McGeorge School of Law

Graham Finds Unusual Solution to Suit: Buy Defendant

September 14, 2006

Chris Scott Graham

Chris Scott Graham

Chris Scott Graham, ’84, helped engineer an unusual ending to a lengthy trade-secrets theft lawsuit between between two software companies.

After scoring several courtroom victories for Synopsys, the Dechert partner advised the Mountain View company to acquire Nassda for $192 million with the defendants co-founders kicking back $61 million to settle the lawsuit. The deal was announced December 1.

“It’s pretty unusual, especially given the fact that both companies are public,” Graham told The Recorder, a legal newspaper. “Usually, you have cross-licenses or some amount of money is paid to resolve this type of dispute.” The acquisition made sense, he said, because “trade secrets permeated all the products Nassda was selling.

Synopsys had been seeking more than $100 million in damages and an injunction to prohibit Nassda from selling its software products. A judge had ruled Nassda, founded by former Synopsys employees, had copied or derived much of its debut product source code from the plaintiff’s patents. The trial, set to begin in January, was scheduled to last six months.

Graham represented Synopsys throughout the trade-secrets litigation that began in 2000. Multiple major law firms were involved for the defense. Cooley Godward represented Synopsys and Wilson Sonsini advised Nassda in the acquisition.