Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke is a litigation partner in the San Francisco office of Munger, Tolles & Olson. Ms. Luedtke’s practice focuses on complex business litigation, with a particular emphasis on intellectual property matters. For two years in a row, Ms. Luedtke has been named among California's "Top Women Lawyers" by the Daily Journal. She was also named to The Recorder’s Women Leaders in Technology Law list last year. In 2012, the Daily Journal named her one of the top 20 attorneys under 40.
Trade Secret and Employee Mobility
Ms. Luedtke has significant experience in trade secret matters, both in situations involving employee mobility, where individuals move from one competitor to another, and in cases involving allegations of trade secret theft in connection with business relationships, non-disclosure agreements, due diligence, and partnerships. Ms. Luedtke also has an active practice counseling clients on trade secret protection plans, as well as conducting investigations into the potential theft of trade secret information.
Ms. Luedtke is a frequent speaker at law schools, industry conferences and continuing legal education seminars on the issues that can arise in connection with trade secrets.
- Air Lease Corporation, currently defending against allegations of trade secret theft, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary, and unfair competition relating to the formation of the company by Steven Udvar-Hazy after he retired from competitor ILFC, a subsidiary of AIG.
- Major television network, in defeating an effort by CBS to enjoin the reality show “The Glass House” based on, among other things, allegations that the producers of “The Glass House” took trade secrets about reality television production from their former employment at CBS working on its show “Big Brother.”
- Playdom, in litigation brought by Zynga over the hiring of 11 former Zynga employees and the alleged theft of ideas for new games, as well as Zynga’s alleged “secret sauce” for social gaming.
- Argon ST Inc. (wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing), in obtaining summary judgment on trade secret claims related to power amplifier technology in satellite technology.
- Rambus, in obtaining summary judgment on breach of fiduciary duty and breach of confidence allegations brought by Samsung in connection with Rambus’s employment of a former Samsung in-house counsel and allegations that he misappropriated secret patent prosecution strategies to use at Rambus. Through these claims, Samsung had sought an offset of more than $400 million damages against patent infringement damages.
- Microsoft, in defending against trade secret theft allegations related to advanced technology in computer mice.
- A major packaged goods company in bringing trade secret litigation against a competitor and former employee for the theft of information. Obtained stipulated injunction and ultimately achieved favorable settlement.
- A top Silicon Valley technology executive, in litigation over the enforceability of a non-competition agreement. Obtained favorable settlement that allowed executive to commence work at new job.
Taking Complex Civil Litigation To Trial
Ms. Luedtke has extensive experience taking complex commercial litigation cases to trial and arbitration.
- Defended NCAA in 2014 trial brought by a certified class of current and former Division I college football and men’s basketball players who asserted antitrust and intellectual property claims relating to NCAA rules that preclude student-athletes from being paid for the alleged use of their name, image, and likeness. The case was tried in June 2014 and is currently on appeal in the Ninth Circuit.
- Defended leading aircraft manufacturer in a confidential arbitration over contractual rights to certain aircraft technology.
- Represented Rambus in multiple jury and bench trials in federal court from 2005 to 2009, including a jury trial victory on antitrust claims in 2008 that was named the Daily Journal’s top defense verdict of the year.
Ms. Luedtke has extensive experience in litigation and trade secret and copyright counseling for both the top players in the videogame industry, as well as start-up gaming companies looking to understand risks and develop intellectual property protection plans. Ms. Luedtke’s representation of videogame clients began in 2009 with a high profile trade secret dispute where she represented Playdom against Zynga’s claims that Playdom took the “playbook” for success in the social game market. She has since represented many major players in the videogame space on a wide variety of matters and is a frequent speaker at conferences and law schools on the application of intellectual property law to the videogame industry.
Notable litigation matters include:
- Represent Activision in defense of right of publicity claims brought by former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in which he claims that his depiction as a minor character in Call of Duty: Black Ops II violates his right of publicity and California’s unfair competition statute.
- Represent NCAA in O’Bannon trial involving, among other things, claim that the failure to pay Division I football and men’s basketball players for their alleged depiction in videogames violated antitrust laws.
- Represent Electronic Arts in copyright infringement action against Zynga in a case involving EA’s successful Sims franchise.
- Represent Playdom, in litigation brought by Zynga over the hiring of 11 former Zynga employees and the alleged theft of ideas for new games, as well as Zynga’s alleged “secret sauce” for social gaming.
- Represent Vostu (at the time, South America’s largest social gaming company) in defense of multiple copyright infringement claims brought by Zynga in Brazil and in a declaratory relief action brought by Vostu in the Northern District of California.
- Represent Green Patch in defense of source code copyright infringement claims brought by Zynga.
Ms. Luedtke’s experience in the copyright field includes her work in 2011 for the motion picture industry in shutting down Zediva, an unauthorized service that streamed movies from a warehouse of “rented” DVDs; her representation of Playdom in source code copyright allegations brought by Zynga that settled on the eve of trial; her representation of Vostu in copyright claims brought by Zynga for Vostu’s game portfolio; her representation of Electronic Arts in copyright infringement litigation against Zynga over its game “The Ville”; and her representation of a major television network in defeating CBS’s efforts to enjoin the reality television show “The Glass House.”