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Trade Secrets Litigation

At no other time in history have trade secrets been so vital to the making or breaking of a company. Modern firms, from startups to multinationals, face new challenges daily, as the speed of information exchange itself accelerates to keep up with technology shifts, changing trends and competitive challenge. Yet, as swiftly as companies must exchange information to stay in the game, so may competitive advantages built on years of




Representative Litigations

Our Counsel Have Represented Leading Corporations for Their High-Stakes Litigations . . . A.V. Imports v. Spirits International, N.V. A.V. Imports v. Spirits International N.V., No. 92043340 (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) May 19, 2004). Representation of plaintiff A.V. Imports, Inc., and its successor A.V Brands, Inc. which sought cancellation of the trademark registration RUSSKAYA for vodka on the grounds of abandonment. A.V. Imports, Inc. v. Col De Fratta,




Standard of Review Changes for Freeze-Out Mergers

On May 29, 2013, the Delaware Chancery Court, in its landmark decision of In re MFW Shareholders Litigation (MFW), held that the “deferential business judgment rule” is the correct standard of review for freeze-out mergers, as opposed to the more rigorous “entire fairness standard.” This decision requires that a freeze-out merger, from the inception of merger negotiations, be subject to both (1) negotiation and approval by a fully empowered special committee of




FIRREA and Bank Fraud

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, in U.S. ex rel. O’Donnell v. Bank of America Corp et al., No. 12-01422 (S.D.N.Y. 2013), has endorsed a broad interpretation of a savings-and-loan era law that the Justice Department is trying to use in cases against Wall Street banks. This ruling came as part of a federal case against Bank of America over allegations that it sold toxic




Do Business Method Patents Hurt or Help?

Do Business Method Patents Hurt or Help? A Financial Industry Perspective, 14 VA. J.L. & TECH. 147 (2009). Abstract The State Street Bank decision of 1998 affirmed U.S. business method patents. Along with the subsequent downpour of patent filings came a shower of commentary from the legal and business communities alike. The literature has generally been thoughtful and well-reasoned, or at least well-meaning. But as practitioners in the fields, we




IP License Agreements Under the AIA

Over the past few years, there has been an ongoing subject matter jurisdiction battle between state courts and federal circuit courts. This jurisdiction battle is especially prevalent in cases where a complaint asserts a non-patent cause of action with an underlying patent issue, such as disputes over intellectual property licensing or malpractice claims. In most patent cases the “arising under” analysis for the Federal Circuit jurisdiction is fairly straight forward because a




Copyright and Architecture

In 2004, the Fourth Circuit revived a two prong test for a copyright claim involving architecture between two home builders in Charles W. Ross Builder, Inc. v. Olsen Fine Home Building, 2012 WL 5447871 (4th Cir. Nov. 8, 2012). Rick and Jennifer Rubin, who wished to build new home, had visited the plaintiff Ross’s model home and received a copy of a brochure, including the “Bainbridge” model allegedly copied by




M&A and Government Immunity

The Supreme Court’s decision in FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System Inc., 133 S. Ct. 1003 (2013) put a limitation on the state immunity under which local governments across the country have relied upon for decades to shield their activities from federal antitrust scrutiny. This decision will open the door to challenging numerous government transactions including the transactions consummated before the Phoebe Putney decision. Until Phoebe Putney, the Supreme Court




Copyright Violation and the Constitutionality of Excessive Damages – Music Downloaders Beware!

The Eight Circuit affirmed the constitutionality of statutory damages for copyright infringement against the challenge that it is disproportionately excessive in Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, 692 F.3d 899 (8th Cir. 2012). In 2011, record companies sued a woman for making copyrighted music available to others for free download by using a file-sharing service.  First the jury awarded the record companies $222,000 in damage.  Months after the verdict, however, the district court granted a new




Employee Access vs. Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

The Michigan District Court in Dana Limited v. American Axle and Manufacturing Holdings, Inc., 1:10-cv-00450 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 19, 2013) addressed an important aspect of a trade secret misappropriation claims, holding that the mere fact that a former employee had access to a valid trade secret does not necessarily mean that he or she misappropriated the trade secret just, by the act of accepting employment at a competing company. In May