High-stakes, high-profile and complex litigation yielded huge results for Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s intellectual property team in 2012. "We’ve seen a great outcome for our clients," said group leader Steve Routh. "We’ve gotten great victories."

A significant part of the practice deals with competitors or partners in joint relationships who steal technology or intellectual property, Routh said. For example, Orrick won a jury verdict of $112 million for Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and Foundry Networks Inc. in an infringement case against A10 Networks Inc. Orrick alleged that A10′s device infringed on 13 separate Brocade patents, misappropriated more than 70 trade secrets and directly copied Brocade’s source code. Additionally, A10 had hired several Brocade employees to "moonlight."

A San Jose, Calif., federal jury found A10 guilty. A federal judge knocked down the original damages to $60 million. The court in granted Brocade a permanent injunction that prevents A10 from selling products that infringe on Brocade’s patents.

In another case, Orrick obtained a company-­saving $75 million settlement before trial for Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp., along with the transfer of 150 patents and patent applications. Tekmira accused its former collaborator and investor Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. of stealing a new type of medicine called "RNA interference." It was a risky undertaking because Alnylam was a much larger company, Routh said, but the Orrick team defeated a summary-judgment motion. Two days before jury selection in November, the case settled.

On the flip side, Routh said, Orrick’s teams developed successful strategies to defend clients against claims they stole intellectual property. The most complex of these was the case against NVIDIA Corp., the world’s largest producer of graphics processing units. The lawsuit filed by technology licensing giant Rambus Inc. spanned two International Trade Commission actions, two district court actions, 17 disputes in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a federal circuit court appeal and a complaint in the European Union.

Orrick’s Neel Chatterjee was able to structure a global settlement that includes a five-year licensing agreement that allows NVIDIA to continue using Rambus technology in a broad range of its products. "In the modern world, we are often conducting multijurisdictional settlements," Routh said.