Denise Mingrone


Silicon Valley

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As chair of Orrick’s award-winning Intellectual Property Business Unit, Denise Mingrone leads the charge to enforce and protect clients’ technology rights.

She approaches each challenge on multiple fronts so as to achieve success whether it be in or out of court. No stranger to the courtroom and having handled complex litigations for technology giants including Synopsys, Brocade, Applied Materials and Oracle, Denise seamlessly and efficiently manages large teams to secure victory. Clients appreciate her transparent collaboration and instinct for developing a strategy that ensures that only the “right” evidence is presented to the trier of fact.

The jury verdict Denise’s team obtained in the Netgear v. Ruckus Wireless patent trial, for example, surprised most because the team took over the case just weeks before jury selection, earning the number one place on that week’s “Top Jury Verdicts.” Prior to the Ruckus trial, Denise’s team similarly received accolades as “Top Verdict of the Year” for its jury win on behalf of Brocade against A10 Networks. These victories were preceded by a win for MGA in the “Barbie v. Bratz” epic battle against Mattel, which earned Denise the “California Lawyer of the Year” award for her contributions.

As a former career law clerk to several federal judges, Denise appreciates that cases do not turn on facts alone. She has waged and won numerous battles both obtaining and defending pre-trial injunction motions involving trade secrets and software piracy. As one opponent noted, “She’s a fierce advocate who will go to the mat for her client’s position.”

 Injunctive Wins

  • Synopsys v Hua (Portland, OR): Denise led the team that secured full injunctive relief and a favorable settlement for Synopsys after its copyrighted software was pirated by defendants.
  • Synopsys v Agate Logic (N.D. Cal.): Synopsys reached complete agreement including all requested relief arising from complaint and temporary restraining order brought by Denise and her team.
  • Synopsys v. Walia, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court): Preliminary and permanent injunctive relief entered for Synopsys and final settlement reached following numerous victories and Court orders obtained by Denise’s team.
  • Synopsys v. Silicon Artists, et al. (C.D. Cal.): Denise and her team secured all requested injunctive relief and settlements as a result of defendants’ piracy of Synopsys software.
  • LAM v. Belfor, et al. (Santa Clara Superior Court): Case settled to client’s satisfaction following the defeat of LAM’s Motion for Entry of a Permanent injunction against clients. Denise and her partner Bill Molinski led this victory.

Other Notable Engagements

  • Netgear, Inc. v. Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (D. Del.): Following an eight day trial presided over by District Judge Robinson, the jury returned a verdict of non-infringement as to all accused Ruckus products. Denise co-tried the case with Orrick partners Neel Chatterjee and Nick Setty.

  • Brocade Communications v. A10 Networks (N.D. Cal.): Denise managed the trial team that obtained a $112M jury verdict against A10 for patent and copyright infringement, as well as trade secret misappropriation and intentional interference with contract. Based on this verdict, this team also secured permanent injunctions for Brocade in February 2013 against A10 based on A10's patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation.

  • Synopsys, Inc. v. Sabharwal (N.D. Cal.): Denise led the litigation team that secured injunctive relief against defendant to halt trade secret misappropriation.

  • MGA v. Mattel, Inc. (C.D. Cal.): Denise managed the Orrick team, and obtained an $88 million dollar verdict based on a finding of willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets by Mattel. The team successfully defended Mattel's contentions as well, establishing MGA's uncontested ownership rights in Bratz.

  • Siliconware Precision Industries Co., Ltd: and Siliconware USA, Inc. (ITC and N. D. Cal.): Denise's litigation team successfully defended these respondents in patent litigation before the ITC, resulting in the withdrawal by Tessera Inc. of its complaint concerning Tessera's semiconductor chip packaging technology.

  • Acer, Inc., Nanya Technology Corporation and Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (ITC): Denise served on the winning litigation team, defeating Tessera on behalf of these respondents in patent litigation before the ITC concerning Tessera's packaging patents.

  • Applied Materials, Inc. v. SES: Denise was part of the team that obtained a preliminary injunction in Arizona state court on behalf of Applied Materials, Inc. The injunction prevented misappropriation of Applied's intellectual property and continues to protect its trade secrets.

  • Johnson & Johnson v. Genentech: Denise was part of an Orrick team that succeeded on its motion to dismiss the complaint filed against Genentech, ultimately leading to a non-monetary settlement and dismissal of the case.

