Michael Weil, an Employment partner in the San Francisco office, represents clients in high-stakes employment, trade secrets and employee mobility litigation throughout the United States. Michael was recognized as a Rising Star in his field by Law360.

Michael's practice focuses on matters involving trade secrets, restrictive covenants, employee mobility issues, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) whistleblower claims, wrongful termination and discrimination. He has also defended numerous wage-and-hour class actions and representative actions under state and federal laws, including claims for overtime, vacation, meal and rest break penalties, waiting-time penalties and other alleged Labor Code violations. Finally, Michael counsels clients on a wide variety of employment and related corporate issues. 

In addition, Orrick’s Employment Law and Litigation group was recently named Labor & Employment Department of the Year in California by The Recorder, the premier source for legal news, in recognition of their significant wins on behalf of leading multinational companies on today’s most complex and challenging employment law matters.

Some of Michael's representative litigation engagements include the following:

Trade Secrets Matters:

  • eBay v. Google. Michael represented eBay in this lawsuit alleging trade secrets misappropriation in connection with Google’s hiring of a former PayPal employee. The case resolved confidentially.
  • Bio-Rad v. 10X Genomics. Michael successfully defended the founders of 10X in a multi-week arbitration, brought by Bio-Rad, seeking to enjoin the founders from working at 10X.
  • Williams-Sonoma v. Arhaus. Michael represented Williams-Sonoma in this trade secrets lawsuit alleging that a former employee and his new employer misappropriated trade secrets.  Following a three-day evidentiary hearing, the Court granted Williams-Sonoma's motion for preliminary injunction.
  • Varian Medical Systems v. Elekta, Inc. Michael represented Varian in this trade secrets dispute alleging that a former employee and her new employer misappropriated trade secrets. Following a two-day evidentiary hearing, the Court granted Varian’s motion for a temporary injunction. The case resolved confidentially thereafter.
  • Zynga v. Scopely Inc. Michael successfully defeated an application for TRO and preliminary injunction under the Defend Trade Secrets Act filed against Scopely.
  • AllCells, LLC v. Cepheus Biosciences. Michael secured a preliminary injunction under the Defend Trade Secrets against the defendants for misappropriation of biomedical trade secrets.
  • First American Equipment Finance v. US Bancorp. Michael represented a U.S. Bank in this lawsuit alleging trade secrets misappropriation in connection with US Bank’s hiring of two employees from First American. The case settled confidentially.
  • Hewlett Packard v. Adrian Jones. Michael represented Mr. Jones in this lawsuit alleging trade secrets misappropriation following Mr. Jones’ departure from HP to Oracle. The case settled confidentially.
  • Silvaco Data Systems v. Agilent Technologies, Inc. Michael was part of a team representing Agilent Technologies Inc. in a trade secrets action filed by Silvaco Data Systems. The court granted Agilent’s motion for summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal.
  • URS Corporation v. Earth Tech, Inc. Michael was part of a team representing Earth Tech Inc. and two individual defendants in a trade secrets, employee raiding and contract interference case involving over forty allegedly raided employees. The case resolved confidentially.
  • Protiva Biotherapeutics, Inc. v. Sirna Therapeutics, Inc. Michael was part of a team representing Protiva Biotherapeutics, Inc. in a trade secrets case filed by Protiva for misappropriation of biotechnology trade secrets. The court granted Protiva’s motion for preliminary injunction, and the case settled thereafter confidentially.

Employee Mobility Matters:

  • Adobe Systems Incorporated v. Joshua G. James. Michael represented Mr. James, the former CEO of Omniture, Inc., in this multiple lawsuit cross-border dispute arising out of purported non-compete and non-solicit agreements Mr. James’ signed with Adobe. The case resolved confidentially.
  • Oracle America, Inc. et al v. International Business Machines. Michael represented Oracle in this multiple lawsuit cross-border dispute arising out of Oracle’s hiring of an executive from New York who signed a non-compete agreement with IBM. The cases resolved confidentially.
  • Johnson & Johnson v. Genentech. Michael represented Genentech as defendant against claims for employee raiding, tortious interference and unfair competition. The court granted Genentech’s motion to dismiss, and the case ended shortly thereafter with no injunction or damages whatsoever paid by Genentech or any of its employees.
  • Honeywell International Inc. v. David Stacey. Michael represented Mr. Stacey, a former Honeywell employee who joined Nest Labs, in this lawsuit alleging breach of restrictive covenants and inevitable disclosure of trade secrets. The case resolved confidentially.
  • Zynga Game Network v. CLZ Concepts. Michael represented the founders of CLZ in this lawsuit arising out of purported non-compete and non-solicit agreements the founders signed with Zynga in connection with the sale of their former business. The court denied Zynga's motion for preliminary injunction. The case settled confidentially thereafter.

