Protecting Your Most Important Assets

Heightened competition, shorter product cycles and increased employee mobility have added up to more trade secrets claims – and higher-stakes legal battles.

This is especially true in the technology, biotech, financial services and manufacturing sectors.

Whether you are defending a new hire or facing a bet-the-company battle, our dedicated Trade Secrets team will mobilize to help. We have represented innovative companies and have secured settlements and awards for startups to some of the largest global companies. Our successes include clearing the way for Mark Hurd to move to Oracle, over the fierce objection of his former employer, the Hewlett-Packard Company. We won a trade secrets misappropriation verdict for Sierra Railroad against Patriot Rail after being brought in on the eve of trial; it was one of the largest trade secrets verdicts of 2014 and one of the largest of any kind ever in the Eastern District of California. This ability to try IP cases is a major reason The American Lawyer named us "IP Litigation Department of the Year" in 2016. The American Lawyer called us the "rescue squad," noting our many come-from-behind wins in tough cases. And for every matter we took to court and won, there are many more we resolved quickly outside of view.

  • From TRO to Verdict

    We are often brought in during crucial early stages of trade secrets disputes. Applied Materials, JPMorgan Chase, Synopsys and Oracle are among the companies that regularly call us in to obtain injunctive relief.

    We’ve also won several trade secrets disputes on summary judgment, securing important precedents in the process. For instance, we successfully represented Intel in a trade secrets dispute that garnered widespread interest because it broke new ground on the issue of customer liability for trade secret misappropriation.

    And we try cases. We helped Brocade obtain a $112 million jury verdict against A10 for trade secrets misappropriation, patent infringement, copyright infringement and intentional interference with contract. And we won a $75 million verdict for Tekmira Pharmaceuticals in a do-or-die trade secrets misappropriation and patent infringement case it brought against a competitor, setting the stage for a favorable settlement.

    Risk Management Counseling

    Because of our record in trade secrets disputes, clients seek our help avoiding them in the first place. We help put in place effective, enforceable employment policies and measures to preserve the company’s intellectual property assets and to avoid liability for misappropriation. We conduct efficient audits of existing policies and practices, and we draft restrictive covenants and other agreements such as nondisclosure, noncompetition, nonsolicitation, garden leave and forfeiture, and competitive agreements.

    The Right Teams

    The ability to assemble the right teams is key to our success in trade secrets matters. We field teams of dedicated trade secrets lawyers with IP and employment-law backgrounds and technical knowledge. When necessary, we call in our white collar defense lawyers to assist with investigations. And we quickly mobilize our in-house eDiscovery & Information Governance team to get a handle on the facts of the case.

  • Sierra Railroad Corp.

    Orrick achieved an outstanding result for Sierra Railroad Company, a short-line rail operator in Northern California. In Spring 2014, a California federal jury awarded $22.4 million in compensatory damages and another $17.4 million in punitive damages and the federal judge awarded an additional $13.1 million in exemplary damages to Sierra Railroad Co. in its trade secrets misappropriation case against Patriot Rail Corporation.

    Synopsys, Inc.

    Orrick obtained a series of victories beginning with entry of an expansive temporary restraining order in favor of Synopsys in a trade secrets misappropriation case involving two senior former employees who left the company earlier this year to join competitor, Cadence Design Systems. The injunctive relief was entered after a hotly contested hearing before Santa Clara Superior Judge Bill Elfving and included the immediate turn-over of nearly a dozen electronic devices in defendants' possession. Thereafter, defendants tried numerous times to set aside or modify the TRO, resulting in the filing and hearing of many subsequent motions, all of which defendants lost. Synopsys' latest win prompted a confidential settlement pursuant to which Synopsys obtained all desired relief.

    Applied Materials

    Orrick obtained a preliminary injunction on behalf of client Applied, enjoining a former employee who had misappropriated confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets of Applied. In November, a U.S. District Judge in the Northern District of New York granted Applied’s motion for a TRO and for expedited discovery. After the former employee's deposition was taken, and two days before an evidentiary hearing on Applied's motion for a preliminary injunction, the former employee consented to a preliminary injunction order that included all of the relief that we had sought and then some.

    Brocade Communication Systems, Inc.

    Orrick lawyers secured a victory for client Brocade (formerly, Foundry Networks) when a jury verdict awarded Brocade $112 million in damages in an intellectual property infringement and business tort suit against A10 Networks. The federal jury returned a verdict for patent and copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation that covered A10's entire AX Series load-balancing server products. The jury also unanimously awarded punitive damages against A10 and against its CEO, strongly condemning their interference with contract.

