Michael D. Weil

Partner

San Francisco


Read full biography at www.orrick.com
Michael Weil, an Employment and Trade Secrets partner in the San Francisco office, represents clients in high-stakes trade secrets, employee mobility and employment litigation throughout the United States.

Michael's trade secrets engagements frequently arise from employee departures or commercial settings.  He has handled trade secrets and non-compete cases involving a variety of intellectual property, such as organic chemistry, genetic sequencing, chemistry lab processes, near field payment technology, client lists, shipping cost information, and many others.  As an employment lawyer, Michael also regularly handles matters involving independent contractor status, wrongful termination, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and compensation matters, including wage-and-hour class actions and representative actions under state and federal laws. Finally, Michael counsels clients on a wide variety of employment and related business issues. 

Posts by: Michael Weil

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.

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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

IN DA (TRADE SECRETS THEFT) CLUB: $15 Million Judgment Against Rapper 50 Cent

The rapper known as “50 Cent” stole trade secrets to the tune of $15 million, an arbitrator found.

A filing in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida earlier this month disclosed the final award for theft of trade secrets relating to a headphone design from an audio company 50 Cent had helped finance.

While the decision grabbed mainstream news media headlines, the arbitrator’s legal findings are also newsworthy to the avid trade secrets practitioner:  The arbitrator relied on the inevitable disclosure doctrine and the similarity of products as evidence of liability. READ MORE

Pyrrhic Victory For Parties Seeking Fracking Fluid Disclosures

Parties advocating public disclosure of the chemical makeup of fracking fluids may have won a recent battle in Wyoming, but are they losing the war?  On March 12, 2014, the Wyoming Supreme Court in Powder River Basin Resource Council v. Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reversed a district court’s order exempting fracking fluid information from public disclosure.  The court made two key findings.  First, the court clarified that parties seeking disclosure in Wyoming are entitled to de novo district court review of administrative decisions exempting fracking fluid information from disclosure as trade secrets.  Second, it held that the “narrow” definition of trade secrets under FOIA applies to exemption claims. READ MORE

That’s the Way the Consensus Crumbles: CISPA Splits Natural Allies in High-Tech

Orrick Trade Secrets Watch

If there’s one thing Americans of all political stripes seem to agree on, it’s the need to thwart cyber-attacks on critical U.S. systems.  Just this week, the Pentagon for the first time openly blamed China for hacking U.S. government computer infrastructure.

Yet a bill that would combat cyber attacks by enhancing information-sharing among government agencies and private companies is once again stumbling through Congress, its fate thrown into question by intra-Silicon Valley rivalries and a threatened White House veto.  The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would permit information-sharing about possible cyber-security threats among government agencies and private companies.  The main idea behind CISPA is that expanding the information flow would help disseminate and centralize information that is otherwise fragmented and siloed, which would help halt cyber-attacks.  These attacks pose a threat READ MORE