Charles Tait Graves litigates trade secret disputes and provides intellectual property counseling on complex trade secret matters. Few globally have similar depth, experience, and insight in this area. Tait is renowned for his focus on trade secret law.
Over nearly two decades, he has handled countless trade secret matters in Silicon Valley and around the country. He is often hired for the most difficult cases, including jury trials.
He has secured defense verdicts in jury and bench trials and eliminated a large number of cases through motion practice. He also frequently writes and lectures in the field. A number of his ideas and approaches have been adopted in important court rulings that have set new precedent in California and influenced the practice of trade secret law nationwide.
Tait most recently served as co-chair of the firm’s Nominating Committee. He is also a member of the San Francisco office’s trial practice team.
Trade secret cases have increased in recent years. From inception through trial and appeal, Tait handles trade secret, nondisclosure agreement, invention assignment, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, idea submission, work for hire, and similar matters.
Through his litigation wins and influential publications, he has helped shape California’s trade secret laws by advancing creative theories on issues such as claim identification, statutory preemption of alternative causes of action, the meaning of the statutory phrase “threatened misappropriation,” expert damages opinions, choice of law, bad-faith claims, and the application of Business & Professions Code Section 16600 in various contexts.
Many potential problems never result in litigation because clients receive precise and careful counseling. Tait has counseled a vast number of companies—from start-ups to some of technology’s biggest names—as well as individuals and investors.
This includes pre-dispute counseling, internal investigations, workforce training, clean room development, advising new start-ups and company founders, hiring and mobility, international questions, restrictive covenants, pre-acquisition diligence, and due diligence for venture capital firms.
Since 2009, Tait has taught a course at the University of California, Hastings College of Law, titled “Intellectual Property under State Law: Trade Secrets and Employee Mobility.” He has also co-taught the IP seminar there. In addition, he has been a guest lecturer on trade secret law and has participated in scholarly conferences on the subject at numerous law schools.
In 2017-18, this has included appearances at conferences panels, and lectures at UC Hastings, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Stanford Law School, and the Sedona Conference Working Group on Trade Secrets.
Tait is one of the nation’s most widely-published writers on trade secrets law, with numerous research articles and essays on the history, theory, and practice of trade secret and employee mobility law.
His articles focus on unexplored policy aspects and discontinuities found in these areas. These publications have been frequently cited by courts in California and around the country, as well as by scholars and practitioners.
- J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1998
- B.S., University of California, Berkeley, 1994
- State Bar of California
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
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