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Practice Overview

Trade Secrets

Cravath has unparalleled experience in helping businesses defend their valuable trade secrets. The Legal 500 United States noted Cravath’s particular strength “in bringing complex, high‑value trade secret disputes to trial on behalf of plaintiffs in the insurance, finance and technology sectors, and defending them against claims,” as well as the Firm’s “considerable track record advising various parties on strategies to avoid trade secrets disputes.”

Trade secrets often constitute some of the most valuable assets of a business, ranging from proprietary manufacturing methods, to proprietary methods of pricing, to proprietary information regarding customers and business strategies. Such highly valuable knowledge is often concentrated in the most mobile assets any business has, its employees, whose activities can place valuable proprietary information at sudden and unexpected risk, as, for example, when a long‑time key employee leaves to work for a competitor or uses company information for personal advantage. Litigation to prevent improper disclosure of trade secrets almost always proceeds on an extremely expedited basis, with the owner of the secrets seeking emergency relief against improper use or disclosure and seeking an early trial on its claims.

Cravath’s litigation expertise—especially the breadth and depth of its courtroom experience—is invaluable in prosecuting (or defending) claims involving trade secrets. The Firm has compiled an excellent record representing its clients as plaintiffs in such litigation and has repeatedly obtained preliminary injunctions on behalf of its clients. Cravath also represents companies charged with misappropriation or improper use of others’ trade secrets and has successfully defended cases of that kind for a range of clients. The Firm has litigated trade secrets cases in a variety of industries, including computer technology, insurance and reinsurance, telecommunications and finance.

Cravath also possesses substantial experience in investigating potential or suspected misuse or misappropriation of trade secrets. The Firm frequently advises clients on methods of protecting proprietary information, including confidentiality and noncompetition agreements with employees, and conducts due diligence with respect to unpatented proprietary information in connection with mergers and acquisitions and other transactions.