Class Action Matters:

  • Kilby v. CVS. Michael represents CVS in this class action alleging that CVS violated California law by failing to provide suitable seats for its cashiers.
  • Ortiz v. CVS. Michael represented CVS in this class action alleging that CVS violated numerous California Labor Codes. The Court denied class certification and later struck Plaintiffs' Private Attorney General Act Claims.
  • Rankin v. Longs Drug Stores. Michael represented Longs in this class action alleging that Longs’ employment application was unlawful. The court entered judgment for Longs after a bench trial, which was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal in a published decision.

Posts by: Michael Weil

EVEN BAMBI IS A TRADE SECRET: Eastern District Of Texas Finds That Lineage and Genetic Information of Deer Are Trade Secrets, Grants Preliminary Injunction

As surprising as it may be to city dwellers, the deer farming industry generates $3 billion per year for the U.S. economy. According to the North American Deer Farmers Association, “deer farming is one of the fastest growing industries in rural America.”  The corollary of the deer farming industry is a burgeoning deer breeding industry. As a court in the Eastern District of Texas recently noted, the “deer breeding industry is a potentially lucrative industry with single straws of buck semen selling for $5,000 to $20,000 on average, and ranging all the way up to $1 million to purchase the entire buck.” READ MORE

BREAKING: President Obama Signs Defend Trade Secrets Act Into Law

This afternoon, as anticipated, President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets Act into law, wrapping up a lengthy bipartisan effort to bring trade secrets under federal system law. Some observed that the fact that President Obama chose to sign the bill into law publicly indicates the importance of the new law to the administration. READ MORE

Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015 Faces Criticism 2.0

On August 28, 2015, TSW continued its coverage of the 2015 Defend Trade Secrets Act (“2015 DTSA”), introduced in both the House and Senate on July 28, 2015, with its comparison of the 2015 DTSA to last year’s failed 2014 House Bill. In today’s post, TSW continues with its extensive coverage of the 2015 DTSA, detailing both the criticisms it is facing and the progress it has made in Congress. READ MORE

For Here or To Go? Senators Introduce Bill to Ban Noncompete Agreements, Increase Mobility For Sandwich Makers and Other Low-Wage Workers

Congress is getting into the non-compete business.  Citing the use of non-compete agreements by companies such as Jimmy John’s sandwich shops, Senate Democrats recently introduced a bill—called the Mobility and Opportunity for Vulnerable Employees (MOVE) Act—that would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to prohibit the use of non-compete agreements for low-wage employees. READ MORE

Highly-Protected Secrets: Competitors Try to Keep Legal Secrets in the Quasi-Legal Marijuana Industry

How do you use the law to keep something unlawful a secret?  This and related questions arise as more states legalize marijuana for medical use, recreational use, or both.  As an illicit industry emerges from the shadows, competition and the substantial investments necessary to grow, package, and sell marijuana were bound to get rolled up in trade secrecy law at some point. READ MORE

UPDATE – Uniform Trade Secrets Act Preemption: The Debate Continues… With Possible Implications for Punitive Damages?

Just over one year ago, we noted the continued and vibrant debate among state and federal courts over whether the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) preempts other claims based on the misappropriation of information when that information does not qualify as a trade secret.  In that post, we noted that Arizona was one of the states in which the “majority interpretation” had been applied, which is the view that UTSA preempts all common law tort claims based on trade secret misappropriation, whether or not it meets the statutory definition of a trade secret.

READ MORE

The House Introduces Another Trade Secrets Bill: Is It Really Any Better Than Before?

The Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (H.R. 5233) was introduced in the House by Congressman George Holding on July 29, 2014.  Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Howard Coble (R-NC), John Conyers (D-MI), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), are cosponsors of the bill.

While the House Bill is very similar to the Bill introduced in the Senate on April 29, 2014 Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (DTSA) (S. 2267), there are some major differences between the two.  Specifically, the House Bill is much more protective of defendants facing ex parte seizure orders. READ MORE

DESPITE THE CHEERS, THE DEFEND TRADE SECRETS ACT BILL HAS HOLES: What’s a Plaintiff to Do if It Passes?

State court or federal court?  If the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (DTSA) (S. 2267, introduced on April 29, 2014) becomes law, then trade secrets plaintiffs—not just those who can maintain diversity jurisdiction—could proceed in federal court under new federal law.  But would they want to?  While the knee-jerk reaction of many litigants is a resounding “Yes!,” we wonder whether federal court under the DTSA would be preferable to the well-known Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), which is available in forty-eight of the fifty states.

Let’s first look at where DTSA and the UTSA appear the same or similar.  Both statutes provide nearly identical definitions of trade secrets and misappropriation.  Both also offer similar remedies for injunctive relief, actual damages, unjust enrichment, reasonable royalties, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. READ MORE