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Trade Secrets Litigation

Latham & Watkins’ lawyers advise clients on maintaining and protecting their trade secrets, which are often among a company’s most valuable intellectual property assets.

Latham’s lawyers assist clients in developing programs for protecting trade secrets and managing risks, counsel clients to avoid being named as a defendant in trade secret claims, and enforce and defend trade secret claims on behalf of their clients.

The firm's lawyers advise clients on practices and policies to maintain trade secret protection, including:

  • “Clean room” design-around practices
  • Hiring and employment practices
  • Preparation of non-disclosure and intellectual property-ownership agreements for joint ventures, independent consultants, vendors and employees
  • Training programs that assist in identifying, maintaining and protecting trade secrets and avoiding third-party claims

The effective handling of trade secret litigation requires not only a deep understanding of technology and the law (including the interplay between trade secret and patent law), but also the litigation depth and talent for which Latham is known. Unless there is an immediate and decisive legal response, trade secret misappropriation by former employees or third parties can cause enormous loss of value to a company.

Latham’s lawyers have substantial experience obtaining emergency remedies such as temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions to address trade secret misappropriation. The firm has represented dozens of clients in matters involving threatened or actual misappropriation of trade secrets and have obtained sizeable judgments, seizures and emergency remedies to preclude further use and disclosure of trade secrets. Many such cases involve complex technologies, for which the firm's lawyers use their technological expertise to help to identify critical trade secrets and potential misappropriation. 

Defense of trade secret claims likewise requires a blend of technological depth and litigation agility that Latham’s lawyers possess. The firm’s trade secret litigation teams blend technological understanding with expertise in responding to emergency or expedited proceedings, and handling cases through trial when necessary.

Jasmine Networks v. Marvell Semiconductor
Latham won a complete defense verdict for Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. (Marvell), a manufacturer of semiconductors and related devices, in a trade secrets misappropriation trial, which was named 2010's "Top Defense Verdict" by the Daily Journal. After a two-month trial in Santa Clara County Superior Court, the jury cleared Marvell of all allegations. The trade secrets misappropriation trial was one of Silicon Valley's most notorious business stories, stemming from an inadvertent voicemail left by Marvell executives during a business negotiation with plaintiff Jasmine Networks. Latham was retained as Marvell's counsel shortly before the original trial date, after Marvell's former counsel was disqualified. The unanimous jury verdict marked a dramatic conclusion to a case history that included two trips to the California Court of Appeal, including one over an 11th hour dismissal that was later reversed.    

Entrepreneur Media, Inc. v. Rieva Lesonsky
Latham represented Entrepreneur Media, Inc. (EMI) in a trade secret misappropriation and trademark infringement action in the US District Court for the Central District of California against two former employees of EMI. EMI alleged that the former employees had taken copies of proprietary information and franchise database when they left the company and used those trade secrets to improperly jumpstart their own consulting firm. Latham negotiated a settlement on favorable terms for EMI.

Optimal Markets Inc v. FTI Consulting, Inc.
Latham won a complete defense verdict for FTI Consulting Inc. and other defendants in a trade secret misappropriation and copyright action concerning technology related to running clock auction software. The case was resolved in arbitration.

 
 
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