Mike Spillner is an intellectual property litigation partner in Orrick’s Silicon Valley office. He has nearly 15 years’ experience representing technology companies in complex patent, trade secret, and other IP and general commercial litigation matters.
He has substantial experience in federal and state courts at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He was selected by Super Lawyers as a “Northern California Rising Star,” and the National Law Journal recognized one of his recent cases in selecting Orrick for the NLJ’s 2013 “IP Hot List.”
Some of his representative cases include the following:
- Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Mr. Spillner co-led a team representing Tekmira in this bet-the-company dispute against its former collaborator Alnylam in parallel actions in Massachusetts state and federal court. Tekmira alleged that Alnylam had taken advantage of the collaboration to misappropriate Tekmira’s secret RNAi delivery and manufacturing technology, including by applying for patents on technology developed by Tekmira and by passing off Tekmira’s technology as its own. Tekmira asserted claims for trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, false advertising, and unfair competition, and Alnylam countersued for patent infringement. Two days before jury selection, the case settled with Alnylam agreeing to pay Tekmira $75 million in cash and near-term milestone payments, and agreeing to transfer 150 patents and patent applications to Tekmira. Alnylam also agreed to dismiss its retaliatory patent infringement suits with prejudice. The settlement ensured that Tekmira could continue operating by giving it a substantial cash infusion and clarity over its IP rights. The National Law Journal recognized this case in selecting Orrick for the NLJ’s 2013 “IP Hot List,” and the San Francisco Daily Journal described the settlement as a “huge win” for Tekmira.
- Apple Inc. v. Motorola Inc. Mr. Spillner was part of the team representing Apple in this high-profile smartphone patent infringement appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The case arose from a judgment by Judge Richard Posner, who was sitting by designation on the district court.
- Pace Americas. Mr. Spillner is lead counsel advising Pace on intellectual property issues, risks, and strategies in connection with threatened litigation and indemnification matters arising from patent infringement actions against Pace’s customers. The matters primarily involve wireless and DSL technologies, and standards-based infringement allegations.
- Atwater Partners of Texas LLC v. Pace Americas, Inc. Mr. Spillner was lead counsel representing Pace in this patent infringement action filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The case involved DSL technology. The case settled extremely favorably to Pace.
- Penovia LLC v. Pace Americas, Inc. and 2Wire, Inc. Mr. Spillner served as lead counsel defending Pace and 2Wire in this NPE patent infringement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The case involved wireless technologies. Mr. Spillner negotiated a favorable settlement and the plaintiff dismissed the case.
- Silvaco Data Systems v. Intel Corp. Mr. Spillner represented Intel in this precedent-setting trade secret misappropriation case that garnered widespread interest in the industry and legal circles. Silvaco, a supplier of CAD software, accused a competitor of stealing its source code to develop competing software. After obtaining a stipulated judgment, Silvaco sued its competitors’ customers, including Intel, for receiving allegedly “tainted” software. The Santa Clara County Superior Court dismissed Silvaco’s trade secret claim on summary judgment, and its related state law claims for fraud, conspiracy, unfair competition, and business torts on the pleadings. The California Court of Appeal affirmed Intel’s victory in a published decision, Silvaco Data Systems v. Intel Corp., 184 Cal. App. 4th 210 (2010), and the California Supreme Court denied Silvaco’s petition for review. The appellate decision has been recognized as the leading California decision on the preemptive effect of California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and established precedent on the scope of customer liability for trade secret misappropriation.
- NITGen Co., Ltd. v. SecuGen Corp. Mr. Spillner successfully represented biometrics company NITGen in a four-week arbitration hearing in which NITGen alleged that its former officers engaged in self-dealing and embezzlement in an attempt to steal NITGen’s intellectual property and cash for their other company SecuGen. NITGen won a multimillion dollar judgment and defeated SecuGen’s $43 million lost profits counterclaim in its entirety. The parties litigated in multiple venues including AAA arbitration, Santa Clara County Superior Court, federal district court in the Northern District of California, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case involved over 25 claims and counterclaims, including patent, trade secret, copyright, trademark, false advertising, trade libel, unfair competition, embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and business torts.
- ABB Power T&D Co. v. Alstom ESCA Corp. Mr. Spillner was part of the trial team that successfully defended Alstom in a six-week jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff ABB alleged that its former employees stole trade secrets relating to hardware and software used by critical infrastructure providers in the electric power industry, for the benefit of ABB’s competitor Alstom. ABB alleged claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, copyright infringement, false advertising, breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair competition. The jury returned a verdict in Alstom’s favor on all counts, exonerating it of liability.
- Metabyte, Inc. v. NVIDIA Corp. Mr. Spillner is co-lead counsel defending NVIDIA and several of its employees in this copyright, trade secret, and breach of contract case in which the plaintiff alleges the misappropriation of its 3D graphics software technology. To date, NVIDIA has successfully dismissed the plaintiff’s claims for violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, intentional interference with contractual relations, and statutory and common law unfair competition. The case is pending.
