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There are several circumstances in which the same facts or transactions at issue in a civil litigation will also give rise to multiple proceedings that will all occur in parallel. These can include a government investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution, civil injunctive relief action, and potentially sanctions proceedings, in addition to the civil action by a private plaintiff.

In fact, this confluence of parallel actions can occur somewhat frequently in trade secrets misappropriation cases. “It has been estimated that intellectual property in the United States is valued at nearly half the entire economy.” It is no surprise, then, that the United States government has thrown itself into taking action against the perceived large-scale theft of American trade secrets, especially by foreign actors. In recent years, the DOJ has placed particular emphasis on vindicating the interests of large corporations that have been victims of trade secret theft. It is thus becoming more common for alleged perpetrators of trade secrets theft to face not only civil litigation from a victim corporation, but also a criminal indictment, and parallel criminal and civil regulatory litigation, on the same facts.

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Author

Jessica is a partner in our San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. For more than two decades, she has been deeply involved in defending a range of preeminent government enforcement cases in the tech industry in California and beyond. Jess has helped a number of well-known public and private companies navigate high-profile crisis situations involving cutting-edge government enforcement and compliance issues. She has handled dozens of internal investigations for tech companies and has defended executives, employees, and groups of witnesses as "pool counsel" in cases at the forefront of evolving government enforcement including trade secrets and economic espionage, crypto-currencies, blockchain, and financial technology. Clients appreciate Jess for her practicality, complex strategic thinking, and deft ability to assemble effective defense teams domestically and across the globe.

Author

Erin Shields is an associate in Baker McKenzie’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the Firm’s Litigation and Government Enforcement practice. She is a member of the Firm's North America Trade Secrets Practice Group. She joined the Firm in 2021 upon graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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