Erik Olson’s practice focuses on the litigation of securities, corporate governance, and intellectual property disputes, with particular emphasis on clients in the biotechnology, medical device, telecommunications, and high-technology industries.
Mr. Olson regularly represents executives, directors, and companies in suits arising from actual or potential mergers, acquisitions, and other strategic transactions. Between 2008 and 2016, Mr. Olson has directed teams that defeated preliminary injunction motions, obtained dismissals, or favorably resolved more than twenty cases involving challenges by shareholders to public merger transactions. He is one of the primary authors of the Association of Corporate Counsel’s “White Paper” on managing class action merger litigation. In fall 2016, Mr. Olson served as SoftBank Group Corporations’ lead counsel in a trial in the Delaware Court of Chancery that addressed claims by stockholders of Clearwire Corporation that Sprint breached its fiduciary duties in connection with an 2013 acquisition of Clearwire. The trial also concerned stockholders’ claims to an appraisal in connection with the same merger.
In 2012 and 2013, Mr. Olson served as SoftBank’s primary litigation counsel in connection with state and federal claims that sought to enjoin SoftBank’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Sprint Nextel Corporation and that sought to enjoin the related merger between Sprint Nextel Corporation and Clearwire Corporation. In the Sprint litigation, the lead plaintiffs ultimately withdrew their requests for a preliminary injunction prior to the consummation of the merger and later voluntarily dismissed their claims. Mr. Olson served as one of Cogent Inc.’s lead counsel in litigation that sought to enjoin Cogent’s merger with the 3M Company. The Delaware Court of Chancery denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.
In other securities-related matters, Mr. Olson has repeatedly obtained dismissals of federal class action lawsuits under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act and successfully defended those dismissals before the Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits.
In 2010 and 2011, Mr. Olson obtained a dismissal with prejudice of derivative and class action claims filed against Crocs, Inc., the directors and officers of Crocs, Inc., and Global Cash Access, Inc. In each case, Mr. Olson’s clients were successful following a first motion to dismiss. He has also successfully persuaded the SEC to conclude, without penalties, investigations into alleged federal securities law violations for dozens of companies and individuals across a broad range of industries.
Mr. Olson regularly works on behalf of audit committees and special committees of boards of directors conducting confidential investigations of whistle-blower allegations, alleged violations of federal law, and alleged accounting misconduct, such as the allegedly improper recognition of revenue, write-offs concerning inventory and other assets, or the alleged violations of companies’ internal controls.
In intellectual property-related matters, Mr. Olson regularly assists high-technology, telecommunications and life sciences companies in the prosecution or defense of intellectual property lawsuits with competitors regarding consumer electronics, smartphones, telecommunications equipment, biotechnology products, drugs, or medical devices. Mr. Olson served as patentee’s counsel in connection with three high profile patent disputes between major smartphone manufacturers, including in a trial in which the jury awarded the patentee over $1 billion. In 2016, Mr. Olson helped Sandoz secure a victory in its patent and intellectual property dispute with Amgen, leading to the introduction of the first “biosimilar” pharmaceutical product under the Affordable Care Act’s Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA). The case addressed ground breaking issues regarding the BPCIA’s procedures related to when and how brand name biotechnology companies can assert patents in an effort to stop the introduction of new competition. Mr. Olson previously served as a chief architect of the University of California’s patent infringement victory over The Monsanto Company regarding claims to recombinant bovine growth hormone. The resulting settlement, valued at more than $200 million, ranked at the time as one of the top ten settlements in any biotechnology patent case in the United States. Mr. Olson advises both patent holders and defendants in connection with intellectual property claims across the country.
Mr. Olson has served as counsel in numerous state and federal courts, in private arbitrations, and in proceedings before the SEC. He has handled appeals in the California Court of Appeals and the United States Circuit Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuits.
From 2007-2008, Mr. Olson served as chair of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of California. From 2005-2007, he also served as chair of the Litigation Section’s Rules & Legislation Committee, which reviewed and comments on legislative and rule changes that affect civil litigation in California. Mr. Olson currently serves as a member of Morrison & Foerster’s board of directors and serves as Treasurer for the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the largest pro bono service provider in Santa Clara County (San Jose, California).
Mr. Olson graduated from Stanford Law School. While at Stanford, he was elected to the Order of the Coif and was the recipient of the Morie Award for outstanding legal writing.
Erik Olson is recommended by Legal 500 US 2012–2016. He has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America (2009–2016) for Corporate Compliance and Corporate Governance and has been named to the Northern California Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Northern California (2010–2016).
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