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Keker & Van Nest Wins Dismissal in Trade Secret Suit

St. Louis Business Journal

A lawsuit filed against toy maker Cepia LLC in the District Court for the Northern District of California by inventor Jason Heller of the San Francisco area has been dismissed in its entirety with prejudice against Heller.

In the lawsuit, Heller, who does business as Floating Lightbulb Toys, alleged that Cepia misappropriated the idea for its popular Zhu Zhu Pets product line from him. He thought someone had improperly given Cepia information about his toy hamster and related accessories, Heller's attorney, Robert Matz of Alameda, Calif., told the Business Journal.

But Cepia had produced more than 20,000 pages of development documents in the case, company officials said. Matz said that after reviewing the development documents, Heller was convinced that no one had disclosed information about his toy, saying that "Cepia and its employees should be commended for bringing a great toy to market."

Heller requested that the case be dismissed voluntarily and without being compensated, Matz said. The suit was dismissed March 29 by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White.

Keker & Van Nest attorneys Jeff Chanin, Matthew Werdegar, and Warren Braunig represented Cepia in the lawsuit.

Jeff Chanin’s career over the past three decades has spanned the full range of complex intellectual property, commercial, and white collar criminal defense matters. His forte is strategic leadership in complex, high-stakes litigation, and the preparation and presentation of technically challenging matters. Mr. Chanin has won numerous trial and pretrial victories for his clients in trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement, copyright, legal malpractice, and civil false claims matters, and in criminal cases ranging from money laundering to manslaughter.

Matt Werdegar helps clients safeguard their intellectual property. He focuses on his clients’ business objectives and crafts novel, yet pragmatic, litigation strategies to meet those objectives. In addition, Mr. Werdegar is often called upon to assist with difficult, high-stakes disputes in a variety of other areas, including professional liability, breach of contract, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases.

Warren Braunig's practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, ranging from trade secrets and trademark law to consumer class actions and contract disputes. He has represented Impax Laboratories, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, and other individual and corporate clients.