Trade Secrets and Employee Mobility
Companies face complex challenges in protecting their intellectual property and trade secrets—the lifeblood of their business—in today’s digital world. Confidential information shared in electronic form in mobile devices, with employees who move between jobs at a rapid rate, is increasingly vulnerable to misuse and theft, giving rise to high-stakes trade secret litigation.
Clients in a wide range of industries entrust us with their most complex and critical trade secret litigation. We have successfully prosecuted and defended trade secret misappropriation cases for clients in a variety of fields, including health care, entertainment, finance, quick service restaurant, aerospace, and telecommunications. Our lawyers draw on their considerable trial experience to develop strategic and cost-effective paths to victory in courts and alternative dispute resolution forums nationwide.
Trade secret disputes often arise with little notice and require swift and decisive action through expedited legal proceedings. We are prepared to act on either side of that process—heading into court to seek a preliminary injunction to protect our clients’ secrets, or turning on a dime to respond to a preliminary injunction motion when our clients are accused of misappropriating another company’s confidential information.
We have a proven track record of success in obtaining immediate results for our clients, including arranging for the return of stolen trade secrets. On the defense side, we have successfully warded off efforts by competitors to pry into our clients’ own trade secrets.
Trade secrets litigation often arises after the termination or resignation of C-suite executives. Our lawyers have successfully prosecuted and defended numerous executive termination cases and claims that frequently arise in such cases, including breach of fiduciary duty, defamation, unfair competition, and violation of non-disclosure, non-compete, and non‑solicitation agreements, as well as statutory causes of action under RICO, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. We also have substantial experience counseling companies and high-ranking executives with litigation avoidance strategies.
- Won high-profile, three-week federal jury trial on misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract claims for T-Mobile. The jury awarded a multimillion-dollar verdict, finding that Huawei Devices USA stole T-Mobile’s smartphone robotic testing technology and violated its contractual obligations to T-Mobile.
- Won summary judgment for Electronic Arts on trade secret misappropriation claim and secured affirmance of that ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Ninth Circuit on appeal.
- Successfully resolved a complex fraud case, with total recovery of more than $65 million, for Qualcomm against a former senior engineer arising from his sophisticated scheme to sell technology he had secretly developed while working for the company.
- Obtained nine-figure settlement on eve of international arbitration hearing on behalf of CEO and founder of major social networking app after the majority owner of the company attempted to terminate his employment. Obtained preliminary injunction at the outset of the action preventing the CEO from being terminated pending the outcome of the arbitration.
- Successfully represented one of the nation’s largest specialty staffing companies against the company’s former CEO, who brought claims for wrongful termination and sought to invalidate his non-compete and non-solicit obligations. Obtained a favorable settlement on the eve of trial that kept intact the former CEO’s “for cause” termination and reaffirmed his non‑compete and non-solicit obligations.
- Obtained broad injunctions against theft of trade secrets and confidential information, admissions of misappropriation of confidential information, and published apologies from five former employees of CoreLogic Solutions LLC, one of the country’s leading property information, analytics, and services providers.
- Secured sweeping temporary restraining order and injunction for theft of trade secrets and confidential information against a former employee of a medical device company, who left to join a primary competitor.
- Represented a prominent technology company in the United States in a suit against a former program manager, his business partner, and their new company, including claims for breach of non‑solicitation and other contractual obligations as well as tort claims. Obtained a favorable settlement, which included both a monetary component and prospective restrictions on contact with and hiring of the client’s employees.
- Secured favorable pre‑litigation settlement on behalf of global quick service restaurant corporation against former executive who threatened claims for violation of the California Labor Code, wrongful termination, fraud, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
- Representing one of the nation’s largest specialty staffing companies in a case involving allegations of theft of trade secrets and violation of contractual non-solicitation clauses by former employees.
- Representing a multinational pharmaceutical company in a confidential arbitration following an investigation that includes potential theft of trade secrets.
- Representing a global quick service restaurant corporation in a trade secret misappropriation arbitration against a former executive.
- Advising public, property information, and real estate analytics firm in dispute involving termination of a C-suite executive who alleged violations of various laws, including California Labor Code claims, whistleblower retaliation, discrimination, and violation of the Equal Pay Act.
- Advising executives of a media company in potential litigation against parent company and board of directors involving claims of wrongful termination, breach of employment and joint venture agreements, theft of trade secrets, and wrongful interference with contract.