Practice/Industry Group Overview
Our litigation attorneys represent computer and technology companies, software developers, manufacturing, construction and leasing companies, broker-dealers, financial service providers, institutional investment advisers, wineries, artists, authors and other entrepreneurs, in protecting their intellectual property and competitive business interests. Our goal is to assist clients in effectively and efficiently protecting and enforcing their intellectual property rights. We have successfully represented both plaintiffs and defendants in trade secret, unfair competition, trademark, copyright, patent and other intellectual property litigation. We also have substantial expertise in all types of alternative dispute resolution techniques.
We take a “business solution” approach to intellectual property disputes, focusing not only on achieving a favorable litigation result, but also on furthering our clients’ overall business interests and protecting and enhancing their competitive positions in the marketplace. We are able to offer our clients sound business advice and counseling to help them evaluate and implement creative and constructive solutions, both before and after the commencement of litigation. Our litigation attorneys work closely with those in our business department, who counsel clients regarding a wide range of intellectual property matters, including the selection, registration, licensing and enforcement of trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other intellectual property.
We represent plaintiff companies in pursuing trade secret misappropriation and unfair competition claims against former officers and business associates. In recent cases, for example, we won substantial settlements for a large construction company whose former employees misappropriated our client’s trade secrets in forming a competing firm and for a software development company in claims against a business associate firm that hired away employees possessing our client’s trade secrets. In another case, we represented a fast growing manufacturing company against a rival start-up that hired away a key employee with possession of our client’s trade secrets. We succeeded not only in getting a preliminary injunction, but also in obtaining sanctions on a contempt judgment for violating the injunction.
We also represent defendants in similar cases brought by competitors and others. We represented a chip manufacturer in a dispute over licensing rights to a jointly developed product and a fine arts dealer in a dispute over the authenticity of certain paintings. Our trade secret and unfair competition experience is wide-ranging and encompasses cases involving employee raiding, misappropriation of customer lists, source codes, leads, formulas and other trade secrets and proprietary information, interference with contracts and other forms of unfair competition.
We regularly counsel clients about their rights in the event of employee defections and about how best to protect their trade secrets and other proprietary information. We often represent them in drafting and enforcing confidentiality agreements and otherwise assuring that departed employees and their new employers do not use misappropriated confidential information or otherwise interfere with our clients’ customer relationships. We also represent separating employees in establishing their own businesses without violating their duties to their prior employers.
In the trademark area, we assist clients in obtaining trademark registration for marks initially denied registration by the U.S. Trademark Office or opposed by third parties in inter partes litigation We regularly represent plaintiffs and defendants in trademark litigation. Recently we brought a successful trademark and anti-dilution claim against an entity attempting illegally to register and use a domain name confusingly similar to the well-known trademark of our entertainment industry client. We currently represent a large California winery in connection with various trademark matters. We also recently defended a charge card issuer in a trademark and antitrust dispute with two large credit card companies.
Our litigation expertise also includes patent and copyright disputes. We handle the patent litigation for a large California manufacturer and have represented plaintiffs and defendants in various types of patent claims. We represent a variety of authors, artists and software developers in copyright litigation and work with companies and individuals in obtaining and enforcing copyright protection for their Internet web sites and other original works of authorship. Recent litigation includes a copyright infringement action we brought against a company that impermissibly copied Internet web pages from our client’s e-commerce web site, and our representation of a high technology company in an action against former employees for copying our client’s firmware and software.
Kendall-Jackson Winery, Ltd., Ceres, LLC, Sunlight Foods, Inc., San Francisco Network (Karen Neuburger clothing and accessories), Scott Adams ("Dilbert"), Marissa Moss ("Amelia" childrens' books), Zombie, LLC (computer games), NetForce, Inc. (software development), Advanced Micro Devices (technology and trademark licensing), Simpson Manufacturing (technology licensing), Virtual Education Corp. (Internet software)