Rose Leda Ehler
Carolyn Hoecker Luedtke
Platforms, Software and Consumer Technologies
We represent the world’s largest consumer-facing technology companies in their most challenging issues. We have helped companies successfully navigate the thorniest lawsuits involving privacy and data security, platform liability, trade secrets and employee mobility, IP protection and other areas of technology law for which there is at times no existing precedent.
Recent representations include:
- obtaining dismissal with prejudice of a lawsuit by the Federal Agency of News (“FAN”), after Facebook shut down its account in 2018. FAN was removed from Facebook as part of an effort to address Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
- obtaining denial of TRO and dismissal of litigation brought by a media company challenging Facebook’s labelling of its content as “Russia state-controlled media” in advance of the 2020 presidential election.
- obtaining dismissals of several class action lawsuits involving targeting tools on Facebook’s advertising platform, including a class action relating to Facebook’s alleged collection of location-related information regarding Facebook users.
- a class action lawsuit challenging its importation of email contacts and sending of connection invitations to those contacts. After obtaining dismissal of all statutory damages claims for alleged right-of-publicity violations and for alleged violations of the federal Wiretap Act, we negotiated a favorable class settlement that received final court approval. The court's orders on these motions dramatically limited the scope of the action.
- several matters against parties using bots or other technologies to scrape LinkedIn's website, create fake or unauthorized accounts, or otherwise disrupt its platform. In one of these matters, we were able to obtain a favorable resolution for LinkedIn against anonymous parties that were using bots to scrape member data from LinkedIn and create fake accounts.
- obtaining dismissal and affirmance of a trial court decision holding that long-term San Francisco hotel residents have no causes of action against Airbnb for nuisance at properties caused by Airbnb users or unfair competition claims; the court held that there was no proximate causation for harm by third-party users and no aiding-and-abetting liability against Airbnb.
- obtaining injunction enjoining a Boston ordinance on CDA and Fourth Amendment grounds requiring Airbnb to remove listings to operate in Boston and turn over private user data without any legal process.
Snap in defending the company from claims alleging that Snap is liable for individual defendants taking snaps of an assault of the plaintiff.
Quotient in defeating temporary restraining order sought by former business partner in contract dispute over provision of digital media and promotions services.
Google in obtaining a favorable settlement in the first patent infringement litigation involving Google Pay, Google’s tap-and-pay application. In a matter filed in the Eastern District of Texas, the plaintiff alleged that it invented the idea of tap-and-pay payments using a mobile phone and that Google Pay infringed five patents pertaining to mobile payment technology.
Mattel in a class action alleging that a number of operators of YouTube channels aimed at children collected personal information from users under the age of 13, in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and other state laws.
- compelling arbitration of claims relating to use of Lyft app.
- multiple cases asserting that drivers using Lyft’s service should be treated as employees.
- an antitrust challenge to its hiring and pricing practices brought by a purported class of private car service providers.
Video Games, Interactive, and Streaming Entertainment
We have deep experience in representing gaming and streaming clients in litigation, including industry-shaping right of publicity, trade secret, anti-circumvention, and copyright cases. The firm's deep experience in media, entertainment, and communications helps us quickly scale-up our team if necessary, and our clients benefit from our firm's deep bench of attorneys, and capabilities at the intersection of media, entertainment and technology.
Electronic Arts in lawsuit against Zynga alleging copyright infringement of EA’s valuable Sims franchise.
Microsoft in wide-ranging antitrust and intellectual property litigation concerning technological measures in the Xbox 360 videogame console designed to preclude unauthorized accessories. The litigation included DMCA, copyright, trade secret, patent, design patent, trademark and Kodak “aftermarket” antitrust claims.
RIAA and Major Record Labels in litigation brought by stream-ripping technology seeking a declaratory judgment that its service does not violate the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and winning a motion to dismiss.
Disney in copyright litigation, challenging the rental kiosk company Redbox’s unauthorized sale of digital movie redemption codes. This was a precedent-setting copyright case that saw a California court rule for the first time that unauthorized resale of digital movie redemption codes is copyright infringement.
Disney, Lucasfilm, Fox, Warner Bros., Marvel, New Line, and Turner Entertainment, in winning a $62.4 million jury verdict in a copyright infringement and circumvention action against VidAngel. In a case at the forefront of efforts to shape copyright law and the growing digital streaming market, we achieved a complete trial victory, followed by successful resolution of claims in VidAngel’s bankruptcy.
