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.
  • Achieved 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. One was in the context of an alleged foreign beneficiary, the other domestic. In each case, after years of pretrial motion practice and trial preparation that in each instance included interlocutory appeals to the respective Circuit Courts of Appeal, the government ended up dismissing the case against the firm’s client with prejudice.
  • Representing an international commercial real estate information firm as plaintiff in a copyright suit 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. 
  • Acting as lead defense counsel for an inter-dealer brokerage desk in a FINRA arbitration in New York brought by a London-based brokerage involving claims of illegal hiring and theft of confidential information.  After merits hearings spread over three months, the Panel denied the multi-million dollar claims brought by the London-based brokerage claimant and granted 100% of the desk’s counterclaims.
  • Representing two financial services executives in a pending FINRA arbitration alleging misappropriation of confidential information and improper solicitation.
  • Acting as lead defense counsel 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.
  • Advising an international commercial real estate information firm on issues relating to unauthorized access to a proprietary database by customers and competitors.
  • 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.
  • Acting as plaintiff’s counsel in an AAA/ICDR arbitration between two global inter-dealer brokerages involving the misappropriation of U.S. Treasuries price data.  
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