Jenner & Block

Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants

Our Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants Practice has a long and impactful legacy, with more than 30 years of experience helping clients protect their most valuable information and understand their rights and obligations around restrictive covenants. Working across industries and jurisdictions, the practice regularly represents plaintiffs and defendants in trial, arbitration and other settings, with experienced team members in all five Jenner & Block offices.

LITIGATION
We have handled some of the most historically important trade secret cases. We litigated PepsiCo, Inc. v. Redmond, the seminal US case for the inevitable disclosure doctrine, at both the US District Court and in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Since PepsiCo, our involvement in high-profile, significant trade secrets cases has continued across the United States. In March 2020, our practice obtained a $114 million federal jury verdict in Oklahoma involving, inter alia, claims for unfair competition and other torts by using highly confidential information. Just a few years prior to that, we secured to of the largest trade secret recoveries in history:  a $940 million jury verdict in Wisconsin federal court (one of the largest trade secrets verdicts in US history) and then, a few weeks later, a $130 million settlement on the first day of trial in Washington state court.

Given the pace at which trade secrets disputes often proceed, we take pride in our ability to quickly field high-quality teams who are seasoned in all aspects of trade secret litigation. In federal and state courts, we have represented clients in trade secret and restrictive covenant litigation, resulting in pre-trial successes, obtaining or protecting against TROs or preliminary injunctions, and favorable verdicts.

Many of our team members are heavily immersed in the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and state law Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), and they are widely regarded to be at the forefront of developments in these areas. Over the past 10 years, we have several editions of our practice guide, “Understanding and Litigating Trade Secrets,” which analyzes the complex body of Illinois trade secrets case law. We also publish a national guide, “Key Developments and Issues to Watch in Trade Secret Law” and frequently author articles and alerts on significant developments in trade secrets litigation.

Representative Experience

  • Achieved a $114 million federal jury verdict in a dispute that our client considered critical to the preservation of its business unit and among the company's most significant litigation. We represent Hetronic, a subsidiary of Methode, in a series of interrelated cases concerning the theft of highly confidential and proprietary information by Hetronic's former president and vice president of accounting which enabled unfair competition by one of its major distributors. (Read more)
  • Secured a victory for one of the initial investors in the social media website Pinterest.com when a panel of judges from the New York Appellate Division unanimously upheld an earlier dismissal of claims that the investor stole website concepts and shared them with the Pinterest creators, noting that the plaintiffs’ ideas “amount to nothing more than a collection of broad concepts, and there is very little information in the record about how those concepts were actually employed in practice.” (Read more)
  • Obtained a $940 million jury verdict for leading software company Epic Systems in a substantial trade secret/corporate espionage case against Tata Consultancy Services, a large foreign conglomerate. The verdict represents one of the largest trade secrets verdicts in US history and perhaps the largest verdict of any kind in Wisconsin. (Read more)
  • Secured, on behalf of News Corp subsidiary Move., Inc., as well as the National Association of Realtors and subsidiaries, a $130 million settlement in a complex commercial, securities and intellectual property dispute involving allegations that former senior employees of our client shared trade secrets related to our client’s product strategy with their new employer, Zillow. (Read more)
  • Litigated PepsiCo, Inc. v. Redmond, the seminal Seventh Circuit case concerning the inevitable disclosure doctrine for trade secrets, both at the trial and appellate level. The case dramatically changed the law with respect to enjoining employees from working for competitors even if they did not sign a non-compete agreement or restrictive covenant.
  • Obtained an injunction based on trade secret misappropriation and contract breaches for US Tsubaki Holdings and Central Conveyer Company in a lawsuit in the NY Commercial Division against the former owners of Central Conveyor Company.
  • Represented Coherus BioSciences in trade secret litigation concerning Udeynca, a biosimilar to Amgen’s Neulasta biological drug product that is used to treat neutropenia.
  • Represented a major biotech company in a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for misappropriation of trade secrets related to cutting-edge cancer drugs that each was trying to discover and develop. In addition to being a high-stakes case concerning potentially important cancer treatments, the case raised several novel issues in trade secret law. The jury found that the defendant stole our client’s trade secrets.
  • Litigated a significant trade secrets dispute in multiple forums on behalf of an auto part manufacturer, resulting in a successful settlement.
  • Litigated to repeatedly and successfully protect high-frequency client’s trade secrets and to enforce restrictive covenants.
  • Obtained an affirmance on appeal of a lower court’s decision to vacate a $1.26 billion dollar default judgment based on a deficiency in the complaint and to reject a bid to revive a trade secret case by individuals who claimed our client stole their idea for a beverage product.
  • Secured a favorable settlement for an insurance broker in a dispute over theft of trade secrets and other confidential information involving more than 120 workers from several offices coast to coast who were recruited by a competitor.
  • Represented manufacturer of custom-engineered components for aerospace and defense sectors in a misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of contract dispute in Los Angeles Superior Court. Obtained favorable settlement for client, resulting in speedy resolution of the case.

COUNSELING

While we are most well-known for our strength in litigation, we make every effort to avoid it when another path looks more promising for our clients’ needs. We offer a wide range of counseling to ensure that our clients’ information is protected appropriately.

Representative Experience

  • Counseling clients regarding on-boarding of new executives or employees and advising on how to minimize the risks of trade secret misappropriation by departing employees.
  • Counseling clients regarding preconditions to enforcement of certain rights contained in certain statutes, such as the federal DTSA.
  • Drafting non-disclosure and other agreements for clients who may need to disclose confidential or proprietary information in connection with business transactions.
  • Drafting employment and other agreements containing restrictive covenants and non-disclosure provisions regarding confidential and proprietary information.
  • Counseling clients regarding the protection of confidential and trade secret information in connection with the performance of government contracts, and attempts to secure government contract opportunities.


 

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