If you are a regular reader of TSW, you know we have been monitoring developments relating to the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA). While the Northern District of California was the first court to enter a written opinion under the DTSA, case law is continuing to develop across the country, including in the First Circuit. READ MORE
William Molinski is Managing Partner of the Los Angeles office and a member of the Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group. An experienced trial lawyer, Bill has represented corporate clients and individuals in a wide variety of commercial disputes with a particular emphasis in the areas of trade secrets, and other intellectual property disputes, consumer class actions and real estate disputes.
Bill routinely handles complex cases that can have a significant impact on a company's reputation and survival. His clients include major players in the technology, financial services and energy sectors as well as the entertainment and pharmaceutical industries.
Bill was recognized in the 2016 edition of The Legal 500 for his work defending DISH Networks against copyright and breach of contract claims brought by four broadcast networks, a win that led to Orrick's recognition as "Litigation Department of the Year" by The Recorder. He was named a "California Lawyer of the Year" in 2011 by California Lawyer magazine as a member of the team representing MGA Entertainment in its "stunning victory" against Mattel over the Bratz doll line, which the Daily Journal called a "top defense win" of 2011.
Bill's representative cases include:
- MGA Entertainment. Obtained a stunning jury verdict for MGA Entertainment in the company’s battle for the rights to the Bratz doll. A jury in California federal court found that MGA, not Mattel, owns the rights to the doll, and that Mattel stole MGA’s trade secrets through a campaign of corporate espionage. The jury awarded our client $88.4 million in damages and the potential for punitive damages. The lower court upheld a ruling Orrick previously obtained for MGA in appellate court.
- Equifax Information Services. Acted as lead counsel for Equifax in a three-week jury trial involving antitrust claims. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict for Equifax. Also represented Equifax in class action 17200 lawsuit where obtained summary judgment for Equifax
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Represented PwC in an action alleging accounting malpractice filed by a founding board member of the voice-over-internet protocol provider Skype. After less than two hours of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury cleared PwC of any wrongdoing.
- Rabobank. Served as lead counsel in securing a trial victory for a Netherlands-based bank with offices in California. The client faced a public policy claim--essentially a whistleblower cause of action--brought by a current employee in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. After only 40 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for Radobank.
- Microsoft. Obtained a complete victory for Microsoft and one of its employees with a ruling granting their motion for judgment on the pleadings without leave to amend in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against Cheap Stuff.
- Life360, Inc. Won dismissal of a putative Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action clearing Life360 of claims that its popular smartphone application sends unsolicited text message invitations to users’ contacts in violation of the TCPA and California Unfair Competition Law.
- Sumner Redstone. Was part of a team that represented client Sumner Redstone and National Amusements Inc. (NAI) in the settlement of an intensely followed corporate dispute over Viacom Inc.
- Industrial manufacturer. Represented this confidential client in a week-long private arbitration seeking indemnification for damages incurred in connection with a series of patent infringement lawsuits. Successfully obtained a multi-billion dollar arbitration award, securing a complete victory for the client.
- KBC Financial Products. Represented U.S. subsidiaries of KBC, an affiliate of KBC Bank in Belgium in several high profile cases involving life settlement transactions. Cases included CBPC 10200 claims and consumer class action claims. Obtained summary judgment in favor of KBC in precedent-setting action involving non-recourse life insurance policy loans.
- Aquila Merchant Services. Represented Aquila, then one of the largest energy marketers in the United States, in a consumer class action filed by the California Attorney General involving claims of energy market manipulation. Obtained dismissal of claims on demurrer. Also, represented Aquila Merchant Services in a lawsuit in which AMS and various other energy companies were accused of manipulating the natural gas futures market on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
- City of Los Angeles. Obtained dismissal of class action claims brought by all Los Angeles taxpayers for alleged collection of telephone tax.
- Hoffman La-Roche. Represented pharmaceutical giant in defeating action by Johnson & Johnson for an injunction based on alleged theft of trade secrets by departing employees.
Posts by: William Molinski
(Editorial Note: This is our first of a two-part series exploring recent litigation under the newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act.)
