As a former software entrepreneur and management consultant, Warren Braunig is particularly well suited to advise technology and software companies in solving their most difficult business and legal problems. Although he has tried a dozen cases in state court, federal court and arbitration, Warren also appreciates that sometimes the thorniest problems can be solved outside the courtroom. His approach to litigation is client-focused—starting with each client’s ultimate goals—tenacious and creative.
Warren’s practice is centered on intellectual property, but runs the gamut of complex commercial litigation, from antitrust and employment disputes to contract fights and patent infringement cases. He has particular expertise in issues of trade secret and employee mobility. His clients have included Google, Comcast, Western Digital, Williams-Sonoma, Dialpad, CREXi, and Cherwell Software.
Among other prominent wins, Warren successfully defended real-estate startup CREXi and its Chief Executive Officer in bet-the-company trade secret litigation. He won a complete defense verdict for a multinational law firm against a $60 million malpractice claim arising out of patent litigation in the ITC and Delaware; and he won a summary determination for Comcast before the International Trade Commission. He helped IT software innovator Cherwell navigate through a multiple-front patent attack by a legacy competitor, which settled on very favorable terms. He was trial counsel for the San Diego County Water Authority in its successful battle against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which resulted in the largest plaintiff’s damages award in California that year. And he is currently working with the ACLU on a pro bono effort to end New Mexico’s use of expensive pre-trial conditions to incarcerate non-violent, indigent defendants before trial.
Warren earned his J.D. from New York University School of Law and served as a clerk to Justice Kim McLane Wardlaw on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Prior to his law career, he was the director of product marketing at Emmperative, Inc. and is the co-inventor of two registered software patents. He regularly writes, provides news commentary, and presents on various trade secret law topics. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and three children.
RingCentral, Inc. v. Dialpad, Inc.
We successfully defended cloud-based telephony and unified messaging provider Dialpad in a four-patent, patent infringement action brought by an established competitor in the Northern District of California. After prevailing on an early section 101 motion, with an order that all of RingCentral’s patents and claims were unpatentable and invalid, the case resolved on highly favorable terms.
SRS Acquiom, Inc. v. PNC Bank et al.
We represent software innovator SRS Acquiom, Inc. in a trade-secrets misappropriation case against PNC Bank and two former SRS employees, alleging that the employees improperly retained SRS confidential information and used it, with PNC, to unfairly compete against SRS for online M&A payments-and-escrow business. The case is proceeding through expedited discovery and briefing on a motion for preliminary injunction.
BMC Software, Inc. v. Cherwell Software, LLC
We represented IT software innovator Cherwell Software in a patent-infringement case in Colorado brought by industry giant BMC Software, alleging infringement of seven software patents. After fifteen months of intensive litigation, we were able to resolve the case for Cherwell on favorable terms.
Ten-X LLC v. Commercial Real Estate Exchange Inc. (CREXi)
We represented real-estate startup CREXi and its Chief Executive Officer in bet-the-company litigation brought by industry giant Ten-X involving claims of trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract. Ten-X asserted in litigation that it was entitled to millions of dollars in damages, plus ownership of CREXi. After a year of very hard-fought litigation, CREXi was able to resolve the case for a minimal cost-of-defense settlement and was free to continue serving the commercial real estate market.
San Diego County Water Authority v. Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
In 2015, we won the largest plaintiff's award of the year in California for the San Diego County Water Authority in its long-running fight with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). MWD is the regional water wholesaler for most of Southern California. San Diego sued MWD for charging San Diego inflated and illegal water transportation rates, and breaching a contract between the parties. After a three-week bench trial that played out in two phases over the course of fifteen months, the court found that MWD’s rates violated numerous California statutory and constitutional provisions, and awarded our client $188 million in contract damages, plus $43 million in prejudgment interest, and other declaratory relief, including a forward-looking writ of mandate directing MWD to set future rates in compliance with the court’s order.
SanDisk Corp. v. SK Hynix Inc.