Posts by: Denise M. Mingrone

Upon Reflection, Some Trade Secrets May Be Less Secret Than They Appear

A recent case in Florida is a reminder that when dealing with government entities, trade secrets may be disclosed to the public, especially if that information has been aggregated.  The District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed a circuit court’s ruling ordering Broward County to produce information that Uber claimed were trade secrets.  Uber and Broward County had entered into an agreement governing Uber’s services at the airport and Port Everglades.  Part of the agreement required that Uber provide Broward County with monthly self-reports.  These reports contained both aggregated data and granular data.  The aggregated data was comprised of the total number of pickups and drop-offs at the airport and seaport, multiplied by the fee in each of those zones.  The granular data included a time stamp, longitude and latitude of pick-ups or drop-offs, and the first three characters of the driver’s license plate.  Per the agreement, Uber marked these monthly reports as containing trade secrets exempt from Florida’s Public Records Act, which Broward County was required to keep confidential. READ MORE

EU Study: Trade Secrets Top Patents in European Union

Just as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has shown a keen interest in better understanding policy concerns and the needs of business stakeholders in the area of trade secrets (see our coverage of both USPTO symposia here and here) against the backdrop of a new federal law, the EU’s IP office is also stepping up its focus on trade secrets following the EU Trade Secrets Directive in 2016 (our coverage here).  READ MORE

SOUR GRAPES: Fig Spread Verdict Under DTSA Doesn’t Stick, Argue Jam Company Defendants

In a dispute over ripped off recipes, counsel for victorious plaintiff Dalmatia Import Group hailed the jury verdict as the first of its kind under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, as we previously reported.  Not so fast, sulked the defendants, Dalmatia’s erstwhile manufacturer Lancaster Fine Foods and distributor FoodMatch, in a filing this month.  While acknowledging their defeat under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act, the defendants nevertheless urged  the court not to enter judgment under the DTSA.


Wake Forest Leaks Scandal May Offer “Playbook” For Businesses Seeking Trade Secret Protection

After a long political season that took many twists and turns due in part to revelations from WikiLeaks, the holiday season finally arrived. For many, that meant family traditions, time away from work, and massive amounts of college football, thanks to the current litany of televised bowl games.


Password Sharing Is Not a Crime, Ninth Circuit Reassures in Denial of Nosal’s Request for Rehearing

Since the early days of this blog, we’ve been covering the ongoing legal battle involving ex-Korn Ferry recruiter David Nosal as it winds its way through the courts. The latest chapter in this saga came on December 8, 2016, when a Ninth Circuit panel clarified that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) does not criminalize innocent password sharing, in a published opinion denying Nosal’s request for a rehearing en banc. READ MORE

REDUCING RISKS: Court Finds Copyright Act Does Not Preempt State Trade Secret Claim

Over the years, it has proven difficult to fit software in any one category of IP protection. And while software’s ability to seemingly transcend patents, copyright, and trade secrets provides software developers and technology companies with options, it also makes it challenging to decide which will provide the best way to enforce those rights. There are obviously risks and benefits to each form of protection. However, the courts have reduced at least one risk: preemption of state trade secret laws by the Copyright Act. READ MORE

Senate Bill in Georgia Seeks to Expand Scope of Trade Secret Protection

On February 2, 2016, Georgia State Senator Hunter Hill introduced Senate Bill 321 in the Georgia Senate. The bill is entitled “Commerce and Trade; state government; protections against public disclosure of certain information.” The bill has 36 co-sponsors, all of whom, like Hill, are Republican.  READ MORE

Ninth Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II

On October 20, 2015, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in Round II of United States v. David Nosal.  Both sides generally stuck with arguments from their briefs, with Nosal’s counsel arguing that upholding Nosal’s  conviction under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (the “CFAA”) would lead to criminalization of relatively minor misappropriations of information, and the government arguing that the precedent would only apply in the employment context. READ MORE

A Preview of the CFAA Arguments in United States v. Nosal, Part II: Could “Phishing” be a Factor?

Oral arguments for the next round in United States v. Nosal have been set for October 20, 2015 at the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.  So we figured it may be a good time to review both sides’ arguments related to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. After doing so, it seems to us that one topic not given any consideration in the briefs, but that may play a role during oral argument is the phenomenon known as phishing schemes, and how such schemes might be compared and contrasted with the scheme alleged in this case. READ MORE

First Foreign Hacker Is Convicted In The United States Of Hacking Crimes Involving Theft Of Trade Secrets From American Companies

A 22-year-old Canadian hacker has been sentenced to federal prison by a Delaware court for engaging in a conspiracy to break into the computer networks of several large gaming companies, to steal trade secret and other information related to unreleased products, and to commit criminal copyright infringement.  According to the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum, David Pokora of Ontario, sentenced last Thursday was “a leading member in an international computer hacking ring . . . that committed numerous unlawful intrusions into the computer networks of various technology companies involved in the $22 billion-dollar video gaming industry.”  The conspiracy’s victims included Microsoft, Epic Games (which develops the highly popular “Gears of War” series), and Activision Blizzard (which published, among many other successful games, “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3”). READ MORE