Renée Rothauge is an experienced trial attorney specializing in complex business and intellectual property disputes. In her more than 20 years of practice, Renée has developed a strong track record of success in the resolution or litigation of more than 200 complex business, technology and intellectual property cases. She has developed unique litigation methods and systems that allow her to calculate a case's probability of success, accurately assess litigation costs and create winning strategies to meet her client’s objectives. She is often retained by other attorneys to assist with cases which are extremely complex or hold a high degree of business risk.
Chambers USA selected Renée as one of the top commercial litigators in Oregon. A principal reason cited is that “[h]er ability to conceive, manage and carry out a winning litigation strategy is amazing.” She has successfully defended and sued global and Fortune 500 companies in complex commercial and intellectual property disputes. Her client roster includes Harry & David, Columbia Helicopters, Dow Agro Sciences, Andritz, Inc., Dr. Martens USA, JB Instant Lawn, Plaid Pantry, Inc., Traeger Grills, L.L. Bean, Boyd Coffee, Asiana Airlines and other well-known corporations. She has helped privately-held companies and individuals protect their most important assets and net worth.
Renée's unique talents were acknowledged by her peers when she was admitted into the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, a national organization which requires substantial jury trial experience and the highest professional ethics. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA and Martindale Hubbell, where she holds an AV preeminent rating for the highest legal abilities and ethical standards. She is consistently recognized as one of Oregon’s top 50 lawyers, and one of Oregon’s top 25 women lawyers, by Oregon Super Lawyers magazine. Renée was ranked nationally as one of the top 250 women litigators in the United States by Benchmark Litigation as she “is considered among the top IP practitioners in the Pacific Northwest.”
Renée is tenacious in the courtroom and represents her clients with focus and determination. Her scope of jury trial experience includes:
- Defending an investment firm in an $80 million misappropriation of trade secrets case;
- Defending a claim of trade secret misappropriation and breach of non-compete agreement for a healthcare provider;
- Defending a patent infringement case involving canola oil;
- Trying a breach of lease and declaratory judgment action against a large regional hotel chain over a land and facility lease;
- Defending a $30 million claim for breach of an international aircraft lease;
- Establishing that a regional title company breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and
- Establishing that a retailer did not wrongfully terminate a marketing contract.
She is licensed to practice in California, Oregon and Washington and works in the biotechnology, aeronautics, software and e-commerce industries. She represents retailers and distributors of branded products, intellectual property creators and talent. She also represents professional service providers and elder care facility owners.
She is a former chair of the Business Litigation Section of the Oregon State Bar and, currently, serves on the Executive Committee for the Oregon State Bar’s Litigation Section where she is chair of the Continuing Legal Education programming subcommittee. She is a frequent speaker and author on litigation topics.
Representative Experience – Commercial
Breach of Contract
- Aviation company
Represented Columbia Helicopters in a case to enforce a contractual indemnity obligation involving the tragic death and maiming of 14 men when a helicopter operated by Carson Helicopters crashed in the Shasta National Forest during firefighting operations. She obtained a summary judgment ruling that required Carson to indemnify Columbia for defense costs associated with lawsuits arising from the crash. Carson appealed the ruling on its indemnity obligation and the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s opinion.
Columbia Helicopters, Inc. v. Carson Helicopters, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 6:08-cv-06415-AA
- Aviation company
Represented helicopter company against leading worldwide aircraft manufacturer in a breach of contract suit and obtained a favorable settlement.
Columbia Helicopters, Inc., et al. v. Boeing Company, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:06-cv-00482-HA
- Commercial landlord
Represented a commercial landlord in a two-week trial against a tenant arising out of a dispute over the meaning of provisions specifying methods for calculating rent for five-year lease terms. The jury returned a verdict in favor of her client and subsequently, the court entered an award of attorneys’ fees.
Hanna LP v. Windmills Inns of America, Inc., Douglas County Circuit Court Case No. 03CV-3903CC. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed 223 Or. App. 151, 194 P.3rd 874 (2008) and the case is cited often for principles of contract construction under Oregon law.
- National retailer
Represented Harry & David against IBM in a dispute involving its website software. During motion practice, she convinced an Oregon federal judge that, under New York law, Harry & David had a viable claim for fraud against IBM arising from its contractual indemnity obligations.
Harry & David Corporation v. IBM, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 1:08-cv-00235-PA
- Security company
Represented Sound Security, Inc., a large Pacific Northwest company and franchisee of The Stanley Work’s Sonitrol brand in a case for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violation of Washington State and Federal franchise laws. She led a multi-state team that conducted aggressive discovery and motion practice against Stanley which resulted in a settlement with Stanley on the eve of trial.
Sound Security, Inc. v. Sonitrol Corporation, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington Case No. 3:08-cv-05350-RBL
- Security company
Represented the plaintiff when shareholders and former employees disrupted the successful security credentialing business by suing them for breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with economic relationships and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Obtained a favorable settlement after summary judgment rulings.
Executive Security Management, Inc., et al. v. Jack Dahl, et. al., U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. 2:09-cv-09273-CAS-JEM
Defended a contractor during a two-week trial for negligence and nuisance arising from the construction of a drain system for a housing development. The jury found no negligence and a small percentage of fault for nuisance awarding a fraction of the $3 million sought.
