Trade Secrets Trends

Trade Secrets Trends

Analysis and commentary on the latest developments in trade secrets protection, disputes, and enforcement

Category Archives: U.S. Litigation

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Whistleblower or Trade Secret Thief?

Posted in U.S. Litigation
In June 2018, Tesla brought suit against a disgruntled former employee, Martin Tripp, for trade secret misappropriation. Tesla claims that Mr. Tripp hacked Tesla’s computer system, distributed its proprietary and confidential data to third parties, and distributed photographs and videos of Tesla’s manufacturing facility. In its complaint filed in a U.S. District Court in Nevada, Tesla… Continue Reading

When You Commit the Crime, Not Only Will You Do the Time, But You Will Also Pay the Fine

Posted in Asia, Criminal Prosecution, Trial & Verdicts, U.S. Litigation
In July 2018, U.S. District Judge James Patterson imposed a $59 million penalty against China’s largest wind-turbine firm, Sinovel Wind Group LLC (“Sinovel”), for stealing trade secrets from a Massachusetts-based technology company, American Superconductor Inc. (“AMSC”). This fine was imposed as restitution to the American company, AMSC, after Sinovel was found guilty of stealing trade… Continue Reading

Everything (including Trade Secrets Damages Awards) is bigger in Texas

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On March 15, 2018, HouseCanary, a data-analytics startup, was awarded $706 million in damages by a jury in Texas in its lawsuit against Title Source, an affiliate of Quicken Loans. The jury found Title Source misappropriated trade secrets including HouseCanary’s technology and appraisal analytics and breached both confidentiality and other agreements between the parties. While Title… Continue Reading

Theft of Jawbone Trade Secrets: Individuals Facing Criminal Charges After a Finding of No Civil Liability

Posted in Criminal Prosecution, U.S. Litigation
On June 14, 2018, six former and current Fitbit employees were indicted in the Northern District of California for alleged federal trade secrets offenses. The individuals are accused of either stealing market research regarding fitness tracker opportunities from Jawbone, or stealing internal studies – including a comparison study of consumer behavior in which consumers wore… Continue Reading

No Malice Shown in Texas Trade Secret Misappropriation Case

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On April 19, a divided Texas appellate panel reversed a jury’s $4.5 million award of exemplary damages, finding no evidence of malice in a hydraulic fracturing trade secret misappropriation case. Shale Exploration, an independent Oil and Gas Exploration company, accused Eagle Oil & Gas of breaching a confidentiality agreement and engaging in theft of trade secrets (Shale’s… Continue Reading

District Court Grants Immunity under the Defend Trade Secrets Act

Posted in Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), U.S. Litigation
In what is likely the first case of its kind, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a counterclaim for infringement of trade secrets, which the pharmaceutical company Lanett brought in the context of a wrongful termination suit initiated by a former employee. The Defend Trade Secrets Act was passed… Continue Reading

North Carolina Supreme Court Raises the Barre on Pleading Requirements in Statutory Trade Secrets Cases

Posted in U.S. Litigation
In Krawiec v. Manly, owners of a ballroom dance studio sued two former employees pursuant to a non-compete clause in their employment contracts. The plaintiffs claimed their former employees began working at a competing dance studio where they shared “original ideas and concepts for dance productions, marketing strategies and tactics, as well as student, client and… Continue Reading

Facebook Settles $300+ Million Data Center Trade Secrets Case in the Middle of Trial

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On Monday, April 9, Facebook settled a trade secrets case brought against it in California federal court by BladeRoom Group Limited. BladeRoom, a data center construction company, alleged that Facebook had used and divulged its trade secrets, specifically its methodology regarding efficient construction and implementation of pre‑fabricated data centers. BladeRoom had first presented to the social network… Continue Reading

PharMerica Learns the Hard Way: One Must Have a Trade Secret In Order to Survive a Motion for Summary Judgment

Posted in U.S. Litigation
PharMerica Corporation (“PharMerica”) is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky that provides institutional and hospital pharmacy services throughout the United States.  The company filed a lawsuit in September 2016 in the Federal District Court of Pennsylvania alleging several employment and tort-related claims, and claims of misappropriation of Trade Secrets under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade… Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Judge Throws Out Pharmaceutical Trade Secrets Lawsuit

Posted in U.S. Litigation
A Pennsylvania federal judge grants Ex-PharMerica Executive’s motion for summary judgment. PharMerica, a company that provides long-term care pharmacy services to organizations such as senior living communities, filed suit against ex-executive Lena Sturgeon and two other ex-PharMerica employees in September 2016. A decision on defendant’s motion for summary judgment was released on March 16, 2018. The… Continue Reading

IBM v. Microsoft, Part II: Decision Suggests Diversity Data May Be a Trade Secret

