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Background

David Morris is a trial attorney in Fish & Richardson’s Austin Office. His practice focuses on commercial, trade secret, and patent litigation and also includes inter partes review (IPR) matters before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Earlier in David’s career, his practice involved general commercial, real estate, and environmental litigation. Most notably, he was a leader on the legal team that obtained a $23 million arbitration award against Forest Oil Corporation for its wrongful acts on the historic McAllen Ranch.

Since joining Fish in 2013, David has continued working as a commercial litigator but has also expanded his practice to include trade secret and patent litigation. He has worked extensively on matters involving semiconductor technology, flash memory, handheld devices, software, inkjet printing, genetic testing, pharmaceuticals, oilfield technology, radio-frequency identification (RFID), vehicle fueling, oil and gas exploration and production, military firearms, and compressor monitoring. He also counsels a number of clients on IP portfolio development.

In recent years, David has had significant success representing clients in trade secret matters. From 2014 through 2016, he represented three defendants in a trade secrets case involving genetics-based technology and was successful at trial in defeating one of the two trade secrets asserted and reducing the damages award to less than 5% of the amount sought by the plaintiff. In 2017 and 2018, in a dispute involving trade secrets related to machinery monitoring software, David managed an extensive pre-suit investigation on an expedited basis and then obtained a sweeping restraining order from which the defendants never recovered. That order allowed entry onto the defendants’ premises (simultaneously at offices in different states, without notice) to gather evidence and also contained strong prohibitions on the use and dissemination of the trade secrets in question. In the end, the offending company had to cease operations, and it and the individual defendants were forced to give up the fruits of all their post-theft efforts. Later in 2018, David represented a multinational chemical company in a sensitive trade secrets matter featuring multiple potential defendants. The matter involved an individual trade secret thief as well as two foreign corporations and resolved very favorably for the Fish client. David also recently settled, after two years of litigation, a case regarding inventory management software and devices that had trade secret issues raised by both sides. David’s trade secret litigation has involved both the Defend Trade Secrets Act and adopted versions of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, as well as various state law business tort claims. Apart from his work in litigation, he has advised clients in the proactive protection of their trade secrets through policies, agreements, and procedures, and has also counseled companies in the handling of potential claims based on the hiring of employees who had access to sensitive information while at previous employers.

In addition to his traditional business-focused practice, David provides free legal services to indigent and disabled persons on matters referred by Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas. He has also worked pro bono with other Fish attorneys on a voting rights matter, obtaining a favorable result for voters with limited English proficiency that was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Separate from his law practice, David has worked in the safari industry in Zambia, guiding clients and combating ivory and commercial bushmeat poachers in a 2.5 million acre wilderness area.

Education

University of Virginia School of Law 2001
J.D.
Editorial Board Member, Virginia Environmental Law Journal
Received highest grade awarded in Mass Torts
 ​


University of Texas at Austin 1998
American Studies
with high honors
Phi Beta Kappa, B.A.
National Merit Scholar​
​Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Admissions

  • Texas 2001

Other Distinctions

Publications

Federal Copyright Preemption of State Law Claims – Still a Powerful Defense Tool in Commercial Litigation, Fish Litigation Blog, November 2016 (co-author).

When Policies Collide: Protecting Trade Secrets in Texas’s Open Courts, Fish Litigation Blog, March 2016 (co-author).

Exploring the limits of the Texas Anti-SLAPP law: First briefs filed in Schlumberger v. Rutherford appeal, Fish Litigation Blog, November 2014 (author).

A slippery slope? Schlumberger v. Rutherford and implications for future abuse of the Texas Anti-SLAPP statute in trade secret litigation, Fish Litigation Blog, September 2014 (author).

A new bonanza for trade secret plaintiffs in Texas: Eastern District of Texas grants future royalties in place of a permanent injunction, Fish Litigation Blog, July 2014 (author).

The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2014 (S. 2267) marks the latest attempt at creating a federal civil cause of action for fighting trade secret theft, Fish Litigation Blog, May 2014 (co-author).

Defending decompilation: using Copyright Act preemption to defeat reverse engineering claims in the Fifth Circuit, Fish Litigation Blog, April 2014 (author).

Proposed revised FRCP 37(e) seeks to clarify and standardize handling of ESI spoliation, Fish Litigation Blog, April 2014 (author).

Litigation holds and trade secrets: lessons from Bradford Technologies, Inc. v. NCV Software.com, Fish Litigation Blog, March 2014 (author).

Calling the Cops: The decision to refer trade secret theft for criminal investigation (part two), Fish Litigation Blog, March 2014 (author).

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