Friday, October 30, 2009, 10/30/2009 10:42:00 AM

Well-Dressed Attorneys Make Closing Arguments in TSMC v. SMIC Trade Secrets Trial

By Todd

We've been following this TSMC v. SMIC trade secrets trial going on out in Oakland, see here: http://wombletradesecrets.blogspot.com/2009/10/semiconductor-international-has.html.


The parties have now made their closing arguments, and Law.com has an interesting report regarding those arguments.


Jeffrey Chanin, who represents TSMC, compared SMIC to a thief whose "strategy has been to play a game of catch me if you can and play dumb when caught." He argued that SMIC took trade secrets from former TSMC employees to get its plants up and running in short order.
Chanin said that SMIC had agreed to clean out all the stolen trade secrets as part of the 2005 settlement, but kept using them -- and on top of it destroyed documents. Indeed, Judge Brick told jurors they could infer that SMIC had deliberately destroyed TSMC documents in its possession. Chanin and his colleagues tried to capitalize on the instruction by writing it out in large letters on an oversized, glossy plasterboard right beside the jury box.


David Steuer, who represents SMIC, told the jury that TSMC's lawsuit was nothing more than "a mean-spirited attempt to destroy a competitor." He claimed that the case boiled down to "fragments of alleged trade secrets that were not cleaned out." He claimed that TSMC hadn't proven that any trade secrets were misappropriated, because, as Steuer had argued, "information circulates in this industry in a number of ways."


In closing, Chanin told the jury to punish SMIC. "It's time for you to tell this company to act responsibly with your verdict in this case," Chanin said.

Steuer said that SMIC had already paid the price. "They did take responsibility," he said. "They settled the case and it was a huge and painful settlement."


We'll report back on the jury's verdict. Our favorite part of this article - and remember that you can read the article by just clicking on the title to this blog post - is the author's repeated references to what the attorneys and the judge were wearing (e.g., "The nine-week California trial has unfolded before Judge Steven Brick, who on Wednesday was attired in his trademark bow tie and dark-rimmed glasses" or "Dressed conservatively, Chanin delivered his argument in a calm, friendly, slightly didactic tone"). Interesting stuff - you don't usually get that kind of color in trial reporting from the field. We like the use of the word "didactic" too - kudos to Law.com on this one.

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