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Thomas Garten

Tom Garten represents global technology companies in complex litigation matters, with an emphasis on patent infringement and trade secret disputes in federal courts and Section 337 investigations before the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). With 15 years of experience handling intellectual property litigation matters, Tom brings a depth and breadth of experience to his practice.

Tom is called upon frequently to manage complex discovery, engage in technical patent analysis, and develop winning strategies with respect to the determination of damages awards. He has examined witnesses at trial, argued at patent claim construction and dispositive motion hearings, and first-chaired dozens of depositions.

Through his pro bono practice, Tom has advised East Palo Alto tenants facing eviction, assisted survivors of domestic violence in obtaining restraining orders, and represented an Iraq War veteran in obtaining combat-related service pay. Tom also served as lead counsel in a criminal jury trial in partnership with the Marin County Public Defender’s Office.

In 2018, the Daily Journal recognized Tom as a “California Lawyer Attorney of the Year,” an award conferred on lawyers that have made a “significant impact on public policy, the law, the profession, or a particular practice area.” Covington, alongside the ACLU of Southern California and Public Advocates, received this honor for securing a $150 million settlement providing funds to be distributed across 50 of the highest need middle and high schools in Los Angeles.


In early 2023, two final judgments in three related intellectual property matters were made public by the Supreme People’s Court of China (the “SPC”).[1] These judgments represent a significant development in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (“IPRs”) in China, with particular implications for foreign-invested enterprises. This article provides a brief review of these high-profile cases and offers recommendations for foreign companies navigating the commercial landscape in China.

The Cases: A Brief Overview

Golden-Elephant Sincerity (“GES”), a foreign-invested chemical company, holds proprietary rights to trade secrets and two patents concerning the production of melamine.[2] In April 2014, it was revealed that Shandong Hualu-Hengsheng Chemical Co., Ltd. (“SHH”) was involved in developing a melamine production line that was strikingly similar to GES’s own design. Mingda Yin, GES’s former chief engineer, was implicated in the unauthorized transfer of confidential information to SHH, raising serious legal and ethical concerns.

Subsequent investigations revealed that Mingda Yin may have provided GES’s confidential information to two additional companies responsible for the design and/or engineering of SHH’s production line, Ningbo Fareast Chemical Group Co., Ltd. and Ningbo AT&M Environmental & Chemical Engineering Design Co., Ltd.

GES, along with other plaintiffs, filed a series of civil lawsuits against the alleged infringers for patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.[3] While the lower courts’ judgments were not entirely favorable to GES, the cases were then appealed to the SPC, and the SPC overruled the judgments of the lower courts and granted enhanced remedies in support of all of the plaintiffs’ requests.Continue Reading Landmark Judgments in Chinese Intellectual Property Law: Implications and Strategic Considerations for Foreign-Invested Enterprises