After the long break, students have returned to colleges and universities across the country where they will trade late summer nights out with friends for tossing Frisbees on the quad. As classes begin, we at TSW wanted to take a moment to look at some trade secrets disputes at the heart of higher education. READ MORE
Warrington's practice involves the representation of clients in both civil and criminal matters. These matters typically include government involvement or claimed violations of state and federal regulations or statutes. Thus, Warrington has represented clients in False Claims Act matters, claims brought by the Federal Trade Commission, employment discrimination cases involving a federal research facility, allegations of fraud and breach of contract brought against a client by a state, and allegations that a school board inappropriately spent bond monies in violation of California law.
Warrington has conducted criminal and civil investigations, both nationally and internationally, including FCPA investigations in China and Japan. Warrington has handled and managed state and federal civil cases from the filing of complaints to discovery and trial. Since joining Orrick in 2008, Warrington has tried two criminal cases and three civil cases.
From 1992 to 1996, Warrington was Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney's Office, Central District of California, Criminal Division in Los Angeles.
Before joining Orrick, Warrington was a shareholder at Heller Ehrman.
The following is a sample of Warrington's notable cases.
- Alpine Unified School District v. Grossmont Union High School District. Following trial, obtained defense verdict that also resulted in the setting aside of an injunction in a dispute involving the claimed inappropriate expenditure of school bond monies.
- United States v. Deller. Obtained verdict favoring client in a criminal case which the government alleged wire fraud and securities fraud.
- Andrews et al. v. Lawrence Livermore Lab. Co-tried case and obtained defense verdict in favor of Lawrence Livermore Lab in a case alleging disparate impact age discrimination.
- State of Oregon v. Oracle. Participated in team that litigated allegations brought by Oregon against Oracle alleging violations of the False Claims Act, RICO, fraud and breach of contract as a result of Oracle's work on Oregon's healthcare exchange.
- Mattel v. MGA. With others, successfully represented MGA in case involving, among other things, allegations of copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation relating to Bratz dolls.
- FCPA. Represent and advise Fortune 100 company in FCPA investigations in China and Japan.
- False Claims Act. Represented medical devise company in False Claims Act investigation. Represented healthcare provider in False Claims Act investigation. Represented government contractor and obtain dismissal of complaint alleging False Claims Act violations. Conducted an internal investigation for government contractor relating to False Claims Act allegations.
- Securities. Represented officer of company in a special investigation and follow on derivative action relating to alleged stock option backdating. Represented CFO of company alleged to have engaged in violations of securities laws.
- Trade Secrets. Represented an ISP in a trade secrets misappropriation and breach of contract action resulting in favorable termination for client. Represented a company in a trade secrets misappropriation and breach of contract action resulting in favorable termination for client.
- Commercial Litigation. Represented an insurer in a matter involving an unfair competition claim. Represented a defense contractor in a dispute involving claims of fraud and breach of contract resulting in favorable termination for the client. Represented a high-tech company in a dispute concerning failed computer parts.
- Black Rock City, LLC v. Pershing County Board of Commissioners (Ninth Circuit). Drafted appellate briefs for Black Rock City, the entity that organizes the annual Burning Man event. Without argument, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's decision to invalidate a settlement agreement that resolved Nevada officials' claimed infringement of client's First Amendment rights.
- Bradley v. Perrodin (Cal. Court of Appeal). Obtained reversal of order following an election challenge that would have permanently banned the client from participating in elections.
- Nassgil v. Hughes Electronics (Cal. Court of Appeal). Successfully represented the client in appeal from the denial of an arbitration request and successfully prosecuted a writ petition involving a discovery matter.
- PMI v. AISLIC (Ninth Circuit). Successfully represented the client in an insurance coverage matter.
- Bank of America v. Williams (Cal. Court of Appeal). Successfully represented the client in an attorneys' fees dispute.
- iTech v. National Semiconductor (Cal. Court of Appeal). Obtained the reversal of a multimillion dollar jury verdict.
- U.S. v. Hall (Ninth Circuit). Obtained reversal of conviction for securities fraud.
- FAIR v. Rumsfeld (U.S. Supreme Court). Represented law schools and professors in a First Amendment challenge to the Solomon Amendment.
- Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle Sch. Dist. (U.S. Supreme Court). Represented as amici in matter involving a constitutional challenge to way in which students could be assigned to schools.
- Evans v. City of Berkeley (Cal. Supreme Court). Represented amici in appeal involving a constitutional challenge to a City of Berkeley policy prohibiting use of berthing space by nonprofits that discriminated on the basis of sexual orientation.
