Amy Van Zant

Partner

Silicon Valley


Read full biography at www.orrick.com
Clients count on Amy to move their business forward. Whether litigating a complex patent suit, or advising on a multi-faceted IP strategy, Amy incorporates an in-depth understanding of each client’s business, employees and corporate strategy into her solutions.

For her litigation practice, Amy’s ability to distill the most complicated technology across an array of fields, including telecommunications, semiconductor manufacturing, renewable energy, cloud computing, and big data, into relatable, every day concepts that has made her successful in persuading judges and juries alike. She has led trial teams, litigated, and tried cases in state court in California, numerous District Courts, the International Trade Commission, and has briefed appeals before the 9th Circuit, the Federal Circuit, the Supreme Court of California, and the United States Supreme Court. Whether litigating patent, trade secret, or IP contract disputes, Amy strives to put herself in her client’s shoes to ensure personalized results tailored to each client’s business objectives.

Amy also provides comprehensive IP counseling on issues including trade secrets protection, employee departure investigations, freedom to operate analysis, licensing strategies, data privacy protection, and regulatory compliance. She has also conducted comprehensive patent portfolio reviews and assisted with IP corporate transactions.

In addition to her IP work, Amy devotes significant time to her pro bono work. For more than a decade, she has assisted domestic violence victims, as well as led Orrick’s Bay Area summer program that enables law clerks to be certified to argue in Family Court to obtain Temporary Restraining Orders for domestic violence clients.

Posts by: Amy Van Zant

Race to the Finish: Autonomous Vehicle Technology at the Forefront of Alleged Trade Secrets Theft

The stakes couldn’t be higher in the race amongst Silicon Valley self-driving companies vying to be the first to bring the industry-changing technology to market.  With competition so steep, and the potential value counted in the trillions, the efforts to protect this technology have given rise to frequent trade secrets theft disputes.

In the most recent instance of alleged autonomous vehicle technology trade secret theft, a federal district court judge ordered the former director of hardware of WeRide Corp., Kun Huang, to return all files he allegedly downloaded from WeRide before his departure in 2018.  WeRide formerly credited Huang with its success in becoming the fastest autonomous vehicle company to complete its first public road test.  Now, WeRide alleges Huang copied confidential information from a company shared-laptop, deleted files from the laptop, cleared its web browsing history, and then erased the hard drive on his WeRide-issued personal MacBook.  Shortly thereafter, Huang began working at Zhong Zhi Xing Technology Co., Ltd. (ZZX), another defendant in the case, which WeRide alleges was founded by its former CEO, Jing Wang, also named as a defendant.

Based on these allegations, the Court granted WeRide a preliminary injunction against Huang and his new companies, ZZX and a related entity AllRide.AI, Inc., barring these parties from using or sharing WeRide’s trade secrets and requiring them to return all WeRide materials within four days of the order.

This case is but one of many recent trade secret disputes amongst Silicon Valley autonomous vehicle technology companies.  And with autonomous vehicle employee turnover high and trillions of dollars at stake, we expect to see many more trade secret disputes arise.

To Patent or Not to Patent? Preserving Trade Secret Status During Prosecution

Amid a growing body of unsettled law regarding the patentability of software and business methods patents, companies are increasingly choosing to maintain their valuable innovations as trade secrets rather than risk a rejected patent application. There are pros and cons to both forms of intellectual property protection. However, the decision need not be binary – at least not during the pendency of the patent application. Instead, by opting to go the “non-publication” route, inventors can maintain trade secret protection over an invention during the patenting process and decide whether to forego trade secret status and allow the patent to issue at the end of the patent prosecution process. READ MORE

Constitutional Challenge to CFAA Survives Motion to Dismiss as D.C. Court Weighs in on Circuit Split

On March 30, 2018, in Sandvig v. Sessions, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia allowed one of several constitutional challenges to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to survive a motion to dismiss.  In doing so, the district court highlighted and analyzed the split between circuits in interpreting the “exceeds authorization” provision and joined the Second, Fourth, and Ninth Circuits in finding that exceeding authorization means exceeding authorized access and not merely authorized use. READ MORE