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Trade Secret Litigation

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Prosecution & Counseling

As the leading intellectual property law firm, Fish & Richardson understands the value of our clients’ trade secrets, and has unparalleled experience in protecting, enforcing, and defending our clients’ IP rights. The advent of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 has elevated trade secrets as a form of federally-protected IP alongside patents, trademarks, and copyrights. At the same time, the shifting patent law landscape following the America Invents Act and Alice has caused businesses of all sizes to strategically re-evaluate how to protect their proprietary information, technology, and know-how. Against this backdrop, trade secret protection, enforcement, and litigation are evolving to become ever more frequent, complex, and high-stakes. With its unparalleled experience in IP in all its forms, Fish stands ready to help protect and realize the full value of our clients’ IP portfolio.

We work with our clients on creating strategies to protect and maximize the value of their trade secrets.

Our attorneys have substantial experience helping clients protect their sensitive business information and novel, market-disrupting innovations using the full gamut of intellectual property law.  Where we determine that information is best protected under trade secret law, we create systems and procedures to ensure that sensitive business information remains legally protected as trade secrets, and that they are guarded against loss or theft. We regularly help our clients:

  • identify, map, and develop their trade secrets;
  • assess whether proprietary information should be protected under patent, trade secret, or other intellectual property law;
  • counsel on best practices as to maintaining the value and secrecy of trade secrets;
  • design and implement information security plans, procedures, and policies (including a comprehensive cybersecurity plan) to protect trade secrets from misappropriation and loss; and
  • advise on how to strategically manage, license, and realize the value of their IP portfolio.

We help our clients enforce their trade secret rights and defend them in high-stakes litigation.

Our long-standing relationships with our clients give us a comprehensive 360° view into their business and IP needs, and we always approach enforcement and litigation with those needs in mind.  Our long-standing recognition as the #1 patent litigation firm in the United States has served as well in high-stakes trade secret litigation, whether in federal or state court.  We understand the complex interplay between patent and trade secrets rights, we have a wealth of technical and subject matter expertise to draw from, and we are ready to represent and defend our clients through trial and appeals, if that is what it takes.  In addition, our dominant practice before the International Trade Commission gives our clients another potential avenue through which to robustly and swiftly defend their trade secret rights.

Litigation in the arena of trade secret misappropriation often involves daunting amounts of discovery, parallel proceedings in multiple venues (occasionally involving civil, criminal, and regulatory fronts), mastering cutting-edge science or technology, and the deft use of experts, all of it with an eye to ultimately presenting a persuasive narrative at trial and preserving a compelling record for potential appeals.  Fish has both the technical and trial expertise for the task.  Fish has more than 300 attorneys with degrees in science or technology, 101 of those with PhDs in their respective fields, who have the training and knowledge to understand your innovation. We bring this and our trial savvy to bear when we vet, prepare, and depose experts in trade secrets cases:  we know exactly how to develop and present solid expert testimony at trial; we also have a track record of eviscerating the expert testimony of our opponents.  Fish’s seasoned trial attorneys leverage this unparalleled expertise to distill complicated scientific, technical, and financially-sensitive trade secrets into compelling stories that persuade juries.

We have an extensive track record and the requisite experience to help our clients:

  • conduct internal investigations—including the use of digital forensics—to determine, confirm, or defend against suspected trade secret loss or theft;
  • obtain temporary restraining orders and other preliminary injunctive relief—such as civil seizure under the DTSA—to stop actual or threatened misappropriation of trade secrets;
  • litigate trade secret disputes arising from licensing agreements, joint ventures or co-development arrangements, economic espionage, and employment relationships;
  • respond to and defend against high-stakes allegations of trade secret misappropriation, whether it be in federal or state court;
  • handle state and federal appeals—including before the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • obtain speedy relief before the ITC by using trade secret misappropriation as a basis for seeking a ban on importation of goods into the U.S.;
  • defend against criminal investigations and charges of violations of the Economic Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Fish Experience in Confidential Trade Secrets Investigations

  • Conducted an internal investigation for a Fortune 100 company regarding allegations of possible violations of the Economic Espionage Act and Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The investigation concerned competitive business strategies and plans, proprietary marketing and pricing information, and sales training materials; it involved events occurring domestically and in several foreign countries.
  • Conducted an internal investigation for a leading biotech company regarding allegations that a company scientist had misappropriated biological materials from a former employer and was using the materials to conduct ongoing research in possible violation of the Economic Espionage Act.
  • Successfully represented a high-level corporate executive of a leading medical device company in an investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts regarding alleged violations of the Economic Espionage Act pertaining to events occurring in several European countries.

We are changing the trade secrets playbook.

While we are known as the premier patent and high-profile complex litigation practice in the nation, Fish’s unparalleled depth and breadth of technical expertise, proven trial skills, and strong industry knowledge give us the edge in trade secret litigation as well. Combine this experience with our unique ability to make the complex understandable, and Fish is changing the playbook on how trade secret cases can be managed, conducted, and won.

The disclosure of trade secrets may seriously compromise a company’s competitive advantage. When in litigation—either protecting our clients’ trade secrets or defending a client from allegations of trade secret theft—Fish’s experienced litigation teams are adept at managing large, sophisticated cases.


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