We represented SanDisk in a massive trade secret misappropriation and corporate espionage case. SanDisk, a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, sued competitor SK Hynix for misappropriating approximately ten gigabytes of highly confidential trade secret information and using that information over the course of six years to revamp Hynix’s technology and unfairly compete with SanDisk. We obtained a sweeping preliminary injunction that barred Hynix from any further use or disclosure of stolen SanDisk information, and fought back efforts to dismiss the case, to send it to arbitration, to transfer it overseas, and to remove it from the court that granted the preliminary injunction. Following a series of courtroom victories for our client, the parties reached a confidential settlement and entered into a product supply agreement.
Wetlands Preservation Foundation v. Dept. of Water Resources et al
We represent Stockton, CA-based non-profit Wetlands Preservation Foundation in litigation against the California Department of Water Resources and The Nature Conservancy concerning TNC’s and DWR’s gross mismanagement and degradation of 9,200-acre Staten Island, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, an island that is an important wildlife habitat for migratory birds as well as an important agricultural resource in the Delta. The case is set for trial in November 2019.
Former Client v. Law Firm
We won a complete defense verdict for our multinational law firm client, and three individual law firm partners, in a malpractice claim arising out of patent litigation in the ITC and Delaware. The plaintiffs had alleged more than a dozen individual acts of malpractice and sought $60+ million in damages. After a hard-fought two-week arbitration before a retired federal judge in New York, the arbitrator issued an award in our clients’ favor.
In re Qvale Estate
We represented the Qvale Auto Group and its president Bruce Qvale in bitterly-contested litigation concerning the $100+ million estate of auto industry pioneer Kjell Qvale. We successfully defended our clients against claims of elder abuse and undue influence, ultimately obtaining a highly favorable settlement on the eve of trial.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company v. Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation
We represented TSMC against China's then-leading semiconductor manufacturer, SMIC, in the largest trade secret misuse case tried to date. SMIC owed its very existence to technology stolen from our client. Following a jury verdict on liability in favor of TSMC, SMIC agreed to pay $200 million in cash and approximately $130 million of its company stock. The case serves as precedent for the strong protection afforded by California's trade secret statute, even where the actual theft occurred in Asia.
March 07, 2018
IBM and Microsoft have wisely split the baby in a trade secrets dispute that wasn’t making either side look good. Read more
February 14, 2018
Have big companies’ diversity metrics become so valuable they might now be considered trade secrets? Read more
Warren Braunig will address civil and criminal liabilities, challenges, and consequences of the Act. Read more
The awards recognize California litigation practices that delivered exceptional results on their clients' most critical and challenging matters. Read more
John Keker and his team brought in nearly $235 million for the San Diego County Water Authority. The big win was a key installment in California's ongoing water wars, made increasingly urgent by four dry years. Read more
John Keker, Dan Purcell and their team secured another victory for the San Diego County Water Authority. Read more
John Keker and his team win a major victory for the San Diego region. Read more
Sandisk lead counsel Jeff Chanin and his team won a preliminary injunction requiring South Korea-based SK Hynix Inc. to hand over the alleged secrets. Read more
Keker & Van Nest helped the San Diego County Water Authority triumph in its long-standing battle with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California over millions in water transportation fees. Read more
New partners all served on several significant trial teams, attended elite law schools, and completed prominent clerkships. Read more
Jeff Chanin and Matthew Werdegar convinced the plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss his law suit. Read more
Led by Ashok Ramani, Keker & Van Nest defeats trademark and unfair competition case. Read more
- "Does Your Boss Own Your Brain?" Today's General Counsel, 2018, co-authored with Sarah Salomon
- "Jury's Still Out on the Impact of the Defend Trade Secrets Act," Inside Counsel, 2017, co-authored with Matt Werdegar
- "One year on: the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act," Daily Journal, 2017, co-authored with Matt Werdegar
- "What the Defend Trade Secrets Act Means for California," The Recorder, 2016
- "Recent Developments in the Case Law of Damages," American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, 2014
- “Reflexive Law Solutions to Factory Farm Pollution,” New York University Law Review, 2005
- Co-inventor of software patents, U.S. 7,302,431, and U.S. 7,139,757
- Regular presenter at conferences on federal trial practice and trade secrets law