Howard Ullman, Of Counsel in the San Francisco office, is a member of the Litigation and the Antitrust and Competition Groups. He focuses his practice on competition and antitrust law, trade regulation, unfair competition, class action and complex litigation issues.
He has extensive experience advising on distribution law and distribution
system issues (including competitor collaborations, pricing issues, non-price restraints and dealer
termination issues). He routinely addresses and counsels on the antitrust /
intellectual property interface.
Howard represents Nanya Technology Corporation and Nanya Technology
Corporation USA in the national DRAM antitrust price-fixing cases. Other
price-fixing experience includes representation of a defendant in the DRAM antitrust price-fixing litigation and a large purchaser in
connection with the SRAM antitrust price-fixing litigation, and representation
of companies in alleged school milk and paint pigment cartels.
He has also worked on antitrust cases for PG&E Corporation, Equifax, One
Technologies, and a number of other companies. He regularly counsels companies
on competition issues, including Robinson-Patman Act (price discrimination) issues and market
concentration issues. He has worked on a number of Cal. Bus. and Prof. Code
Section 17200 (unfair competition) litigations. He has also worked on a number
of antitrust-healthcare related matters, including mergers and acquisitions.
Howard has worked on antitrust cases in the life insurance industry and
for Microsoft Corp. in connection with intellectual property issues. He
recently finished cases for a supplier of industrial equipment (commercial
scales) and involving below-cost pricing in the retail gasoline industry. He
also recently worked on a Section 2 case for a pool products manufacturer that
As we’ve observed over the years, when addressing trade secrets claims based on customer lists, courts have landed all over the place. These cases involve difficult questions such as when an employee develops relationships on behalf of Company A but then leaves for Company B, who “owns” those relationships?
A recent federal district court decision from the District of Hawaii, WHIC LLC dba Aloha Toxicology v. Nextgen Labs, Inc., offers an example of how the severity of the alleged misconduct may enable the employer to prevail, even if it can make only a marginal showing on the existence of a trade secret. On September 17, 2018, the court granted the plaintiff drug testing company’s request for a preliminary injunction, requiring, among other things, its competitor to stop servicing certain former clients of the plaintiff. READ MORE
Several months ago, we reported on the potential to protect trade secrets by encrypting information using blockchain technology. Then, earlier this month, we reported on an order out of the Southern District of California involving “CryptoKitties,” a decentralized application (or “DApp”) built on the Ethereum blockchain (using the ERC721 protocol) that allows users to securely buy, sell, trade, and breed genetically unique virtual cats.
While the potential to protect trade secrets using blockchain technology is clear, the reasoning in the CryptoKitties order raises questions regarding whether blockchain technology could constitute a trade secret in and of itself or when combined with other concepts or business methods pursuant to Federal and California law.
In 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents caught researchers attempting to smuggle a $75 million trade secret from the United States to China. Unlike the trade secrets we usually discuss, the trade secrets in tow were rice seeds. But not just any rice seeds: these valuable seeds were genetically modified to create proteins used to treat gastrointestinal disease, antibiotic-associated diarrhea, hepatic disease, osteoporosis and inflammatory bowel disease. READ MORE