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. In 2019, she was named among California’s “Top Intellectual Property Lawyers” by the Daily Journal and has been named among California’s “Top Women Lawyers” by the Daily Journal three times. She also has been named to The Recorder’s list of “Women Leaders in Technology Law” three times, including in 2019. Ms. Luedtke is a member of the firm’s Management Committee.
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, joint ventures, 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 or receipt of trade secret information.
Examples of Ms. Luedtke’s litigation work in this area include the following representations:
- Intel in obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against engineers who misappropriated trade secrets and confidential information and then destroyed evidence to cover it up.
- Ten-X in obtaining a preliminary injunction against a former executive and a competitor based on allegations of trade secret misappropriation, breach of an Invention Assignment Agreement, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of confidentiality agreement. The case was ultimately settled for a cash payment, continued injunction, and a public apology.
- ABC 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.”
- Air Lease Corporation in resolving allegations of trade secret theft, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and unfair competition relating to the formation of the company by Steven Udvar-Hazy after he retired from competitor ILFC, a subsidiary of AIG.
- Intel Corporation in obtaining dismissal of a trade secret case wherein Plaintiff alleged misappropriation of purported trade secrets that he disclosed during due diligence discussions. The case was affirmed by the Court of Appeals following briefing and argument.
- A top Silicon Valley technology executive in obtaining a favorable settlement in litigation over the enforceability of a non-competition agreement, allowing the executive to commence work at a new job.
Taking Complex Civil Litigation To Trial
Ms. Luedtke has extensive experience taking complex commercial litigation cases to trial and arbitration. Among her noteworthy trials, she represented:
- Jacobs Engineering in obtaining court ruling in Jacobs’ favor after an extensive bench trial.
- NCAA in a highly publicized 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.
- A leading aircraft manufacturer in a confidential arbitration over contractual rights to certain aircraft technology.
- Rambus in multiple jury and bench trials in federal court, including a jury trial victory on antitrust claims that was named one of the Daily Journal’s top defense verdicts that year.
Copyright and Trademark Litigation
Ms. Luedtke regularly advises clients in significant copyright litigation. She successfully represented Disney, Lucasfilm and Marvel in obtaining a preliminary injunction on Aug. 30, 2018 against Redbox regarding its unauthorized sale of digital codes sold in DVD “Combo Packs.” Ms. Luedtke also has won numerous copyright cases for companies in the videogame industry.
In the trademark arena, Ms. Luedtke represented Versace in winning summary judgment and a permanent injunction in a case against Versace 19.69 Abbgliamento Sportivo, an unrelated company, alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition claims.