In late May 2016, Magic Leap, Inc. became a pioneer in trade secrets litigation when it became one of the first to venture into the uncharted waters of the Defend Trade Secrets Act. Magic Leap—a developer of technologies used for 3D renderings in augmented reality—sued two of its former employees for trade secret misappropriation under the DTSA in federal court in the Northern District of California. As we recently reported, President Obama signed into law what some consider the “most significant” intellectual properly legislation since the Lanham Act. READ MORE
According to the most recently available Census data, among those who moved from another state to Washington in the prior year, many times more people came up from California than from anywhere else. The Washington Legislature is presently considering whether a certain California public policy should head up I-5 as well. READ MORE
Companies get anxious when key employees leave to start new ventures. A company may try to shield itself from the risk of losing confidential information by seeking an injunction preventing its former employees and their new company from using or disclosing trade secrets. However, without sufficient evidence of actual misappropriation or threat of imminent harm, a company may face sanctions for bringing a misappropriation claim in bad faith, as Trade Secrets Watch has previously discussed. Filing or maintaining a premature misappropriation action carries other risks. Currently before the California Supreme Court is a malicious prosecution claim against a law firm for pursuing a meritless misappropriation suit. Parrish v. Latham & Watkins, LLP, No. S228277 (Cal. petition for review granted Oct. 14, 2015). READ MORE
Although the market trends may change faster than ever today, companies have been gathering competitive intelligence (“CI”) since the dawn of capitalism. It’s not a new concept, but there are new ways to do it—some more strategic than others.
To set the record straight, CI is not a corporate game of “I Spy.” It does not involve theft, electronic eavesdropping, hacking, bribery, or hiring a competitor’s employees to divulge confidential information. CI is the tactical gathering of market and competitor information that can be used to identify risks, opportunities, and changing conditions in an industry. READ MORE
An employee who leaves a company to work for a competitor can run into a hornet’s nest of legal problems. The latest example of this classic fact pattern involves William Georgelis, a sales manager for building material manufacturer CPG International LLC. After more than 10 years at the company, Georgelis pursued an opportunity at CPG’s competitor Snavely Forest Products. In his job transition, Georgelis did some things that were potentially problematic: READ MORE
President Obama wants to go where the Supreme Court refused to tread. As part of his cybersecurity and privacy initiatives, which we discussed last week, the President would strengthen the federal anti-hacking provisions of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), including an expansion of activity covered by the statutory phrase “exceeds authorized access.” In so doing, the President would resolve a circuit split between the First, Fifth, Eighth, Seventh, and Eleventh Circuits, on the one hand, and the Ninth and Fourth Circuits, on the other. His reason? “No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families.” READ MORE
We’ve written previously about how intellectual property owners can obtain both patent and trade secret protection in the same technology. A case out of the Federal Circuit illustrates that IP holders sometimes choose to assert both in the same action – including, notably, in actions before the International Trade Commission (“ITC”).
Last month, in uPI Semiconductor Corp. v. ITC the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding that a defendant in a mixed patent infringement/trade secret action violated an earlier consent order. The court found the defendant had aided and abetted its customers in importing products incorporating electrical controllers that the defendant had previously stipulated READ MORE
Florida may be the Sunshine State but there has been too little illumination into the Florida Legislature’s congressional redistricting process, according to the League of Women Voters of Florida. In 2010, voters amended the state’s constitution to end gerrymandering in advance of the 2012 decennial redistricting. Nevertheless, the day after the Governor approved the Legislature’s 2012 redistricting plan, the League and others challenged the redistricting process as intentionally (and therefore unconstitutionally) favoring the Republican party and incumbents and diluting the voting power of African-American and Hispanic voters. READ MORE
With a powerful industrial coalition lining up behind them, two senators are trying yet again to establish a federal right of civil action for trade secret misappropriation, potentially making trade secrets an IP stepchild no more.
Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 on April 29. As we reported in February (and as picked up today by the LegalTimes), Sen. Coons was then circulating a draft; by recruiting Sen. Hatch as a co-sponsor, he can now tout the bill’s bipartisan support. Moreover, both are members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which might help the bill’s odds of survival. READ MORE