 days of deposition in the U.S. and in Asia. Following a jury verdict in favor of our client, SMIC agreed to pay $200 million in cash and approximately $130 million of its company stock. Ultimately TSMC's goal was to protect its intellectual property, not shut down its competitor, and so settled for far less than it could have recovered. For foreign companies that market their goods and services in the U.S., this case established that California’s trade secret statute will protect the intellectual property essential to those goods and services, even if the theft occurred in Asia.

Multinational Biotechnology Company v. Biopharmaceutical Company: We won partial summary judgment for a Seattle biopharmaceutical company and its founder in a trade secret and contract action over a cystic fibrosis drug. Aided by that ruling, and the favorable progress of the trial relating to the remaining claims, another biotechnology company acquired our client for $365 million mid-trial.

Plaintiff v. Semiconductor Company: We represented a semiconductor company in a landmark trade secret misappropriation case. Our client sought more than $100 million in damages and an injunction. We won an interlocutory appeal at an early stage of the case, making this the first appellate case in California to address the circumstances in which a trade secret plaintiff may obtain pretrial discovery. We settled the case for a confidential amount while a jury trial was underway. This case remains one of the leading California precedents on this issue.

Key Contacts

Jeffrey R. Chanin

Jeffrey R. Chanin

(415) 391-5400

Brian L. Ferrall

Brian L. Ferrall

(415) 676-2270

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