We frequently represent venture capitalists, venture capital firms, and their portfolio companies, drawing upon the firm’s litigation strengths and deep understanding of the venture capital industry. As the largest law firm dedicated to dispute resolution, we are free from conflicts created by transactional work—affording us unparalleled flexibility to act on behalf of our clients. In combination with our comfort litigating in any forum, we leverage our familiarity with fund structures, the fund-raising process, advisory relationships, investment and operational strategies, and the regulatory schemes affecting venture capitalists to deliver superlative results in this space.

We have litigated virtually every type of dispute in the venture capital industry, from partnership disputes between and among GPs and between GPs and LPs to disputes between venture capital firms and portfolio-company founders. We also have significant experience representing venture capital firms against other such firms in disputes arising from partner or portfolio manager raids, as well as from co-investments and other joint ventures.

Our venture capital practice also brings to bear the firm’s best-in-class intellectual property litigation capabilities. Our technical expertise and fluency with the underlying industries in which portfolio companies operate make our firm a natural one-stop shop for venture capital clients that may also have intellectual property exposure. In addition to regularly litigating all manner of intellectual property cases, we often provide pre-litigation advice for venture capital clients with potential intellectual property issues—for instance, assessing the strength of a target company’s intellectual property portfolio.

In addition, our knowledge of the processes and structures unique to the venture capital industry gives us an advantage in representing venture capital firms and their portfolio companies in corporate governance litigation, SEC and other government enforcement actions, FCPA investigations, antitrust and competition litigation, consumer and other class action litigation, data privacy litigation, as well as in international arbitration and complex commercial litigation.