    Jones, Adrian

    Orrick represented Adrian Jones, a former Hewlett-Packard executive, who HP alleged misappropriated trade secrets and related claims. Orrick proved that HP’s claims were false, forcing HP to voluntarily dismiss its trade secrets claims.

    Synopsys, Inc.

    In Synopsys, Inc. v. Sabharwal, Orrick secured injunctive relief against defendant to halt trade secret misappropriation.

    Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

    Orrick secured a significant victory for client Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a small Canadian pharmaceutical company, by helping obtain a $75 million cash settlement in a multi-country patent, licensing and trade secrets dispute. Tekmira also obtained assignment of approximately 150 of Alnylam patents and patent applications, and will receive milestones and royalties for Alnylam products incorporating Tekmira's technology, including a product now in clinical trials that is projected to be a $2 billion product by 2020.

    MGA Entertainment, Inc.

    Obtained a widely reported jury verdict that MGA, not Mattel, owns the rights to the Bratz doll, and that Mattel stole MGA's trade secrets through a campaign of corporate espionage. A federal jury in California rejected all of Mattel's claims to rights to the franchise and awarded MGA a total of $310 million in damages and attorneys' fees. MGA had previously been found to have infringed Mattel's copyright and ordered to pay US$100 million, before Orrick lawyers were hired to handle the appeal

    Applied Materials

    Orrick represented Applied Materials in a matter involving trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, conversion and unfair competition. Applied Materials obtained a Temporary Restraining Order and ultimately a stipulated injunction against Semiconductor Equipment Specialists (SES) that enjoined SES from using or disclosing Applied Materials' trade secrets and confidential information.

    Bayer Healthcare LLC

    Orrick represented Bayer in a case concerning alleged misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of fiduciary duty regarding Bayer’s Aleve Cold & Sinus® product. Through discovery developed early in the case, plaintiff consented to a dismissal of all trade secret related claims. Following deposition of the plaintiffs, the case settled on extremely favorable terms.

    Intel Corp.

    In Silvaco Data Systems v. Intel Corporation, Orrick 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.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co.

    Orrick represented JPMorgan Chase in JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. Haydorn and MJB Asset Management, a case where a former employee, who joined a competitor, began soliciting JPMorgan Chase’s customers allegedly using JPMorgan Chase’s trade secrets and confidential information. Orrick commenced an action asserting claims for breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and other common law claims. Orrick successfully obtained a temporary restraining order, preventing the former employee from soliciting or doing business with clients she served while working at JPMorgan Chase.

    Nellcor Puritan Bennett

    Orrick represented Nellcor Puritan Bennett, Inc., a division of Tyco Healthcare Group, in Tyco Healthcare Group L.P. & Nellcor Puritan Bennett Inc. v. Veldon F. Reeves. Orrick commenced an action against Tyco’s former head of sales for the Southeast Region who had joined Respironics for misappropriation of trade secrets, inevitable disclosure and breach of a non-solicitation provision. Leveraging the theory of inevitable disclosure, Orrick obtained a temporary restraining order enjoining the former head of sales from working for Respironics.

    Oracle Corp.

    Orrick represented Oracle and its new president, Mark Hurd, against claims brought by his former employer, Hewlett-Packard. HP filed an action in California Superior Court, and threatened to seek to enjoin Mr. Hurd from working for Oracle. This case was settled without any injunction being issued.

    Orrick represented a former IBM executive, who had been hired by Oracle, in a lawsuit filed by IBM in New York, which involved an extensive evidentiary hearing on the enforcement of a non-compete agreement. Orrick also represented Oracle and the former IBM executive in a related declaratory judgment action filed in California.

    Sallie Mae Corp.

    Orrick represented plaintiff Pioneer Credit Corporation, a subsidiary of Sallie Mae, in Pioneer Credit Corp. v. West Asset Management et al., an employee-raiding case, involving claims of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of non-competition agreements and unfair competition. Orrick successfully defeated a motion to dismiss the complaint and obtained a ruling that the non-competition agreements at issue were enforceable as a matter of law.

    Société Générale S.A.

    Orrick represented Société Générale in Société Générale v. Brian Rappaport, a FINRA arbitration proceeding brought against a former employee who allegedly breached his various post-employment restrictions and misappropriated trade secrets. Orrick simultaneously commenced an action in New York Supreme Court and successfully obtained a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction prohibiting the former employee from, among other things, violating his garden leave, customer non-solicitation and non-disclosure provisions.