Alliance for Creativity in Entertainment an organization that includes Amazon Studios, Netflix and other Streaming Services in litigating multiple enforcement to shut down pirate streaming services.
FinTech, Cryptocurrency, NFTs
We understand the pace of companies operating at the intersection of financial services and technology and bring out multi-disciplinary teams to work for our clients both in the FinTech industry and engaging with Cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
Our team includes lawyers who also have government enforcement experience. We have a deep bench of former federal prosecutors and government luminaries with experience before the SEC, FTC and other regulatory agencies.
Recent representations include:
Square in achieving dismissals in two class actions brought under the Unruh Act by gun store owners and bankruptcy attorneys challenging restrictions on use of Square’s services in its terms of service enforcing arbitration clause and successfully obtaining dismissal or compelling arbitration in multiple claims brought by users.
Stripe in obtaining a dismissal of a privacy class action alleging that the company collects financial and other information from consumers using the payment form and subjects them to future tracking and profiling.
An Entertainment Company in outlining NFT strategy for licensing and enforcing IP rights.
A Copyright and Trademark Owner in shutting down multiple infringing NFTs on marketplaces through DMCA notices, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c)(3)(A) and successful cease-and-desist efforts.
Hardware and Semiconductors
By combining scientific and technical knowledge with our deep litigation bench, we have successfully represented clients who manufacture and sell electrical, computer, energy, home appliances, networking, semiconductor, consumer electronics and telecommunications technology.
We have substantial experience handling patent litigation matters on behalf of companies producing hardware, semiconductors and related devices. We have achieved numerous patent litigation victories in the Federal Circuit as well as in various lower courts. We practice in the most active patent litigation venues in the country, including the Northern District of California, the Eastern District of Texas and the District of Delaware.
Select representations include:
Applied Materials in a lawsuit against four former employees and three other defendants, seeking damages and injunctive relief for misappropriation of trade secrets related to Applied’s light emitting diode (LED) manufacturing technology and lithium ion battery technology. Several defendants filed an unsuccessful motion to compel arbitration, which is now on appeal. We also represent Applied as the victim corporation in the related federal criminal case, which led to the conviction of a former employee for possession of stolen Applied trade secrets.
Cisco Systems in a patent infringement action brought by Autocell in the District of Delaware claiming that its patents covered the technology employed to limit interference between transmitters and receivers on Cisco’s wireless networks. Our team successfully obtained summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of Cisco.
Intel Corporation in:
its agreement to sell its NAND flash memory solid state drive and wafer businesses to SK Hynix, a South Korean semiconductor manufacturer, for $9 billion USD.
obtaining temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against engineers who misappropriated trade secrets and confidential information and then destroyed evidence to cover it up.
LG Electronics in its successful defense against multi-district antitrust litigation based on allegations that international manufacturers of cathode ray tubes conspired to fix prices. The plaintiffs sought billions of dollars in damages.
Raytheon Technologies in obtaining summary judgment and Ninth Circuit affirmance against a quality engineer’s allegations that the company had violated the False Claims Act.
Labeling Russian State-Backed Media
Client Name: Facebook
Munger, Tolles & Olson secured a victory for Facebook with the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing the social media company of mislabeling pages created by Maffick LLC, a digital content company, as “Russia state-controlled media.” The decision in Maffick LLC v Facebook, Inc., was announced by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May 11, 2021.
Maffick filed the complaint after Facebook identified its three channels as “Russia state-controlled media” on the social media website’s the ‘Page Transparency’ section.
Maffick claimed that the notice was false and would harm its reputation and business, and applied for a temporary restraining order (TRO). The court denied the TRO, because Facebook “tendered a substantial amount of evidence in support of its view that Maffick is linked to the Russian government” and thus “Maffick had failed to establish a ‘likelihood of success on the merits’” or even “a ‘serious question’ for injunctive purposes.” The court also noted that Maffick had failed to demonstrate irreparable harm stemming from the labeling.
After the TRO proceedings, Facebook moved to dismiss the complaint. The court agreed, dismissing Maffick’s sole federal claim under the Lanham Act, and declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Maffick’s remaining state law claims. As the court stated in finding the Lanham Act inapplicable, “[b]y posting the Russia media advisory comment, Facebook is certainly not making a false representation of origin or sponsorship about its own goods or services, and such a claim would be inherently implausible.”
Press Coverage: Facebook blocks Russia-backed accounts, but other sites keep churning out content aimed at Americans