Trade Secrets

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The most valuable assets of a company typically include its intellectual property and confidential information, and the employees entrusted with this information. Both IP and employees can be highly mobile. Our clients range from early stage companies to large multinationals, but have one thing in common:  the need to protect their valuable intellectual property.

Morrison & Foerster regularly advises clients on how to protect against the theft of their IP from both external and internal threats by implementing trade secret protection and information security programs. Often, trade secret protection includes employee agreements or proprietary information agreements with restrictive covenants (e.g., non-competition, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements).

In today's global economy, we assist clients in tailoring the appropriate restrictive covenants under laws which vary widely by state and international jurisdictions.

With the proliferation of technology in the workplace, we also train clients to design and implement effective information security programs and policies to prevent intentional or inadvertent loss of data.

When emergencies arise, our team of trade secret litigators have the experience to handle any trade secret matter. Clients turn to us when faced with trade secret issues because the stakes are so high. Our litigators are often in court seeking or defending against emergency relief including temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions.

Our lawyers frequently appear before juries, judges, and arbitrators to try cases involving misappropriation of trade secrets, the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, restrictive covenants, employee raiding, customer raiding, and departures of key employees.

Our team has litigated some of the most significant trade secret cases in California and the U.S. In 2018, The Legal 500 US recognized us for our cutting-edge work in the area of trade secrets.  

We have recently handled trade secret matters for Accenture, Adobe Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, Hansen Medical, and Konami Digital Entertainment.

deCODE Genetics, Inc.
In deCODE Genetics, Inc. v. Hákonarson (USDC, Eastern District of Pennsylvania), we obtained a temporary restraining order against four former employees of deCODE who relocated from Iceland to Philadelphia to set up a competing genetics research facility at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. deCODE alleged that the four former employees breached non-competition agreements, misappropriated deCODE's trade secrets, and violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Applied Materials v. Advanced Micro Fabrication Equipment
(N.D. California) Defended Shanghai-based Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Inc. in a California trade secret action involving semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The case settled shortly before trial on confidential terms.
Economic Espionage Act
(D. Mass.) Obtained dismissal of charge that client violated Economic Espionage Act in connection with alleged theft of trade secrets from Harvard Medical School. (2007)
Cypress Semiconductor Corp. v. Superior Court (2008)
163 Cal.App.4th 575. Successfully defended Cypress Semiconductor Corporation in trade secrets trial. Court bifurcated issue of statute of limitations and then made legal ruling adverse to Cypress. We persuaded Court of Appeals to stay trial so that it could rule on statute of limitations issue. In a case of first impression, appellate court reversed and remanded case for trial. The trial court dismissed the case on summary judgment, finding that Cypress never acquired the allegedly secret source code.
Hansen Medical v. Luna Innovations Inc.
Won a $36.3 million victory for Hansen Medical Inc. in 2009. After a four-week trial involving medical robotics, a jury found that the defendant had willfully misappropriated trade secrets and breached two contracts.
Herbalife v. Ford.
Representing Herbalife in ongoing trade secrets litigation.
Medtronic Spine LLC v. Cozmed, LLC
(Northern District of California) Obtained consent judgments of patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation against infringers in a matter involving balloon kyphoplasty.
Pharmingen v. Fujisawa Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., et al.
(San Diego Superior Court). Defended Fujisawa in trade secret litigation involving the licensing of clones from Japanese developers for the production of antibodies to be used as research tools.
Quixtar, Inc. v. Signature Management Team, LLC
(D. Nev.). Representing Quixtar Inc. (Amway) in a lawsuit against the Signature Management Team, alleging tortious interference with Quixtar's distributors, employee raiding, misappropriation of trade secrets, and violations of the Lanham Act. Suit against a break-away group of distributors who left Quixtar and aligned themselves with another multi-level marketing company. (Ongoing, 2009)
Religious Technology Center v. Dennis Erlich
Pro bono representation of former member of the Church of Scientology in federal copyright infringement and trade secret litigation (1999).
Syntron Bioresearch v. Genix Biotek
(California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District). Secured a $12.5-million judgment and permanent injunction on behalf of our client Syntron Bioresearch in a trade secret and trademark case against former employees accused of stealing monoclonal antibodies, hybridoma cell lines, and production processes used in manufacturing immunoassays.
Technology Integrated Group v. FusionStorm
Won a $10.8 million jury verdict and successfully defended all counterclaims in 2010. After a five-week trial involving the value-added reseller industry, a jury found that multiple defendants had violated their duty of care to their former employer and willfully misappropriated three trade secrets. The jury also found that the new employer aided, abetted, and ratified those acts, and awarded punitive damages against plaintiff’s former manager, the new employer, and three of its officers.
Verified Identity Pass, Inc. v. Fischer
(S.D.N.Y) Successfully obtained restraining order and favorable settlement on behalf of our client Verified Identity Pass in connection with theft of trade secrets by a former employee. (2008)
Watson v. H.J. Heinz Company.
Lead counsel to H.J. Heinz in a trade secret and correction of patent inventorship action. Successfully moved to dismiss the action based upon plaintiff’s lack of standing, and the Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed.
Wellstat Therapeutics Corp. v. The Regents of the University of California
(San Diego Superior Court). Favorably settled patent, licensing and trade secret litigation against The Regents of the University of California, involving the use of a uridine prodrug to treat various metabolic disorders. The matter settled on the eve of trial with no payment made by The Regents.

The Recorder
Three IP Litigators named 2012 Attorney of the Year by The Recorder.

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Best Law Firms 2015
National: IP Litigation (Tier 1)
National: Patent Litigation (Tier 1)
National: Patent Law (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: IP Litigation (Tier 1)
Los Angeles: Patent Litigation (Tier 1)
San Diego: IP Litigation (Tier 1)
San Diego: Patent Litigation (Tier 1)
San Diego: Patent Law (Tier 1)
San Francisco: IP Litigation (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Patent Litigation (Tier 1)
San Francisco: Patent Law (Tier 1)
Washington D.C.: IP Litigation (Tier 1)
Washington D.C.: Patent Litigation (Tier 1)

Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2015
China: Foreign Firms
Hong Kong
Japan: International Firms and Joint Ventures

Legal 500 US 2018
Trade Secrets

IAM Patent 1000 2016
California: Litigation (Gold)
California: Transactions(Highly Recommended)
California: Prosecution
Hong Kong: Litigation & Transactions
Japan: Litigation and Licensing (Highly Recommended)
National: Transactions
National: Litigation
Washington D.C.: Litigation

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National Law Journal - 2016 IP Hot List

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