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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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

DTSA Update: Alphabet and Google Accused of Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Under The DTSA

Posted in U.S. Litigation
In the highest-profile case filed to date under the recently enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act, Space Data has accused Alphabet and Google of misappropriation of trade secrets in the launch of their balloon-based wireless network code named Project Loon, in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Space… Continue Reading

Former Executives Seek Sanctions Against Company And Its Counsel For Alleged Failure To Disclose Insurance In Trade Secrets Dispute

Posted in U.S. Litigation
Former executives, who are accused of theft of confidential information, trade secrets, and other intellectual property, have asked a federal court to impose severe sanctions against their old employer and its counsel, including dismissal of the case, for their alleged failure to disclose the existence of insurance that could have covered the executives’ defense costs.… Continue Reading

When Customer Information Isn’t a Trade Secret – McCormack Auction Company, Inc. v. Hanks

Posted in U.S. Litigation
A California appeals court recently reversed a trial verdict that had found trade secrets in an auction house’s customer information. The case is notable because it demonstrates when customer information falls short of warranting trade-secret protection. Background The case McCormack Auction Company, Inc. v. Hanks involved a now-defunct auction house known as the McCormack Auction… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Issues First Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act Decision

Posted in Legislation & Policy, U.S. Litigation
The Texas Supreme Court on Friday issued its first decision interpreting the recently enacted Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), holding that a defendant’s corporate representative does not have an absolute right to remain in the courtroom while a plaintiff’s trade secrets are discussed.  In re M-I L.L.C. d/ba/ MI-Swaco, No. 14-1045 (Tex. Jan. 13,… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit Denies Rehearing En Banc on Question of ITC’s Jurisdiction Over Extraterritorial Trade Secret Misappropriation

Posted in U.S. Litigation
On Tuesday, the Federal Circuit decided, without opinion, not to take another look at the extraterritorial reach of Section 337 trade secret actions. As we reported in an earlier post, the ITC had issued an exclusion order against Chinese firm Sino Legend from importing tire resins based on misappropriated technology. Sino Legend appealed to the… Continue Reading

Court Enters World-Wide Permanent Injunction After $940 Million Jury Verdict

Posted in Cyberhacking, U.S. Litigation
Less than two weeks after Indian outsourcing giant Tata Consultancy Services got hit with a $940 million jury verdict, U.S. District Court Judge William Conley of the Western District of Wisconsin has now entered a world-wide permanent injunction against Tata. The jury award and injunctive relief are due to the Court and jury finding that… Continue Reading

Federal Trade Secrets Bill Headed to House Vote Wednesday

Posted in Data Protection, Legislation & Policy, U.S. Litigation
A federal civil cause of action for trade secrets misappropriation appears to be quickly becoming reality. Following the lead of the Senate, on Wednesday, April 20, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, S. 1890, without amendment. The bipartisan bill will now head to the full House of Representatives… Continue Reading

Federal Circuit to Decide if Rehearing En Banc Warranted in Section 337 Action Involving Extraterritorial Trade Secret Misappropriation

Posted in U.S. Litigation
The United States International Trade Commission argued that the Federal Circuit should deny rehearing en banc in a case involving trade secret misappropriation occurring overseas last week. At the ITC, SI Group, a Schenectady, NY company, accused Sino Legend, a Chinese firm, of misappropriating trade secrets related to SI’s process for making tackifier resins to… Continue Reading

$940 Million Jury Verdict in Trade Secret Case, for Now

Posted in Cyberhacking, U.S. Litigation
In an eye popping damages award that appears destined for review, a Wisconsin jury returned a verdict of $940 million against Tata Consultancy Services in a case trade secret misappropriation case brought by competitor Epic Systems. Indian outsourcing behemoth Tata was sued by Epic Systems, a privately held Wisconsin-based medical software company in Wisconsin federal… Continue Reading

Senate Unanimously Votes to Create Federal Civil Action for Trade Secrets Misappropriation

Posted in Data Protection, Legislation & Policy, U.S. Litigation
On Monday April 4, after remarks from the bill’s sponsors Orrin Hatch (R) Utah and Christopher Coons (D) Delaware, the Senate voted 87-0 in favor of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015, S. 1890. As we have previously reported, the Act will create a federal civil cause of action for trade secrets misappropriation, which… Continue Reading

Best Practices for Responding to Potential Trade Secret Theft

Posted in Criminal Prosecution, Cyberhacking, Data Protection, U.S. Litigation
Companies sometimes discover warning signs or clear activity of trade secret theft but do not know how to deal with the issue right away.  Whether it is a current employee who remotely accesses company trade secret information while on vacation, or a departing employee who conveniently failed to return a company laptop, that company may… Continue Reading