Litigation of Internet and other technology-related disputes requires lawyers who have the ability to understand the language and business of the Internet and translate key technical details into winning legal arguments. Sidley lawyers have the breadth and depth of experience in the Internet, telecommunications and other technology-related areas to understand the client’s language and exploit opposing parties’ obfuscations. Some of our key recent cases include:
- Microsoft Netscape Antitrust Litigation: The firm represented Microsoft in a number of cases involving Sherman Act and other antitrust claims and alleged patent infringement and trade secret misappropriation brought by various competitors, including Netscape and Burst.
- AT&T: We represent AT&T in a variety of Internet-related matters, especially those involving the protection of its brand on the Internet. We have brought suits to curtail Internet-based counterfeit prepaid calling cards, to regain dozens of domain names that used variants of AT&T’s brand name and to stop a major competitor from using close variants of 1-800-CALL-ATT to divert call traffic.
- Financial Institutions: We represented multiple banks in eliminating phishing Web sites designed to entice account holders to part with their personal information.
- Boothe Laser Center: We represent the busiest Lasik surgeon in the country in successful efforts to counter cyber-critics who had established multiple gripe sites.
Privacy and Information Security Litigation
Privacy and data protection litigation continues to rise along with the reputational and hard costs of information security breaches. As companies focus on personalizing consumer experiences, the value of personal information and the potential harms for its misuse, will continue to grow in significance. Sidley lawyers remain in the vanguard of privacy and information security litigation. We represent clients throughout all stages of litigation for companies facing alleged liability for data breaches, marketing violations and other privacy issues. We have represented companies in several landmark privacy cases, including:
- Ongoing representation of AT&T, BellSouth and AT&T Mobility (formerly Cingular) in the NSA Telecommunications Records MDL in which dozens of purported national class actions allege telecommunications industry involvement in alleged National Security Agency antiterrorist electronic surveillance programs. These suits seek potentially billions in damages and are certainly one of the largest pieces of privacy litigation to date.
- Successful representation of ING against a privacy class action that alleged harm from the mere loss of a laptop containing personal information. We successfully demonstrated that there was no evidence of an injury sufficient to confer standing on the plaintiffs, and the suit was dismissed without any discovery being allowed.
- Successful representation of AT&T in the Conboy litigation before the Second Circuit in 2001. This seminal case established the proposition that mere transfers of personal information collected by a company do not necessarily cause injury or give rise to cognizable damages.
- Successful representation of a defendant in the Pharmatrak privacy litigation in which the firm obtained a motion for summary judgment on all counts against plaintiffs. This purported class action sought damages for Internet users who allegedly visited various pharmaceutical company Web sites that relied on “cookies” to track Internet usage and traffic.
This same sensitivity to privacy issues is brought to bear during internal investigation. Proper care for the frequently intense personal and valuable information involved in internal investigations is a requirement in today’s information economy. Too often, the failure to be aware of the privacy restrictions relevant to internal investigations has resulted in counter-claims, failed investigations and lost litigation.
Sidley’s internal investigation’s team is aware of the myriad federal, state and international privacy restrictions on access to and the processing and international transfer of personal information. We understand the sensitive dynamics involved in modern employee monitoring and associated electronic surveillance. Our experience can help our clients develop investigative plans that minimize risk while enabling companies to meet their legitimate investigative needs both before and during litigation.
U.S. Government National Security Information Requests
Government requests for the cooperation of industry in antiterrorism efforts have soared since 2001. These requests bring with them special risks and confront companies with particularly difficult choices regarding their personal privacy, public duties, shareholder protection and the common good. Sidley brings a wealth of experience to the table in understanding the national security letters and other esoteric types of legal process involved, and in helping companies grapple with these issues of U.S. national security in today’s globalized business environment.
Sidley benefits from the extensive governmental experience of its partners in positions with access to classified materials, including several former Associate Counsels to various Presidents of both parties, a former General Counsel of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and several other former governmental officials. Sidley’s lawyers have continued to use this experience in private practice and have assisted companies with a variety of interactions with the intelligence community, including those companies that wish to minimize or avoid such relationships altogether.