• Universite de Kubenhaven – Copenhagen, Denmark, studied (1987)
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.S. (1988)
  • University of Southern California, Gould School of Law, J.D. (1995)

Michelle Gillette is a retired partner in Crowell & Moring's San Francisco office. She was head of the firm's Food & Personal Care Products Industry Practice and a member of the firm's Product Risk Management Group. She was an accomplished trial lawyer whose practice was focused on representing emerging and established companies in litigation in federal and California state courts, with an emphasis on defending food, cosmetics, and retail companies in lawsuits involving false or misleading advertising, product liability, unfair competition, unfair business practices, trade secrets, torts, breach of contract, and patent infringement.

Michelle successfully defended clients in class actions alleging false or misleading labeling or advertising of foods, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and homeopathic products. These lawsuits focused on "natural" claims, "clinically-proven" results, lack of efficacy, lack of substantiation, and failure to disclose. Michelle was highly experienced with state consumer protection statutes, known as "baby Federal Trade Commission Acts," as well as California's own consumer protection statutes, such as the Unfair Competition Law (Business & Professions Code sec. 17200), False Advertising Law (Business & Professions Code sec. 17500), Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Proposition 65, grocery industry pricing laws, and slack-fill claims; as well as federal statutes such as the Lanham Act, Magnuson-Moss Act, and "Made in USA" claims. She provided advice, risk management, trade secret protection, labeling compliance advice, and product liability risk assessments in addition to litigation.

Specific to products liability, Michelle served companies by navigating the intersection of law and science in claims against manufacturers and distributors of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. As mass tort litigation typically involves complex scientific or medical evidence and requires sophisticated knowledge at each step in the process, Michelle helped navigate this area both before and after these issues reach a jury. She was adept at examining expert witnesses, bringing Daubert and state law-equivalent motions for exclusion of evidence, and helping the judge and jury understand the complex issues that must be decided.

Specific to patent litigation, Michelle represented emerging and established companies in various U.S. federal courts and the International Trade Commission, and handled disputes involving a broad range of technologies, including smart TVs, data storage, access, and synchronization; music recognition and downloads; encryption and copy protection; and software, hardware, and computer peripherals.


Professional Activities and Memberships

American Bar Association Food and Supplements Committee, American Bar Association Product Liability Committee, DRI, California Women Lawyers, ProVisors, Association for Corporate Growth, Leading Women in Technology’s WilPower Group, Cosmetic Executive Women.