Vann solves difficult intellectual property problems, and helps clients use their intellectual property to build their companies.
As a litigator of patent infringement and related matters, he has obtained judgments, dismissals, and favorable outcomes in federal district courts, the Federal Circuit, the ITC, and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. As a counselor on patent licensing and portfolio development, Vann crafts precise strategies which minimize legal threats and capitalize on emerging industry trends. Whether resolving today’s disputes or helping his clients plan for the future, Vann understands how to lead teams to successful outcomes, on budget, and in demanding circumstances.
Like his clients, Vann approaches his work with an entrepreneur’s mindset. Vann co-founded and is Co-Chair of Orrick's 3D Printing practice. Vann frequently speaks at conferences and universities around the world about the intersection of 3D printing/additive manufacturing and intellectual property law.
Vann draws upon his technical background to quickly understand complex inventions ranging from semiconductors, to imaging and displays, to chemistry. He holds a chemical engineering degree and worked in the medical device and biotech fields before law school.
- Apple, Inc. v. Motorola, Inc. (Fed. Cir.). Mr. Pearce represented Apple in several appellate matters against Motorola involving smartphone patents. In the first of these matters, the Federal Circuit overturned ITC rulings that a key Apple touchscreen patent was both anticipated and obvious, and reversed the key claim construction on a second patent. These rulings revived Apple's claims of infringement as to both patents at issue. Law360 named Mr. Pearce and his colleagues "Legal Lions" for this victory (August 8, 2013). In another case, Mr. Pearce was instrumental in Apple's successful effort to reverse an unfavorable claim construction on the so-called "Steve Jobs" patent, covering touchscreen control functionality.
- EMC Corp. v. Pure Storage, Inc. (D. Del.). Mr. Pearce represented plaintiff EMC in a patent infringement lawsuit against its competitor, Pure Storage. Mr. Pearce directed preparation of EMC's damages case, and the infringement and validity case on one asserted patent, through expert discovery. He also successfully argued a discovery motion hearing. A jury awarded EMC $14 million in damages after trial.
- WordCheck Tech LLC v. EMC Corp. (E.D. Tex.). Mr. Pearce represented EMC in a patent infringement lawsuit involving data loss prevention systems. Following the claim construction hearing, the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed case with prejudice, with no monetary payment required by our client.
- In the Matter of Certain Short-Wavelength Light Emitting Diodes, Laser Diodes and Products Containing Same, Inv. No. 337-TA-640. Mr. Pearce represented respondent Panasonic Corporation in an ITC Section 337 investigation. The complainant voluntarily withdrew its complaint and terminated the investigation shortly before the hearing.
- St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants, Inc. v. Fujifilm Corp. (D. Del. and Fed. Cir.). Mr. Pearce represented defendant Fujifilm Corporation in two patent infringement lawsuits involving digital cameras. Mr. Pearce's responsibilities included defending fact and expert witness depositions. On appeal, the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Fujifilm and reversed the district court's judgment of infringement.
- NetAirus Techs., LLC v. Apple, Inc. (Fed. Cir.). Mr. Pearce represented Apple in this appeal, successfully upholding a jury verdict of invalidity. The Federal Circuit issued a summary (Rule 36) affirmance in favor of Apple shortly after oral argument.
- FastVDO, LLC v. Apple, Inc., et al. (D. Del.). Mr. Pearce represented several defendants in a patent infringement lawsuit involving H.264 video encoding. The defendants won on all key claim constructions in a ruling issued just four days after the claim construction hearing. Mr. Pearce was a primary author of the winning claim construction briefs. The case settled shortly afterwards on favorable terms.
Take off your eclipse glasses, close that NASA photo gallery, and stop thinking about how “path of totality” would make an awesome band name: it’s time to get back to work. As the country recovers from Eclipse Mania 2017, we take a look at some space-related trade secrets cases.
Someone might be stealing your trade secrets behind your back! A federal court found that’s what happened to Pacific Aerospace & Electronic, Inc. (PAE), a company that designs components for electronic circuitry in the aerospace and space exploration industries and whose products are used on the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Shuttle. According to PAE, the specialized nature of its business makes the identity of its customers—who are relatively few in number—critical to its business success. That’s why it was a problem when two PAE employees who had access to proprietary information about PAE’s technologies and customers left for a rival company, RAAD Technologies, Inc. One of the former employees allegedly copied backup tapes of design information weeks before leaving, and both employees allegedly compiled a list of prospective customers after leaving which they gave to RAAD’s sales representative for use in soliciting business. PAE brought a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets (among others) against these former employees and RAAD in the Western District of Washington, and moved for a preliminary injunction. The court ruled that PAE’s detailed customer information was a protectable trade secret, and that PAE risked irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction and would likely prevail on the merits of its misappropriation claim. However, the court limited the scope of injunctive relief only to future misuse of the trade secret customer list, rather than ongoing misuse—i.e., continued sales to wrongfully-acquired customers—as PAE had requested. The court reasoned that given the importance of PAE’s (and later RAAD’s) customers, public interest concerns favored permitting these ongoing business relationships and remedying any harm by an award of monetary damages.
Within days of each other, your clothing company―Free Country Ltd.―loses two employees who decamp to a rival to set up a competing apparel line. You discover that just before leaving, they transferred some 50,000 documents to a personal account—customer orders, your master contact list, and product design information. Incensed, you file a trade secrets lawsuit and seek an injunction prohibiting the thieves from soliciting your customers. Their defense amounts to, “so what if we took the documents―it’s a free country!” Easy win, right? Wrong. These are the facts of a recent trade secrets lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, in which the court denied the plaintiff’s request that its former employee defendants be prohibited from soliciting plaintiff’s customers. READ MORE
What happens when trade secret protections collide with laws granting public access to government records? This question took center stage in a recent case involving the Seattle Police Department (“SPD”). A federal district court enjoined the SPD from disclosing a software vendor’s allegedly trade secret information in response to a reporter’s public records act request. Besides serving as a reminder of the precautions that companies should take when disclosing intellectual property to public agencies, the case also raises interesting questions and strategic considerations. READ MORE
Here at TSW, we continue to watch closely the case law developing under the new Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), which attempts to harmonize divergent state laws by creating a single federal framework for trade secrets misappropriation lawsuits. The Northern District of California appears to have won the race to be the first federal court to enter a written decision under the DTSA. The early rulings in this case already give us some food for thought when it comes to litigating trade secret claims under the DTSA. READ MORE
A recent development from the 3D printing world reminds us that threats of trade secret misappropriation are more varied than cyber-espionage or the disgruntled employee taking confidential information to a competitor. With exciting new technologies come “exciting” new ways to steal trade secrets. Sometimes all it takes to steal a secret is being a good listener. READ MORE
We have written before about business collaborations gone sour that lead to trade secret misappropriation lawsuits. In a recent example, The Weather Channel convinced a court to wash away claims that its use of data from a former licensor violated trade secret laws. We can take away some useful lessons from how both parties approached this relationship and the treatment of sensitive data. READ MORE
Can a non-profit charity have trade secrets? The Red Cross thinks so. Its claim to trade secret protection over information related to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts made headlines and left some journalists and activists feeling, well, cross. But is the Red Cross’s trade secrets claim really so unusual? And what can other non-profits learn from it?
The Red Cross’s trade secrets claim grew out of a letter from the New York State Attorney General’s office seeking information on how the Red Cross spent Hurricane Sandy relief donations READ MORE