Posts by: Warrington Parker
In trade secret cases, it is often the case that a defendant company and employee accused of trade secret misappropriation enter into a joint defense agreement. Often under such JDAs, facts, strategies and documents are shared with the understanding that they will remain confidential. READ MORE
The “gist of action” doctrine. Heard of it? Well, if you are dealing with Pennsylvania law, you need to know it. The “gist of action” doctrine asks whether the “gist” of a suit sounds in tort or contract. When applied to a claim of trade secret misappropriation, the doctrine questions whether the wrongful acts constitute a tort or a breach of contract. If the wrongful acts constitute a breach of contract, Pennsylvania law bars any trade secret claim. As evidenced by the case Wiggins v. Physiologic Assessment Services, LLC, whether a claim can be brought as a trade secret claim or a breach of contract claim can turn on the wording of the contract at issue. READ MORE
(Editorial Note: This is the second in our two-part series exploring recent litigation under the newly-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act.)
We’ve been tracking the development of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) for a while on TSW. It was only last month that President Obama signed the dotted line, and the DTSA became law. Now, Space Data has filed suit against Google for patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets under the DTSA, misappropriation of trade secrets under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and breach of contract. We’ll be watching closely to see how the Northern District Court of California handles one of the first cases under the DTSA. READ MORE
Hollywood’s heavy-hitters often enter the ring over unauthorized biographies. Elizabeth Taylor famously invoked her rights of publicity and privacy in an attempt to shut down an unofficial docudrama about her life; Clint Eastwood sued the author and publisher of his unsanctioned biography for libel; and a film production company brought claims for copyright and trademark infringement against the producers of the biopic Lovelace starring Amanda Seyfried. Hollywood’s newest matchup involves misappropriation of trade secrets, a growing concern in the entertainment industry, especially after the recent Sony hack. READ MORE
On April 30, 2015, Kolon Industries finally resolved two long-standing disputes regarding its alleged misappropriation of trade secrets related to DuPont Co.’s bullet-proof Kevlar Material. The settlement resolved a six-year civil dispute with competitor DuPont, as well as an Economic Espionage Act criminal indictment that had been pending for three years. According to the terms of the plea agreement filed with the court, Kolon will pay $275 million in restitution to DuPont and $85 million to the government in fines. READ MORE
From Minnesota comes a delicious reminder that the protection of trade secrets requires consideration of a company’s entire intellectual property strategy. Without such a comprehensive strategy, in the most prosaic of terms, a company’s bacon is cooked.
Unitherm Food Systems, Inc. designs and manufactures equipment used to process and cook meat. It claims to have invented a revolutionary process to prepare pre-cooked sliced bacon that closely resembles the bacon you’d get from traditional pan frying. You can watch this mouth-watering process in action here. Unitherm treated this process as a trade secret.
From a birds-eye view, Cellular Accessories For Less, Inc. v. Trinitas, LLC appears to be a typical dispute between an employer and its former employee. However, a closer look reveals an issue new to the world of trade secrets—specifically, do LinkedIn contacts qualify as trade secrets? For now, they may: a federal judge in the Central District of California denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment last month, finding there were triable issues of material fact surrounding the question whether LinkedIn contacts were protectable trade secrets. READ MORE
The recent arrest and likely prosecution of three executives at Taiwanese smartphone giant HTC Corporation may foreshadow an era of tougher prosecutions under Taiwan’s newly amended Trade Secrets Act. Although the arrests allegedly target the leaking of Taiwanese trade secrets to China, the case could also signal changes for U.S. companies seeking to recruit talent from Taiwan.
On August 31, 2013, three top HTC product designers were arrested in Taiwan on suspicion of stealing trade secrets and submitting fraudulent expense claims after HTC filed a complaint with the Taiwan Investigation Bureau. The trio allegedly planned to set up a competing design company and stole trade secrets related to HTC’s upcoming “Sense 6.0 UI” design. In addition, they allegedly submitted false commission fees from an external design firm, although the design work was performed in-house.
When the White House rolled out its new strategy for combating trade secret theft, Attorney General Eric Holder warned ominously of “a significant and steadily increasing threat to America’s economic and national security interests.” Trade secret theft, he said, “can inflict devastating harm on individual creators, start-ups, and major companies.” Rallying the nation for all-out war against a shadowy enemy, he declared: “There are only two categories of companies affected by trade secret theft: those that know they’ve been compromised and those that don’t know yet.”
Apparently there is a sizable third category: those that don’t care.
When it released its strategy in February, the White House said it would review potential policy changes that would help fight trade secret theft. With a notice in the Federal Register, it solicited public comments on how best to do that.
The response was underwhelming: only 13 people or entities weighed in. (By contrast, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office received 374 public comments on America Invents Act rulemaking.) One commenter used the invitation to air some generalized gripes about the government. The other dozen represented such diverse interests as Intel Corporation, IP valuation experts Ocean Tomo, LLC, the Intellectual Property Owners Association, the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They weighed in with substantive comments touching on four common themes: (1) problems with the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”) and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”); (2) the need for a right to sue in federal court for trade secret theft; (3) proposed domestic policy changes; and (4) proposed international policy changes. READ MORE