Adrienne Knecht Tierney

Law Clerk

San Francisco


Read full biography at www.orrick.com

Adrienne Tierney is an associate in the Complex Litigation and Dispute Resolution group in Orrick’s San Francisco office. Her practice includes cybersecurity and privacy litigation, complex civil litigation, white collar criminal defense, and government and internal investigations.

Adrienne represents corporate clients and individuals in state and federal courts, as well as in domestic and international arbitration proceedings. In her civil litigation practice she has represented clients in a broad range of commercial disputes and product liability actions. She has also represented her clients at trial.

In her cybersecurity and privacy practice Adrienne has defended clients in class action litigations, and government enforcement actions following the announcement of cybersecurity and privacy incidents. In the event of a privacy or security breach she helps companies respond and guide them through investigation, remediation, notification and any ensuing government inquiries.   

Adrienne maintains an active pro bono practice, which has included protecting women’s reproductive rights and advocating for criminal justice reform.

Posts by: Adrienne Knecht Tierney

Professor’s Prosecution Shows Importance of Disclosing All Foreign Ties

In August 2019, federal prosecutors indicted Feng Tao, a Chinese scientist conducting research at the University of Kansas, on fraud charges. The indictment may not appear notable at first glance. But when viewed against the backdrop of the Trump administration’s escalating trade war and the Department of Justice’s “China Initiative,” the facts underlying this prosecution may tell a deeper story.

As part of its China Initiative—a program announced in November 2018 to combat state-sponsored intellectual property theft—the DOJ set out to develop an enforcement strategy concerning universities and research laboratories. These institutions are considered particularly vulnerable targets of Chinese espionage because of their status as recruiters of foreign talent and incubators of state-of-the-art technology. The FBI has since begun scrutinizing universities’ ties to China, reaching out to schools around the country to curb the threat of technology and trade secret theft posed by researchers tapped by the Chinese government. READ MORE

UPDATE: Home Remedies Remain Best Medicine for Politically Charged IP Theft

In July 2018, a federal judge in Wisconsin imposed a $1.5 million penaltythe maximum statutory fine—against Chinese wind turbine manufacturer, Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd., for stealing trade secrets from Massachusetts-based technology company, AMSC Inc. In addition to the fine, Sinovel was sentenced to 1 year probation and ordered to pay $57.5 million in restitution to AMSC, an amount the companies had settled on prior to the ruling. Sinovel also agreed to pay $850,000 to Massachusetts wind turbine operators. READ MORE

Home Remedies for Politically Charged IP Theft

In January of this year, Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. was convicted of stealing trade secrets from U.S. company AMSC Inc. The theft caused AMSC, more than $800 million in losses and forced the company to lay off more than half its global work force. Sinovel’s sentencing—which could include fines exceeding $1 billion and a multiyear probationary period—is scheduled for June 2018. READ MORE