Eric Akira Tate

Eric Akira Tate

Education

University of California, Berkeley (B.A., 1992)
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (J.D., 1995)

Bar Admissions

California

Eric Tate co-chairs the firm’s Global Employment and Labor Group. He has represented technology and other companies in the biggest and most highly-publicized trade secrets and employee mobility cases across multiple industries. Eric also represents companies in whistleblower, wage and hour, and other employment litigation. In addition, Eric counsels companies on employment law compliance and transactional matters, including enforceability of restrictive covenants throughout the United States, #MeToo and other sensitive internal investigations of alleged employee misconduct, employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and collective bargaining and traditional labor relations.

Eric recently represented Uber in its diligence investigation as part of its acquisition of Ottomotto, the autonomous vehicle start-up founded by former Google engineers. He then helped lead Uber’s defense of the subsequent patent infringement and trade secrets misappropriation suit filed in 2017 by Waymo, which settled five days into trial in February 2018.  In addition to technology companies, Eric has handled similar matters for companies across many industries, including but not limited to, Williams Sonoma v. Restoration Hardware, International Lease Finance Co. v. Air Lease Corporation, Melaleuca, Inc. v. Shaklee Corporation, and New Century Mortgage v. Encore Credit.  A representative sampling of Eric’s other key matters is further below. 

Eric is a leader in the American Bar Association (ABA) Labor and Employment Section and Employment Rights and Responsibilities Committee, serving as co-chair of the Covenants Not to Compete and Trade Secrets Subcommittee and recently elected to the governing Council for the Labor and Employment Section. Eric has also served as a past co-chair of the ABA’s Annual Meeting Committee, the ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Annual CLE Conference, the ABA’s Annual Meeting Committee, and the Alternative Dispute Resolution, Employment At-Will and Collateral Torts, and Worker Dislocation Subcommittees. He also served on the Planning Committee for the National Employment Law Council’s Annual Conference. Eric has been recognized by San Jose magazine as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 300 lawyers, as a Super Lawyer by Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, and as one of the Daily Journal’s “Top 20 Under 40.” He has also been listed in Legal 500 US and Best Lawyers in America.

Eric is a thought leader and on the Board of Review for leading BNA treatises Trade Secrets: A State-by-State Survey; Covenants Not to Compete; Employee Duty of Loyalty; and Tortious Interference in the Employment Context. He also is a contributing editor for Trade Secrets (Law and Business) and author of “Protecting Investments in IP and People” in Today’s General Counsel; “Workplace Bias and Gender Pay Equity in the Silicon Valley” in LJN Employment Law Strategist; “Trade Secrets and the Activision Case: Lessons for Employers and Employees” in the IP Litigator; “Protect Your Investments: Recent Developments in California Law Regarding Non-competition Agreements and Other Restrictive Covenants” in NVCA Today; “Microinequities: Can Bad Behavior Be Actionable?” in The National Law Journal; “The When, Who and How of Workplace Investigations” in The Practical Litigator; “The NLRB’s Decision in Browning-Ferris of California (2015) One Month Later: Is the Sky Falling for Employees?” in Morrison Foerster Employment Law Commentary; and “California Raises Bar for Employers Again: Gender Pay Bias Claims Set to Take Off With New Gender Pay Equity and Anti-Discrimination Law” in Bloomberg BNA Daily Labor Report.

Eric serves as a mediator for the Northern District of California’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, handling trade secrets and employee mobility, wage and hour, employment discrimination and harassment, and traditional labor relations matters.

Eric is active in community endeavors. He founded and is a former president of the board of directors of Hapa Issues Forum, Inc., a nonprofit community organization that addresses issues relating to persons of partial Asian descent. In addition, Eric is a past president of the board of directors of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. He also is a member of the INROADS Alumni Association, the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Inc., and has served as a mentor for students in the Level Playing Field Institute’s IDEAL Scholars Program.

Eric received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Trade Secrets and Employee Mobility Litigation

  • Represented Fortune 50 corporation in trade secret and employee and customer raiding suit against former co-founder and top executives who launched a competing business that achieved a nearly $1 billion IPO.
  • Represented international virtualization software company in trade secret misappropriation and employee and customer raiding suit against several former executives.
  • Represented North American provider of IT solutions and services in series of suits across the United States to combat alleged employee and customer raiding activities by competitor.
  • Defended U.S. company in claims related to alleged breach of non-compete by competitor’s senior executive hired to lead China subsidiary.
  • Defended investment bank in suit involving enforceability of departing executive’s post‑termination non‑competition agreement.
  • Represented pharmaceutical company in trade secret misappropriation suit against former finance employee.
  • Represented international video game maker in trade secret misappropriation suits against former executives and new competing business.
  • Defended national mortgage company in trade secret misappropriation and employee and customer raiding suit filed by competitor.
  • Defended North American home furnishings retail chain in trade secret misappropriation and employee raiding suit filed by competitor.

Whistleblower and Other Employment Litigation Matters

  • Obtained complete defense award on behalf of technology company in suit filed by former co-founder alleging that the company failed to repurchase upon termination restricted stock valued at more than $5 million.
  • Defended leading corporate social responsibility company in whistleblower and employment discrimination suit filed by former finance executive.
  • Defended international laser and fiber-optics company in suit alleging fraud regarding stock options.
  • Defended international video game maker in whistleblower and employment discrimination suit filed by former executive.

Wage and Hour Class and Representative Actions

  • Defended construction company in purported class action for failure to comply with California wage laws.
  • Defended international technology company in collective action alleging failure to accurately pay wages to technicians across the United States.
  • Defended national restaurant chain in class action regarding alleged failure to comply with California uniform and other wage laws for 10,000 employees.
  • Defended international engineering and construction company in class action regarding alleged failure to comply with California overtime laws.
  • Defended landscaping company in class action regarding alleged failure to comply with California meal- and rest-period laws.
  • Defended individual directors of bankrupt technology company in suit by former employees for unpaid wages.

Representative Non-litigation and Transactional Matters

  • Represented publicly-traded technology company in investigation of #MeToo and sex discrimination claims against top executive.
  • Represented investment company in investigation of #MeToo and sexual assault claims against investment executive.
  • Represented publicly-traded pharmaceutical company in investigation of whistleblower claims by CFO.
  • Represented publicly -traded technology company in investigation of alleged revenue and expense reimbursement irregularities involving top sales executive.
  • Represented Board of Directors of publicly -traded technology company in negotiation of CEO employment agreement.
  • Represented Board of Directors of publicly -traded company in negotiation of CEO separation agreement.
  • Represented minority-shareholders in negotiation of employment agreements with foreign buyer of company.
  • Represented CEO in negotiation of employment agreement with publicly -traded company.
  • Represented founder of private technology company in negotiation of employment agreement with Board of Directors.
  • Represented Intel Corporation in the employment aspects of its $7.7 billion acquisition of McAfee, Inc., the world’s largest dedicated security technology company.
  • Represented Intel Corporation in the employment aspects of its $1.4 billion acquisition of Infineon’s Wireless Solutions business, which involved employees in jurisdictions across Asia, Europe, and North America.
  • Represented GREE in the employment aspects of its $104 million acquisition of OpenFeint, Inc., a California-based mobile social gaming network provider, including with particular regard to complex issues related to employment agreements and restrictive covenants for key employees.

Eric Tate has been recommended by Best Lawyers in AmericaLegal 500 US and Super Lawyers. He has also been recognized by San Jose Magazine as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 300 lawyers, and in 2008 as one of the Daily Journal’s Top 20 Under 40.

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