Trade Secrets

Clients with valuable trade secrets count on Ropes & Gray to take rapid and effective action to prevent any threat to those assets.


Trade secrets are among a company’s most valued assets, often providing important competitive advantages. It is imperative that these secrets are protected from loss to competitors. Companies must also ensure that their own activities do not give rise to assertions of misappropriating trade secrets from others.

These issues are particularly important as joint ventures, partnerships and confidential relationships with employees, customers and vendors have become standard operating practices for growing a business.

These situations often arise when an employee or group of employees depart, to start a new venture or join a competitor. Regardless of what side our clients are on, we bring deep experience and practical strategic and tactical advice to bear to avoid trouble before it arises, or cope with situations once an issue becomes apparent. We also offer training and practical guidelines for protecting trade secrets and sensitizing employees and management to issues before such issues arise.

Broad-based experience 

Our intellectual property, government enforcement, business & commercial litigation, data privacy & security, intellectual property transactions & licensing, labor & employment, and e-discovery groups bring exceptional resources to our trade secrets practice, ensuring that all of our clients’ intellectual assets are protected to the fullest, and all relevant legal issues are dealt with in a coordinated, strategic manner. We work with businesses across the commercial and industrial spectrum – from consumer products to health care and pharmaceuticals to computer devices and software – to establish and improve trade secret protection programs.

We further advise businesses on the employment of executives and research and development employees, and draft a variety of employment agreements and policies that address such issues as IP ownership, trade secret protection, noncompetition and the nondisclosure of confidential and proprietary business information. 

Our attorneys also represent companies in criminal prosecutions for economic espionage or theft of trade secrets.

We have litigated trade secret cases in state and federal courts in the United States, relying on common law, state statutes and federal statutes governing corporate espionage and other misappropriation of trade secrets to find the right solutions for our clients.

Experience & Awards

Our recent successes for clients include representation of:

  • Exactech and XpandOrtho in a trade secret and patent infringement dispute against Zimmer Biomet concerning XpandOrtho’s soft tissue balancing technology and related wireless receiver and graphical user interface software.
  • Samsung Electronics in in a trade secret misappropriation and patent infringement suit brought by Pictos.
  • A Medical Device Manufacturer in a trade secret, copyright infringement, and breach of contract dispute involving technologies for flow cytometers.
  • IQE in a trade secret misappropriation dispute brought by Solar Junction Corporation. 
  • Bain Capital and a venture-financed portfolio company in a large trade secret dispute.
  • Dunkin' Brands in connection with a significant executive noncompetition dispute with Starbucks.
  • Gillette in noncompetition and trade secret litigation against a former employee.
  • A Global Medical Device Manufacturer in responding to corporate espionage threats and strengthening information security practices to reduce risk of trade secret losses.
  • A Global Military Product Manufacturer in a trade secret matter involving designs and production information about shelters used by the military.
  • A Major Industrial Parts Manufacturer in a trade secret matter where intensive computer forensic examination was used to discover irrefutable misappropriation evidence.
  • A Major Korean Chemical Company in defense of a DOJ trade secret misappropriation investigation and parallel civil claim by the affected competitor.
  • A Major U.S. University Medical Center in investigation and disclosure to DOJ regarding possible theft of intellectual property by a university professor.
  • Motorola in a trade secret action relating to microprocessor technology. 
  • NCSOFT in a trade secret misappropriation and copyright infringement litigation against a competitor founded by dozens of former NCsoft employees.
  • PC Connection, a public company, in enforcing a noncompetition agreement against the former CEO of one of its subsidiaries.
  • A Prestigious American Fashion Designer in a trade secret matter involving dress designs.
  • Saifun Semiconductors in a patent and trade secret case involving a new generation of computer memory devices. 
  • Silicon Laboratories in a patent and trade secret case related to modems and digital access arrangement circuitry. 
  • Transact Technologies in a trade secret misappropriation case related to the design of the company’s food safety terminals.
  • Chambers USA (2023) - Recognized Ropes & Gray for Intellectual Property and Corporate Crime & Investigations (Nationwide)
  • Legal 500 US (2023) - Recognized Ropes & Gray for Trade Secrets (Litigation and Non-Contentious Matters), Patent Litigation, Commercial Litigation, White-collar Criminal Defense, and Labor & Employment Litigation
A quality firm with excellent people on both the transaction side and for litigation.

They understand risk. You don't get opinions that are conservative or done in a vacuum.
Client Testimonials, Chambers USA