Vann Pearce is a trial lawyer representing leading technology companies in patent infringement and related litigation and disputes. He has been lead counsel in more than 20 matters, including matters with tens to hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, for clients including publicly traded U.S., Japanese, and European companies.
He also counsels clients on patent licensing and portfolio development. Vann co-founded Orrick's 3D printing practice.
In 2022-2023, Vann served as the Chief Practice Officer for the firm's IP & Litigation Business Units. In this role, Vann advised on strategic planning, operations, and management of Orrick’s IP, Employment, Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, and Supreme Court & Appellate practice groups, which comprise nearly 400 attorneys globally. His responsibilities included oversight of the units' financial performance, business planning and execution, and lawyer recruiting. Vann also previously served as the firm’s U.S. Law School Hiring Partner, overseeing entry-level hiring nationwide.
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.
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
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