- Wacoh Co. v. Analog Devices, Inc. Mr. Spillner co-led a team representing semiconductor company Analog Devices in a patent infringement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case involved MEMS accelerometers used to trigger the deployment of airbags in automobiles. The case settled favorably to Analog Devices after Markman briefing.
- Remote Locator Systems, LLC v. Life360, Inc. Mr. Spillner was lead counsel defending app developer Life360 in an NPE patent infringement suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The case settled favorably.
- Wi-LAN Inc. v. Acer Inc. et al. Mr. Spillner co-led a team representing several defendants in this multidefendant patent infringement action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff alleged that the defendants’ products infringed IEEE 802.11 wireless standards, and ITU G.992 and G.993 DSL standards. The case settled favorably on the eve of trial.
- Micron Technology, Inc. v. MOSAID Technologies, Inc. Mr. Spillner represented Micron in this patent infringement action in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The published decision in Micron’s favor clarified the law of patent declaratory judgment jurisdiction. See Micron Tech., Inc. v. MOSAID Techs., Inc., 518 F.3d 897 (Fed. Cir. 2008).
- Hewlett-Packard Co. v. EMC Corp. Mr. Spillner was part of the team representing EMC against Hewlett-Packard in a 13-patent dispute relating to data storage, server, and printer technologies. HP initiated the lawsuit by asserting seven patents against EMC, and EMC counterclaimed with six of its own patents. After Markman and summary judgment proceedings, the case settled with HP agreeing to pay EMC $400 million, one of the largest patent settlements on record.
- Creative Tech., Ltd. v. Aureal Semiconductor, Inc. Mr. Spillner was a member of the trial team that represented Aureal in a patent infringement jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The jury returned verdict of non-infringement of Aureal’s core technology, the 3D audio sound card.
- L. Cohen Group d/b/a Luxurychair.com v. Hermann Miller, Inc. Mr. Spillner represented e-commerce company Luxurychair.com in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Hermann Miller, Inc., relating to the use of trademarks in Google AdWords “sponsored links” advertising. The case subsequently settled.
- Zero Gravity Internet Group LLC v. Hartmann. Mr. Spillner represented Zero Gravity against several of its former senior managers who resigned en masse and started a competing business, alleging that they hacked into Zero Gravity’s computer system and improperly solicited its partners. Zero Gravity sought immediate injunctive relief in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleging violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and related state law claims. The case settled after the court granted temporary injunctive relief and expedited discovery.
- Joe Theismann. Mr. Spillner is co-lead counsel currently representing former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann in this consumer class action in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California relating to Mr. Theismann’s endorsement of the dietary supplement Super Beta Prostate. The case is pending.
- MetiLinx v. Hewlett-Packard Co. Mr. Spillner represented MetiLinx in this breach of contract and fraud action in San Mateo County Superior Court, arising out of MetiLinx’s sales of enterprise software to HP. The case settled before trial.
- Bond v. Dillon. Mr. Spillner represented a co-founder and officer in Alameda County Superior Court against claims of breach of contract, fraud, and interference with contract brought by a former business partner. The case settled after Orrick successfully initiated a procedure under the California Corporations Code to value and buy out the plaintiff’s shares in the corporation.
- Intel Corporation. Mr. Spillner represented Intel in a wide variety of matters in state and federal court, including patent, trade secret, indemnification, bankruptcy, antitrust, and other complex commercial litigation matters.
- Applied Materials, Inc. Mr. Spillner has represented Applied Materials in several trade secret misappropriation disputes and investigations.
- Anticounterfeiting and trademarks. Mr. Spillner led an investigation relating to the counterfeiting of semiconductor products in China, and has advised clients on trademark protection strategies.
In Mr. Spillner’s early professional career, he served a term as a law clerk to the Honorable James H. Michael, Jr., a federal district judge in Charlottesville, Virginia. He was also an extern law clerk for the Honorable William H. Orrick, Jr., a federal district judge in San Francisco whose father was a founding partner of the firm.
Mr. Spillner’s public service included a stint as a prosecutor in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. As a member of the Misdemeanor Trial Unit, he handled a number of jury trials, bench trials, and other hearings on the criminal docket.
He is actively involved in pro bono work, representing victims of domestic violence in San Mateo County Superior Court in partnership with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County. He has also acted as a volunteer captain for Rebuilding Together Peninsula.
He frequently speaks and publishes on intellectual property topics, including as an invited speaker at the State Bar of California’s Annual Meeting. He drafted the State of California’s model jury instructions for trade secret cases, co-authored a chapter in the book “Intellectual Property Law in Cyberspace,” and co-founded and runs Orrick’s highly successful trade secrets blog, “Trade Secrets Watch” (follow on Twitter). California’s leading daily The Recorder profiled the blog on Page One, and its posts have been reprinted in media such as Corporate Counsel.
Mr. Spillner is active in the legal industry. He serves as the co-Vice Chair of the Trade Secrets Interest Group of the State Bar of California’s Intellectual Property Section, and is a member of Stanford Law School’s Law, Science & Technology Advisory Board.
Mr. Spillner has been at Orrick his entire career. He joined the firm as a summer associate in 1998.