January 19, 2011
A Latham & Watkins trial team led by San Francisco partner Steven Bauer won a complete defense verdict for Marvell Semiconductor Inc., which was named 2010’s Top Defense Verdict by the Daily Journal. Following a two-month trial, a unanimous California state court jury cleared Marvell of all allegations. Marvell's general counsel stated: "We would not settle the case as a matter of principle, so we needed to hire trial lawyers who were 100 percent committed to trying and winning the case. And that's what they did."
The trade secrets misappropriation trial was one of Silicon Valley’s most notorious business stories, stemming from an inadvertent voice mail left by Marvell’s counsel during a business negotiation with plaintiff Jasmine Networks. The Daily Journal said the case "certainly was riveting for lawyers to watch." The American Lawyer Litigation Daily praised the Latham team for overcoming "a seemingly slam dunk trade secrets case." Corporate Counsel magazine reported that the defense "hammered away at Jasmine's witnesses" and argued that the company had copied technology from a Stanford University professor and tried to disingenuously sell that property to Marvell. Law360 reported that the case "closed the books on an epic trade secrets theft suit, finding that defendant Marvell Semiconductor Inc. didn’t abuse confidential information or violate nondisclosure agreements with its rival Jasmine Networks."
Latham & Watkins LLP was retained as Marvell’s counsel shortly before the original trial date in January 2009, the day after Marvell’s former counsel was disqualified. The jury verdict on November 24, 2010 marked a dramatic conclusion to a case history that included two trips to the Sixth District Court of Appeal, including one over an eleventh-hour dismissal that was later reversed. Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William J. Elfving presided over the case. Latham’s trial team consisted of partners Steven Bauer, James Lynch, Margaret Tough, Matthew Rawlinson, and Charles Crompton.