William K. Kane

Partner

Chicago
T 312.416.6211  |  F 312.416.6251

Bill Kane focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and government controversy. He approaches business disputes in a pragmatic way when possible and in the court room when necessary. Bill provides advice regarding regulatory, corporate governance, and media/entertainment issues. He has significant experience in representing clients who are in need of emergency injunctive relief for trade secret theft and unfair business competition. Bill's commercial litigation experience is as noteworthy as it is varied. He aims to always bring a creative approach to a legal dispute for his client's advantage.

Bill served in the Illinois Attorney General's office for five years, litigating cases on behalf of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of state government before U.S. District Courts, state courts, and administrative agencies. While an Assistant Attorney General, Bill handled numerous regulatory matters for the Illinois Department of Insurance, Illinois Department of Financial Institutions, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, Illinois Capital Development Board, and the Illinois Office of Banks & Trusts. Bill's public law cases also included constitutional law issues and matters involving the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, which were the focus of the National Association of Attorney Generals. Bill's experience as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General brings a unique perspective for clients faced with regulatory enforcement activities and for guidance in understanding a quickly changing regulatory landscape.

Select Experience

Complex Commercial Litigation
  • In 2002, successfully applied the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to obtain emergency injunctive relief in U.S. District Court against a group of rogue employees engaged in corporate espionage. Early use of the CFAA in a trade secrets controversy was later ratified in another case that was handled four years later. In International Airports v. Jacob Citrin, 440 F. 3d 418 (7th Cir. 2006), effectively applied the CFAA to establish federal decisional law supporting the CFAA’s application in a trade secrets case.
Regulatory/Government Controversy
  • As a member of the BakerHostetler Hedge Fund team, is focused on the emerging rules from the CFTC governing the global commodities, derivatives, and futures industry in Chicago stemming from the Dodd Frank Act, which ushered in a wave of new, intricate regulations for the once unregulated hedge fund and commodities industry.
Media/Entertainment
  • Represented the Estate of Kevin McClory regarding its copyright interests in the James Bond film franchise. Fifty-year dispute involved joint authorship rights with Ian Fleming in the 1959 film scripts for the first intended James Bond feature film, Thunderball. Confidential settlement was reached in 2013 transferring the Estate's intellectual property rights to Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, UK based EON Productions Ltd., and James Bond films producer Danjaq LLC. The representation attracted worldwide media coverage.
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Experience

Complex Commercial Litigation
  • In 2002, successfully applied the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to obtain emergency injunctive relief in U.S. District Court against a group of rogue employees engaged in corporate espionage. Early use of the CFAA in a trade secrets controversy was later ratified in another case that was handled four years later. In International Airports v. Jacob Citrin, 440 F. 3d 418 (7th Cir. 2006), effectively applied the CFAA to establish federal decisional law supporting the CFAA's application in a trade secrets case.
  • Responding to an overzealous approach to trade secret action against a client, pioneered a never-before established privacy claim under Illinois law—intrusion upon the seclusion of another. Lawsuit drafted asserted the claim was the subject of a battery of pretrial motions to dismiss. In 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the complaint, establishing the privacy claim for the first time in Illinois history. Lawlor v. North American Corporation, 983 N.E. 2d 414 (2012).
  • In what would have otherwise been a common variety contractual claim against a bankrupt sub-contractor on a public works project, overturned 57 years of precedent in West Virginia to bring client a financial win. Preussag International Steel Corp. v. March-Westin, 221 W.Va. 472 (2007).
  • Bill prosecuted claims in U.S. District Court under a stock purchase agreement following a merger and acquisition of a private equity portfolio company by an international holding corporation. The claim involved several million dollars and was resolved through a confidential settlement.
  • Successfully defended a mutual fund portfolio manager against multimillion-dollar claims of trade secret theft related to alleged proprietary capital models.
Regulatory/Government Controversy
  • Has significant experience in advising on unfair competition issues, including state consumer fraud act legislation as applied to business practices.
  • Conducts internal investigations in response to regulatory enforcement actions or in anticipation of them.
  • As a member of the BakerHostetler Hedge Fund team, is focused on the emerging rules from the CFTC governing the global commodities, derivatives, and futures industry in Chicago stemming from the Dodd Frank Act, which ushered in a wave of new, intricate regulations for the once unregulated hedge fund and commodities industry.
Media/Entertainment
  • Experience is concentrated in litigation and advisory assistance in licensing and copyright, royalties, and corporate matters.
  • Represented the Estate of Kevin McClory regarding its copyright interests in the James Bond film franchise. Fifty-year dispute involved joint authorship rights with Ian Fleming in the 1959 film scripts for the first intended James Bond feature film, Thunderball. Confidential settlement was reached in 2013 transferring the Estate's intellectual property rights to Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, UK based EON Productions Ltd., and James Bond films producer Danjaq LLC. The representation attracted worldwide media coverage.
  • Participated in representation of an international media mogul in a corporate shareholder dispute in Chicago involving allegations of corporate wrongdoing, breach of fiduciary duty, and corporate governance issues related to a media holding corporation.
  • Has provided representation for royalty and licensing advice and controversy resolution on behalf of musical recording artists and authors.

Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    • Antitrust Section
    • International Law Section
    • Litigation Section
  • Illinois Bar Association
    • Litigation Section
    • Corporate & Securities Section
  • Chicago Bar Association

Community

  • Lurie Children's Hospital: Foundation Board Member
  • Cabrini Connections (nationally recognized tutor/mentor organization for disadvantaged inner city high school youth, established to supplement the urban public education experience)
    • Advisory Member
    • former Board Member

Services

Industries

Prior Positions

  • Illinois Attorney General's Office: Assistant Attorney General (1986 to 1991)

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2005
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 2004
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar, 1986
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1986
  • Illinois, 1986

Education

  • J.D., John Marshall Law School, 1986
  • B.S., Business Administration - Finance, Miami University, 1982