Beebe v. Central Point Properties, LLC, Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed 201 Or.App. 733 122 P.3rd 143 (2005)
- LLC Management Committee
Defended the Management Committee members from breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of a lending company’s loans to real estate ventures. During discovery, she obtained testimony from one of the plaintiffs that his claims against her clients were not well founded because the Managers had acted prudently in managing the LLC. Obtained a favorable settlement.
Hubbard, Tarlow, Caruso, Cascade Investors v. OBBIV, LLC, Shires, Bayly, Gillison, Arbitration Service of Portland
- Corporate - 50% shareholder
Acted as trial counsel in a rare Oregon corporate valuation trial which pitted 50% shareholders against each other in a corporate takeover battle involving multiple wood remanufacturing companies valued at nearly $20 million before the dispute arose. After a two-week trial, she obtained a court ruling for her client that the companies were worth over 10 times what the company president had offered to pay for her client’s 50% share.
Lynn Meier, et al. v. John Taylor, et al., Linn County Circuit Court Case No. 08-3207
Defended Plaid Pantry in a case stemming from a hostile takeover attempt where use of the Oregon Control Share Act, ORS 60.801, formed the basis of claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. She obtained a dismissal of all claims against the client on summary judgment.
HLHZ Investments, LLC v. Plaid Pantries, Inc., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:06-cv-00797-KI
After a week-long trial, Ms. Rothauge obtained a non-dischargeability judgment for a construction company against a former executive who breached fiduciary duties and embezzled over $250,000.
United Services Associated, Inc. v. Lupo, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 08-6196-FRA
Representative Experience – Intellectual Property
Trade Secret and Unfair Competition
- Software developer
Defended an investment company accused of wrongfully assisting a software company’s misappropriation of trade secrets valued at $24 million. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a defense verdict.
Lezak v. Expand Cellular, et al., Multnomah County Circuit Court Case No. 0212-12947
- National retailer
Represented a national grill maker in a case against a former employee who started a competing business using Traeger’s trade secrets and trademarks.
Traeger Pellet Grills LLC v. The Pellet Grill Co.
Represented a co-defendant, biotechnology company executive, in a misappropriation of trade secrets claim which was settled 90 days after representation began with no payment made by the client.
PHL Associates, Inc., et al. v. Dale M. Wallis, et al., Sacramento County Superior Court Case No. 06072352
- National garden supply retailer
Defended a coiled hose seller sued by a large hose company and obtained a favorable summary judgment ruling that the term “coil hose” was descriptive and, therefore, the client was not liable for Lanham Act violations.
Coilhose Pneumatics, Incorporated v. Fast Forward Concepts, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:01-cv-01306-ST
- National retailer
Defended a manufacturer of herbal supplements by settling this trademark infringement case prior to a preliminary injunction without any payment by the client.
Herb Parm, Inc. v. Motherland Herb Pharm, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:97-cv-01332-FR
Represented a restaurant owner against a competitor for Lanham Act violations and, after discovery and a hearing, obtained a permanent injunction against the infringer prohibiting use of the confusingly similar restaurant name.
Miller’s Shady Oaks, Inc. v. Jonesburg, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 6:01-cv-06151-HO
- Biotechnology company
Represented AcryMed, a small, local biotech company, against ConvaTec and Bristol Myers in a case alleging patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. The case settled the day before trial for an eight figure cash settlement and other favorable remedies for AcryMed.
AcryMed, Inc., et al. v. ConvaTec, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:03-cv-00741-AS
- Biotechnology company
Acted as local trial counsel for a seed developer in a patent infringement case over canola seeds and a competitor’s attempt to monopolize the $50 billion trans fat-free food processing marketing. Patents were invalidated for inequitable conduct after a finding by the jury of material misrepresentation to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Cargill, Incorporated v. Canbra Foods, Ltd., et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:03-cv-01209-MO
- International equipment retailer
Represented Andritz against a competitor and a former employee in a lawsuit seeking damages for patent infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. She obtained a favorable confidential settlement for the client.
Andritz, Inc. v. Prue, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:05-cv-01866-HA
- Toy manufacturer and retailer
Defended a toy manufacturer accused of patent infringement and trademark infringement stemming from its sale of a line of flying toys. She obtained a favorable settlement during pre-trial mediation.
Zing Toys, Inc. and Steven Walterscheid v. Zuru, LLC, et al., U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:10-cv-00863-MO
- Alternative energy emerging company
Represented a fuel cell inventor from patent infringement claims by a competitor. During discovery, she obtained a ruling that the attorney-client privilege had been waived despite vigorous arguments by plaintiff. The opinion has since been cited frequently as an example of circumstances where privilege can be waived even when a stipulated protective order is in place. See The Legal Intelligencer “Federal Rule of Evidence 502: An Oft-Unopened Gift” www.Law.com, January 29, 2013.
ReliOn, Inc. v. Hydra Fuel Cell Corporation, U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Case No. 3:06-cv-00607-HU
- Advertising agency
Defended an advertising agency against copyright infringement claims that it had designed an infringing map. Obtained a favorable settlement.
Tourmap Company, Inc. v. Portland Visitors Map, LLC
Defended the author of children’s books in a copyright infringement lawsuit and obtained a favorable settlement after obtaining an order transferring the case from an unfavorable forum to Oregon.
Howard Schwartz v. Eric A. Kimmel
Defended a claim of copyright infringement relating to the Holyfield/Tyson boxing match.
King Vision Cable v. Kruger’s Restaurant