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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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

The First DTSA Verdict: $500,000 for Misappropriation of a Fig Spread Recipe

Posted in Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), Legislation & Policy, U.S. Litigation
In less than a year from its enactment, the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) has now yielded its first jury verdict with a victory for the Florida-based company Dalmatia Import Group, Inc. The center of controversy revolved around a gourmet fig spread made with a secret recipe and process.  The jury returned a $500,000 award… Continue Reading

Waymo v. Otto: Self-Driving and Self-Dealing

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Last week, Waymo LLC (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc.) filed suit in the Northern District of California against Uber Technologies, Inc. and Otto Trucking LLC for misappropriation of trade secrets, patent infringement, and unfair business practices. The case is sure to become one of the first high-profile cases alleging claims under the… Continue Reading

Oculus: Looks Like Trade Secret Theft

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On February 1, 2017, a Texas jury awarded Zenimax $500 million following trial in Zenimax’s longstanding dispute with Oculus, the creators of the Oculus Rift virtual reality system. Zenimax and Oculus had initially worked together on the Oculus Rift, with Zenimax programmer John Carmack (a well-known figure in the video game industry) working with Oculus… Continue Reading

Not So Fast: Ex-Goldman Sachs Employee’s Conviction For Stealing Source Code Reinstated

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Yesterday, an intermediate New York State appellate court, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, reinstated the conviction of an Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer, Sergey Aleynikov. At issue here are allegations that Mr. Aleynikov violated the New York penal code by copying source code for a proprietary high frequency trading… Continue Reading

Flash Crash Fears Subvert Trade Secret Protection of Source Code

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On November 4, 2016, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission approved a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking concerning its access to algorithmic trading source code in a 2-1 vote. The supplemental notice amends proposed Regulation AT and outlines a new mechanism by which the CFTC can obtain the source code and related records of the… Continue Reading

Chinese Company Challenges ITC’S Authority Over Trade-Secret Theft Occurring Outside the United States

Posted in U.S. Litigation
About 5 years ago, the Federal Circuit held that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) had the power to adjudicate trade-secret theft occurring wholly overseas. The case was TianRui Group Co. Ltd. v. ITC, 661 F.3d 1322 (Fed. Cir. 2011), and we blogged about it here. That decision is now under attack. Last week a… Continue Reading

Space Race Starts Anew as Virgin Galactic Files Trade Secrets Claims Against Rival

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Virgin Galactic (“Galactic” or the “Company”), the sub-orbital space flight arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin empire, filed suit last week against competing space flight company Firefly Systems, Inc. (“Firefly”) and two of its officers, alleging that Firefly misappropriated its  trade secrets and confidential information. The lawsuit is the latest salvo in an on-going battle (or… Continue Reading

Government Contractor Argues the Insider Threat

Posted in Data Protection, U.S. Litigation
Last week, government contractor Advanced Fluid Systems Inc. wrapped up its summary judgment briefing in a case loaded with trade secrets trends.  In June, Advanced sought summary judgment in the Middle District of Pennsylvania on its claims for misappropriation of trade secrets, and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.  Advanced had sued a former… Continue Reading

No Soup for You! Panera Sues Papa John’s and Former Exec for Trade Secret Theft

Posted in Non-Competes, U.S. Litigation
Last month, Panera, the sandwich company perhaps best known for its “You-Pick-Two”® soup-salad-sandwich offering, brought suit under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) against Michael Nettles, a former Panera executive who left the bread bowl purveyor for employment with Papa Johns. In its suit, Panera alleges that Nettles breached his employment agreement (which specifically identified… Continue Reading

United States v. Nosal: Keep Your Friends Close, but Your Passwords Even Closer

Posted in Criminal Prosecution, Data Protection, U.S. Litigation
On July 5, 2016, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the conviction of David Nosal, an ex-employee of Korn/Ferry, an executive search firm, who left to start a competing firm. With Nosal’s knowledge and encouragement, two other former employees of Korn/Ferry used a current employee’s credentials to gain access to the Korn/Ferry database and take confidential information.… Continue Reading