Unfair Competition, Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants

Williams & Connolly’s Unfair Competition, Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants practice group regularly represents companies and individuals in connection with unfair competition lawsuits and related claims. Our experience includes representations involving allegations of misappropriation or improper disclosure of trade secrets and confidential information, breaches of non-competition, non-solicitation, and other restrictive covenants, misuse or infringement of intellectual property by competitors, breaches of fiduciary duties, tortious interference with customer or employment contracts, and improper hiring practices – including so-called ‘raiding.’ Our lawyers have experience litigating these and other related issues in state and federal courts, as well as before arbitral panels, including those convened by FINRA, AAA/ICDR and JAMS.

Representative Experience

Though all cases vary and none is predictive, the firm’s experience includes:

  • Successfully trying to verdict a case on behalf of a major electronics company in which a competitor sought over $450 million claiming misappropriation of advanced interconnection technology.
  • Achieving singular success in two separate lengthy representations of individuals charged under the Federal Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”), a law that criminalizes the theft of trade secrets. In each case, the government ended up dismissing the case against the firm’s client with prejudice.
  • Representing an international commercial real estate data firm in an unfair competition, misappropriation and copyright case in Los Angeles brought against a competitor. The district court entered a permanent injunction that mandates the competitor’s use of a copyright filter, and requires the payment of $10,000 per day, per photograph if further infringement occurs. In addition, the defendant agreed to pay $10,000 per stolen real estate listing and $10,000 per infringed image. 
  • Acting for an inter-dealer brokerage desk in a FINRA arbitration in New York brought by a London-based brokerage involving claims of illegal hiring, theft of confidential information and breaches of restrictive covenants. After merits hearings spread over three months, the Panel denied the multi-million dollar claims brought by the claimant and granted 100% of the desk’s counterclaims.
  • Representing two financial services executives in a FINRA arbitration in Dallas alleging misappropriation of confidential information and improper solicitation. The Panel dismissed all claims in their entirety.
  • Acting for a global private equity firm in a trade secrets case in Texas state court involving the acquisition of the largest marina in the United States. After challenging the lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds the matter settled on favorable terms.
  • Representing an international commercial real estate data firm in unfair competition and copyright litigation in federal court in Missouri, and coordinating related lawsuits against the defendant’s agents in The Philippines and India. In the foreign jurisdictions the plaintiff obtained and executed civil search and seizure orders, thereby obtaining terabytes of evidence for use in the U.S. litigation.
  • Defending a global private equity firm in trade secrets litigation in New York state court over the hiring of a senior real estate investment manager. After defendants filed two motions to dismiss, the case settled on favorable terms.
  • Representing a large corporate client as plaintiff in litigation against a competitor in federal court in Texas relating to the unauthorized use of proprietary images and data. The plaintiff obtained a permanent injunction and seven figures in damages.
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