High Tech and Intellectual Property

Many disputes that I have helped settle reflect the diverse business environment of the San Francisco Bay Area. They arise from high-tech commercial transactions involving technical issues (such as design or production defect claims), commercial issues (such as the practicability of substitute performance and marketing or distribution agreements), and interpretation issues (such as those generated by complex contracts or by the lack of clear language and/or conflicting forms). They can arise when the parties’ technology advances in ways unforeseen by the business people who make the deal. Some disputes occur in international transactions, often with Asia, creating cultural as well as additional business difficulties. Many arise in new companies where the corporate structure is subject to change and the injection of new capital can create disputes – among shareholders, with independent contractors whose contracts have a contingency for going public, and with lenders, customers and suppliers who are affected by corporate restructuring.

Disputes arise over the cause of various product problems: whether chips or other components meet specifications; the suitability and performance of hardware, software, website functions, or cloud services; the effectiveness and coordination of communications equipment; the productivity of personnel supplied from overseas; and the practicability of certain newly-developed technology. Similarly, I have dealt with intellectual property issues concerning copyright, patent rights, licensing agreements, value of and rights to use code and software packages, possible appropriation of trade secret/confidential business or technical information, and trademark and trade dress claims arising in a variety of contexts, from publications and video games to nutrition products and medical treatments.

I have dealt with disputes in many familiar areas, such as chip, chip-set and board production, web-site design and utilities, internet services, more complete products such as business enterprise software or accounting systems, and specific-use hardware designs. I am also comfortable working where disputes arise in more exotic settings, such as fighter jets, academic and political disputes, Southeast Asian business practices, competition over hiring engineers, and salvage and disposal of hardware.