United States: Fox Rothschild Wins Dismissal Of All Charges In High-Profile Pharmaceutical Trade Secrets Case
Last Updated: January 2 2015

Attorneys from Fox Rothschild LLP, led by Partner Alain Leibman, garnered a major victory early this month when the U.S. Department of Justice dropped all charges against two Chinese-born scientists who were initially branded "traitors" upon their arrest in October 2013 for allegedly sharing American trade secrets with a Chinese pharmaceutical company.

In this case, prosecuted in the Southern District of Indiana on behalf of Eli Lilly and Company, the two scientists and former Lilly employees—one of whom was represented by Fox Rothschild—were accused of misappropriating allegedly confidential and proprietary Lilly information concerning molecular targets under research and development for cardiovascular, diabetes, and oncology drugs.  

Leibman, along with Fox Attorney Matthew S. Adams, represented the lead defendant in the case through 14 months of difficult litigation that included a three-month fight over trial-subpoenaed documents and successive discovery and Brady motions that uncovered Lilly and government errors, miscalculations and poor decisions. Through a series of bail motions, hearings and other legal avenues that, as noted in court documents, "revealed holes in the Government's case," Leibman and Adams successfully proved that, rather than being trade secrets, the drug targets in question were on public record, leading the DOJ to abandon the trade secrets prosecution in favor of wire fraud charges that were also dropped due to lack of evidence. 

"This is what real justice looks like," Leibman said. "From day one, we fought relentlessly for the exoneration of our client and the co-defendant, on grounds of lack of evidence. It took more than a year of difficult legal battling, but we finally achieved our objective, which is the total dismissal of all charges."

Leibman is a former decorated federal prosecutor who practices both criminal defense and commercial litigation in federal and state courts, with a focus on white-collar compliance and defense. He has represented companies and individuals in wide-ranging civil litigation, including defense of RICO lawsuits, prosecution of copyright and trademark infringement cases, and criminal tax defense and trade secret theft. He authors Fox Rothschild's White-Collar Defense & Compliance Blog about criminal defense, regulatory compliance and international investigations.

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