Posted in Non-Competes, U.S. Litigation
As first reported in a C&M Trade Secrets Blog Post last week, IBM filed a lawsuit in New York federal district court in early February against Microsoft’s newly hired diversity executive, Lindsay-Rae McIntyre. Ms. McIntyre had been at IBM more than 20 years, finishing her employment as its Chief Diversity Officer. She also signed a one-year non-compete and… Continue Reading

Extending the Scope of a Search: Searching iCloud Storage

Posted in Data Protection, U.S. Litigation
On November 2, 2017, Foltz Welding LTD filed a motion for preliminary injunction against its former employee and operations manager in the United Stated District Court Southern District of Illinois. The company filed a nine-count complaint against its former employee and requested injunctive relief and damages. Foltz Welding claimed that the former employee may have… Continue Reading

When You Do the Crime, You Must Do the Time

Posted in Asia, U.S. Litigation
Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. (“Sinovel”) was convicted on January 24, 2018 for stealing trade secrets from AMSC, a U.S. based company. In March 2011, Sinovel, a manufacturer and exporter of wind turbines based in the People’s Republic of China, contracted with AMSC to sell more than $800 million in products and services for its… Continue Reading

A Trade Secret Telenovela: Defendants Alleged to Have Misappropriated Trade Secrets, Engage in Tortious Interference, and Unfair Trade Practices

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Earlier this month, Sunbelt, a North Carolina Corporation, filed a federal lawsuit against Vortex companies and Vortex Turnkey Solutions (hereinafter named “Vortex”) alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, tortious interference, and unfair trade practices. In a case of follow the “footprints,” Sunbelt alleges that Vortex, through a serious of events, “willingly accepted information from Ghent, a… Continue Reading

Advanced Video: Time to Check Your Agreement Provisions

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On January 11, 2018, the Federal Circuit issued a game-changing decision that addressed the pitfalls of an entity’s attempt to secure the ownership of intellectual property rights through an employment agreement. The Court held that three different provisions that the employer argued effected an assignment of intellectual property rights were not sufficient to convey those… Continue Reading

Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal Affirms Decision to Produce Uber’s Airport Business Reports

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Uber continues to find itself in the midst of trade secret-related controversy. Last Wednesday, the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s decision in ordering Broward County to produce redacted monthly Uber reports to Yellow Cab. These monthly reports contain information regarding the number of pickups and drop-offs, time stamps, latitude and… Continue Reading

Waymo Rings in the New Year with Accusation of Discovery Abuse against Competitor Uber

Posted in U.S. Litigation
In the most recent installment of the long running saga between Waymo and Uber over autonomous vehicle technology, Waymo has accused Uber of intentionally withholding evidence from discovery. Specifically, Waymo alleges that Uber failed to produce a letter of resignation from its former Global Intelligence Manager, Richard Jacobs. Waymo asserts that the letter is “[e]vidence… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects CFAA Appeal by Power Ventures against Facebook

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On October 10, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari challenging the Ninth Circuit’s holding that Power Ventures, Inc. had violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) by accessing Facebook user accounts. Power provided a platform whereby its members could access their various social media accounts in one place.  Power received… Continue Reading

Trial Experts Must Pick a Lane – Source Code Expert Disqualified for Switching from Neutral Evaluator to Witness in StubHub Trade Secrets Matter

Posted in U.S. Litigation
In the hotly contested case of Calendar Research LLC v. StubHub, Inc. et al., which is venued in the Central District of California, the plaintiff alleges misappropriation of trade secrets. Recently, the federal judge overseeing the litigation ruled that a source code expert, who had served very early in the litigation as a neutral evaluator for… Continue Reading

Can Your Non Compete Agreement Be Invalidated Based on Wage-and-Hour Violations? One Appellate Court Says Yes.

Posted in Non-Competes, U.S. Litigation
In addition to federal and state‑specific hurdles facing employers who wish to utilize non‑compete agreements, the Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court has provided a warning to employers across the country that those agreements can be stricken for seemingly unrelated employment issues. On September 22, 2017, in the case of SpaceAge Consulting Corp. v. Maria… Continue Reading

Another Case on the Intersection of Criminal and Civil Trade Secret Claims

Posted in Criminal Prosecution, U.S. Litigation
“Ex-DuPont Worker Wins Discovery Stay In Trade Secrets Suit,” an article published earlier today by Law360, cites Crowell & Moring Partner, Mike Songer, as DuPont’s counsel in E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. v. Anchi Hou et al., 1:17-cv-00224 (D. Del). The case involves both a civil proceeding and a related criminal case, and the… Continue Reading

Waymo v. Uber: An Update on the Ongoing Trade Secret Dispute

Posted in Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), U.S. Litigation
Waymo’s recently filed case against Uber continues to unfold with some potentially important developments.  The case, which began in late February when Waymo (which shares a corporate parent with Google) accused Uber of misappropriation of trade secrets under the DTSA, patent infringement, and unfair business practices (covered by this blog here) had three recent decisions… Continue Reading