Trade Secret and Employee Mobility

Protecting clients’ intellectual property in complex matters

Our practice handles everything from high-stakes litigation to trials to day-to-day counseling. We help clients protect their trade secrets from disclosure, defend against accusations of misappropriation, onboard employees moving between competitors, and safeguard intellectual property during merger and acquisition negotiations, due diligence efforts and joint venture talks.  

We focus on solutions. While some of our most successful representations are necessarily confidential, involving out-of-court resolutions or confidential arbitration, we frequently engage in vigorous representations for our clients in high-profile trade secret and employee mobility matters. Our deep bench of experienced litigators is ready to quickly deploy for temporary injunctions, preliminary injunctions and trials.


We offer a wide range of services that include advising on or handling litigation related to:

  • Non-Compete
  • Criminal Investigations of  Trade Secret Theft 
  • Non-Solicitation
  • Privacy Protection
  • Acquisition
  • On-boarding and Out-boarding
  • Trade Secrets and
    other Intellectual
  • Confidentiality Agreements


We work with clients in a broad spectrum of industries such as financial services, technology, retail, entertainment, pharmaceuticals, higher education and more. Our client list includes:

  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Checkr
  • Guardsmark
  • Air Lease Corp.
  • DoubleLine Capital
  • IAG Capital
  • Amgen
  • First Student
  • Intel
  • Applied Materials
  • Fortress Investment Group
  • Snap


Our team of experienced attorneys includes:

Related Practices


Our representations include:

  • Abbott Laboratories in pursuing lawsuits against three former employees for downloading confidential documents upon their departure and for breach of non-solicitation agreements.
  • Air Lease Corporation in defending against and resolving allegations of trade secret theft, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, and unfair competition brought by International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) relating to the formation of Air Lease by Steven Udvar-Hazy after he retired from ILFC.
  • Amgen, in bringing a trade secret action in state court against a competitor firm and a former Amgen executive for misappropriating trade secrets related to Amgen’s groundbreaking oncology drug Neulasta®. After defeating a motion for summary judgment, we achieved a favorable settlement, including a multi-year royalty, the day before opening arguments in a lengthy jury trial.
  • An investment fund and a lead fund investor in winning a motion to dismiss a lawsuit, filed by a technology company in the Northern District of California, that accused one of the fund’s portfolio companies of misappropriating trade secrets and ten other causes of action related to the alleged theft of trade secrets by an inventor who moved from plaintiff’s company to the portfolio company.
  • Applied Materials, Inc., in:
    • A federal criminal case and a civil lawsuit against former executives who conspired to misappropriate trade secrets and a company started by one of the executives. In the civil case, we successfully argued on appeal that the matter should move forward as a unified proceeding and resisted efforts to compel it to potentially conflicting individual arbitrations.
    • Obtaining voluntary dismissal of litigation filed by ASM America, Inc., in an Arizona federal court, that sought to enjoin a former ASM employee, from working for Applied in South Korea. We later moved for attorneys’ fees in federal court and on the eve of that hearing, the parties reached a confidential settlement.
  • Brian Armstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, in forcing to arbitration an intellectual property dispute brought by blockchain accelerator MouseBelt Labs, which alleges Armstrong used a possible investment allegedly as a ploy to access the confidential information and then misappropriated its trade secrets for a competing project.
  • Carrington Mortgage Services and an executive in settling litigation alleging that Carrington and the executive engaged in improper encouragement of Freedom Mortgage Company employees to join Carrington en masse, allegedly inducing the theft of trade secrets and aiding and abetting breaches of employee non-solicitation agreements.
  • Checkr and Hone Data LLC, in settling trade secret litigation after discovering the alleged secret, a compilation of codes, was publicly available on the internet.
  • DoubleLine Capital LP and certain of its founders, including CEO Jeffrey Gundlach, in winning a $66.7 million jury verdict in favor of Gundlach against his former employer, Trust Co. of the West (TCW), on his cross-complaint. TCW originally brought suit against Mr. Gundlach and DoubleLine Capital, claiming breach of fiduciary duty, trade secret theft and tortious interference in connection with a large-scale departure of employees to DoubleLine Capital after Mr. Gundlach was fired. The jury awarded no damages on TCW’s complaint against DoubleLine Capital and the individual defendants.
  • First Student, Inc., the nation’s largest school bus company, in achieving a confidential settlement in trade secret litigation with Zum Services, Inc., after First Student alleged that Zum hired one of its employees to help Zum compete for a San Francisco Unified School District contract.
  • Fortress Investment Group, in obtaining a complete defense verdict in a five-week bench trial in a lawsuit filed by a life settlement investment fund seeking more than $200 million in damages and bringing claims of misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair competition and breach of contract.
  • IAG Capital, in obtaining dismissal of allegations of trade secret misappropriation, CFAA, RICO, and related state law claims brought by Sylabs, Inc., regarding an inventor who joined IAG from Sylabs. A motion to dismiss the amended complaint is pending.
  • Intel Corporation, in two separate actions filed in federal court against former employees who took Intel’s confidential and trade secret information. We obtained temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in both matters, as well as expedited discovery, to protect against further dissemination of the information and compel the return of all misappropriated materials.
  • Snap, Inc., against charges it infringed the patents of a social mapping application and misappropriated alleged trade secrets by allegedly accessing a beta test of the app.
  • Ten-X, an online real estate marketplace, in obtaining a preliminary injunction and then later a cash settlement, a public apology, and certain ongoing restrictions against Commercial Real Estate Exchange (CREXi) and its CEO in litigation alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets.


Munger, Tolles & Olson Receives 54 Chambers Rankings in 2024 Guides

Munger, Tolles & Olson received a total of 54 rankings in the 2024 Chambers USA and Chambers Global guides....
Read More

Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Carolyn Luedtke Quoted in IAM Trade Secrets Article Discussing the FTC’s Recent Ban on Noncompete Agreements in Employee Contracts

Munger, Tolles & Olson partner Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke was quoted in IAM Trade Secrets’ recent article titled “US FTC votes through noncompete clause ban ...
Read More

Bethany Kristovich to Speak at San Francisco Trade Secrets Litigation Conference

Munger, Tolles & Olson Partner Bethany Kristovich will speak at Sandpiper Partners LLC’s “Hot Topics in Trade Secrets Protection, Enforcement, and Litigat...
Read More