Recent Representations

  • We defended Sequoia Capital in four RICO and consumer fraud class actions and a related bankruptcy proceeding, all pending in different jurisdictions, relating to investment in entities that conducted tribal-affiliated consumer lending. We took over the defense after several years of litigation, and quickly developed a global settlement strategy that was executed within six months to successfully resolve all litigation against our client.
  • We have successfully represented Sequoia Capital in numerous other state and federal court class actions including:
    • A class action purportedly brought by Pinduoduo shareholders, in which we were able to obtain a voluntary dismissal after serving our sanctions motion;
    • Class actions bought by Dropbox, Eventbrite, and Berkeley Lights shareholders, one of which involved a seminal decision upholding dismissal based on a Delaware federal forum provision;
    • A multi-district securities litigation arising from the Robinhood/Gamestop trading freeze, in which we were able to convince the class plaintiffs to dismiss our client voluntarily during the very early stages of the litigation.
  • We represented a portfolio company of several venture capital firms that was threatened with trade secret claims on the eve of the closing of its acquisition, threatening the entire deal.  We promptly obtained a full release without needing to file any claims or make any payment, and the acquisition went through with minimal delay.
  • We represent a group of financial creditors, including venture capital funds, and the insolvency administrator of a concessionaire in an international ad hoc arbitration in Belgium against the Kingdom of Spain and the Republic of France regarding the concession contract for the construction of the international section of a new high-speed railway line. 
  • We advised a Brazilian venture capital client in a dispute with its co-venturers regarding a co-investment in a large water industry company in Brazil. The strategy developed by Quinn Emanuel, which included court proceedings in Brazil and potentially in Delaware, led the counterparty to accept a favorable settlement with our client. 
  • We are representing a Brazilian venture capital client in Section 1782 Proceedings in the United States in support of court proceedings taking place in Brazil between the target company and a partner regarding two industrial plants which are worth USD $250 million. 
  • We represent U.S. shareholders, including a prominent venture capitalist, holding direct or indirect stakes in the oilfield services company Integradora de Servicios Petroleros Oro Negro (“Oro Negro”) in a cross-border, multi-disciplinary strategy to hold Mexico and Oro Negro’s creditors to account for Oro Negro’s bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation. This strategy includes an arbitration seeking at least US$ 270 million in damages under the NAFTA for expropriation and discriminatory treatment. The parties concluded their written submissions in July 2021, and a hearing on the merits of the case was held in Washington, D.C. in April 2022.  In September 2022, the parties filed their Post-Hearing Briefs with the Tribunal.  We expect an award from the Tribunal in the upcoming months.
  • We have advised a venture capital firm on the potential acquisition of a stake in a company in regard to the company’s ongoing investment-treaty arbitration against Mexico over its project to exploit phosphate deposits in the Gulf of Mexico.     
  • We represented Spark Capital in a dispute with co-venturers about the business direction of a joint investment. We promptly negotiated a favorable pre-litigation resolution.
  • We negotiated the exit of a senior partner from one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent VC firms, avoiding litigation entirely.
  • We negotiated the exit of one of two managing members of a Silicon Valley VC firm on highly favorable terms.
  • We represented a venture capitalist defending a claim for breach of contract, as well as in prosecuting his countersuit for extortion and fraud to set aside the contract. After successfully obtaining dismissal of plaintiff’s contract claim, we tried the case before a San Mateo judge and obtained a judgment awarding our client over $14 million and rescinding the contract, as well as an anti-harassment injunction.
  • We are currently representing a venture capital partner in a dispute with his former GP over the launch of his own firm.
  • We represented a large Northern California VC firm in connection with an SEC short swing profits investigation.
  • We represented a large Northern California VC firm in a lengthy and complex dispute against one of the firm’s portfolio companies and its founder.
  • We represented two preeminent Silicon Valley venture capital firms in securities fraud litigation arising out of the merger of Epinions.com and DealTime.com; bulk of claims dismissed, case removed, and settled confidentially (alleged misstatement of prospects of merged entity to obtain shareholder agreement).
  • We represented two preeminent Silicon Valley venture capital firms and their individual directors in the In re Shopping.com Securities Litigation, and successfully demurred to the securities fraud claims then removed the matter to federal court upon plaintiffs' amendment. The matter was then favorably settled on confidential terms.
  • We represented various leading venture capital firms and their top partners in a case brought by the founder of a leading internet company for fraudulent inducement alleging that our clients persuaded him into taking venture capital money that yielded the founder $5 million rather than selling his internet company for a cash/stock value of what is now $180 million. After mediation, we agreed to a baseball arbitration with a "high" and "low" award to keep the case out of court and protect our clients' reputations. The arbitration lasted almost two weeks and, in the end, the arbitrator sided with our clients awarding the low award—a zero verdict.
  • We served as counsel to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Idealab to investigate claims by venture capital investors alleging various improper stock transactions and self-dealing on the part of the Company's management. The action settled after the firm delivered the report.
  • We represented the founding and senior partner of one of the most successful venture capital firms in the country in a case involving the division of property following a divorce. The client's ex-wife wanted to keep fifty-percent of the their joint interests in several open VC Fund Partnerships, valued at well over a billion dollars. We succeeded in convincing the court to place a value on these interests so that our client could pay her a settlement while he could keep the assets, notwithstanding that much of the fund had not yet "called" or was expended on acquisitions.
  • We represented the principal of Lightspeed Venture Partners, who was named as a derivative action defendant because of his board service on a leading telecom startup company.
  • Counsel to a Dutch venture capital business in UNCITRAL proceedings against the Czech Republic under the Netherlands-Czech Republic BIT. The claims were settled on favorable terms for our client.
  • We defended two of the most prominent venture capitalists in an action alleging fraud brought by the founder of a start-up.
  • We represented the well-known venture capital firm of Benchmark Capital in a trademark suit against financial advisor Benchmark Company. The case settled very favorably to Benchmark Capital.
  • We represented a venture capital investor of Lubrizol Corporation that had invested in Genentech. The investor had sold large amounts of stock during the period of alleged earnings overstatement and while the market was allegedly deceived as to FDA approval status of the major new drug.
  • We represented August Capital, a prominent venture capital firm, in litigation arising out of the Epinions-Dealtime merger that created Shopping.com and the subsequent acquisition of Shopping.com by eBay Inc.
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