Notable Victories Detail Banner
All Notable Victories

January 2018: Sweeping Preliminary Injunction Victory in Trade Secret Case

January 2018

The firm represents biopharmaceutical company Theravance Biopharma US, Inc., and certain of its affiliates (“Theravance”) against its former Senior Vice President of Technical Operations, Junning Lee. The firm recently obtained a broad preliminary injunction from the Northern District of California ordering Lee not to disclose, copy, or otherwise use Theravance’s proprietary, confidential, and trade secret information; not to destroy certain materials; and requiring Lee to surrender dozens of devices and email accounts potentially containing Theravance’s proprietary, confidential, and trade secret information that Lee downloaded without authorization before his resignation in February 2017. The injunction also required Lee to identify any third parties who may have received Theravance confidential information, and to refrain from altering or transferring any such data. The court did not require Theravance to post a bond.

Prior to Lee’s resignation in February 2017, he downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents including some of Theravance’s most valuable and closely-guarded secrets regarding its years-long research and development of new pharmaceutical products. When Theravance discovered Lee’s misappropriation, Lee attempted to cover his tracks by providing misleading explanations for his activity and deleting thousands of documents from his devices after he was told to return them to Theravance.

Quinn Emanuel responded with a pre-litigation investigation consisting of multiple interviews, written data requests, cooperation with a forensic discovery firm, and a deep dive into the hundreds of thousands of documents Lee downloaded. Through these efforts, Quinn Emanuel discovered that Lee failed to return dozens of external storage devices that he connected to his Theravance-issued laptops, that he had sent Theravance data to private email accounts, and that he had allowed at least one thirdparty to access his Theravance-issued laptop and login credentials.

As soon as Lee stopped cooperating with the investigation, Quinn Emanuel filed a complaint and motion for preliminary injunction in the Northern District of California asserting claims for trade secret misappropriation under state and federal law, breach of contract, and breach of Lee’s fiduciary duty and duty of loyalty.

The day before the scheduled hearing on Theravance’s motion for a preliminary injunction, Judge Vince Chhabria took the hearing off calendar and shortly thereafter granted Theravance’s motion —adopting Theravance’s proposed order with only minor modification.