SALT LAKE CITY — Allegations that a counterclaim defendant interfered with a counterclaimant’s contractual rights and prospective business relations are sufficient to defeat the counterclaim defendant’s effort to invoke copyright preemption, a Utah federal judge ruled Feb. 21 (Advanced Recovery Systems LLC v. American Agencies LLC, No. 13-283, D. Utah, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24001).
AUSTIN, Texas — A hospital produced only “a scintilla of evidence” regarding communications that purportedly disclosed its trade secrets, which allegedly led to its failure, a Texas appeals panel ruled Feb. 17, finding no evidence of misappropriation or breach of contract by a competing hospital (Lakeway Regional Medical Center LLC, et al. v. Lake Travis Transitional LTCH LLC, et al., No. 03-15-00025, Texas App. 3rd Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1375).
NEW ORLEANS — Parties in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit asked the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recently to determine whether a federal district court erred in holding two former employees liable for misappropriating the company’s code for its high frequency trading platform (Quantlab Technologies Ltd. [BVI], et al. v. Andriy Kuharsky, et al., No. 16-20242, 5th Cir.).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on Feb. 10 partially granted and partially denied a motion to dismiss a trade secret misappropriation claim against Facebook Inc. and some of its affiliates, concluding that a claim under the Lanham Act was not valid, but that other claims for breach of contract were (Bladeroom Group Limited, et al. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 15-1370, N.D. Calif.).
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah federal jury on Feb. 2 awarded a maker of aircraft washing systems more than $5 million after finding that a competitor had misappropriated its trade secrets (Petter Investments, Inc. v. Hydro Engineering, Inc., et al., No. 2:14-cv-45, D. Utah).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — In conjunction with its pending motion for discovery to establish California jurisdiction over a former employee accused of trade secret violations, a Russian railcar company on Jan. 17 filed a proposed order in California federal court, permitting it to subpoena Google Inc. to obtain information about the defendant’s Gmail email account (OOO Brunswick Rail Management, et al. v. Richard Sultanov, et al., No. 5:17-cv-00017, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8374).
NEW YORK — A New York justice on Feb. 10 dismissed misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims against a division of a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company after finding that a rival company failed to show that a co-payment method it developed for purchasing prescriptions was a novel idea (PSKW, LLC v. McKesson Specialty Arizona, Inc., No. 602921/2007, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge in Alaska on Feb. 3 granted in part and denied in part motions for summary judgment by parties to a misappropriation of trade secrets suit, holding, among other things, that certain issues regarding the dispute between home alarm companies cannot support a claim of alleged Lanham Act violations (Security Alarm Financing Enterprises, L.P. v. Alder Holdings, LLC, et al., No. 13-cv-00102, D. Alaska).
FRESNO, Calif. — Wells Fargo Bank N.A.’s eviction policies and procedures are not trade secrets and are discoverable pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a federal judge in California ruled Feb. 7 in denying the bank’s motion for protective order (Brooke Noble v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., et al., No. 14-1963, E.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17988).
DALLAS — A Texas appeals panel on Feb. 15 affirmed a lower court’s denial of an elevator installer’s application for a temporary injunction in its lawsuit against its former employees, concluding that the record supports an implied finding that the information in question is not a trade secret pursuant to the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA) (Baxter & Associates, L.L.C. d/b/a Baxter Elevator v. D&D Elevators, Inc., et al., No. 05-16-00330-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 1352).
TAMPA, Fla.— A Florida federal judge on Feb. 16 granted judgment in favor of a boat maker, finding that customer information did not constitute a trade secret and that a reasonable jury could not find that it infringed on another company's trade dress when it manufactured an allegedly similar boat (Yellowfin Yachts Inc. v. Barker Boatworks, LLC, et al., No. 8:15-cv-990, M.D. Fla.; 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21745).
CINCINNATI — A federal judge in Ohio on Jan. 18 granted in part a third-party logistics provider’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that while the routing guides it used to ship steel made by AK Steel Corp. could be considered trade secrets, the identities of the carriers it used are not (AK Steel Corporation, et al. v. Pittsburgh Logistics Systems, Inc., No. 16-cv-1032, S.D. Ohio, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6875).
ATLANTA — A company that designs, manufactures and maintains security systems used on U.S. military bases may proceed with some of its claims that a competitor — that only maintains security systems — misappropriated proprietary information and used that information to win a bid for exclusive maintenance rights on the military bases, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Jan. 31 (Advantor Systems Corporation v. DRS Technical Services, Inc., et al., No. 15-14992, Advantor Systems Corporation, et al. v. DRS Technical Services, Inc., et al., No. 16-11273, 11th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1735).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In light of the “staggering scale” of evidence spoliation conducted by a polymer manufacturer that was the target of an investigation by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Feb. 15 upheld the commission’s imposition of discovery sanctions against the firm in the form of default judgment and an exclusion order (Organik Kimya Sav. Ve Tic., A.S., et al. v. U.S. International Trade Commission, et al., No. 15-1774 and 15-1833, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2623).
SAN FRANCISCO — A California federal judge on Feb. 14 granted Samsung’s motion to dismiss trade secret misappropriation claims in a lawsuit challenging the ownership of augmented reality technology, finding that these claims under California and New York law are barred by their respective statutes of limitations (GeoVector Corp. v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al., No. 16-02463, N.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20872).
HOUSTON — Two hydraulic fracturing companies on Feb. 13 filed a lawsuit in Texas federal court against a former employee, his wife and the company they formed, alleging that they are liable for “willful and malicious trade secret misappropriation under federal and state law,” as well as other breaches as part of a “fraudulent scheme” (Reveal Energy Inc., et al. v. Matthew A. Dawson, et al., No. 17-459, S.D. Texas).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The International Trade Commission (ITC) properly barred a Turkish company from importing products using opaque paint polymers into the United States for 25 years — the harshest sanction possible — as punishment for destroying computer evidence in violation of a discovery order in a misappropriation of trade secrets investigation, the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held Feb. 15 (Organik Kimya San ve Tic, A.S., et al. v. International Trade Commission, et al., Nos. 15-1774, 15-1833, Fed. Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 2623).
DETROIT — An automotive products company may largely proceed with its trademark action against a former business partner with which it has been feuding for more than a decade and whose counterclaims are largely time-barred and unsupported, a federal judge in Michigan held Jan. 23 (Ziebart International Corp. v. Z Technologies Corp. v. Pure Asphalt Co., No. 15-11745, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8527).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on Feb. 13 adopted a special master’s recommendation that the testimony of a certain expert should not be excluded from a trade secrets damages suit (MSC.Software Corporation v. Altair Engineering, Inc., et al., No. 07-cv-12807, E.D. Mich., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19733).
PASADENA, Calif. — A company raised material triable issues as to whether its customer lists and financial information qualify as trade secrets, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeal ruled Jan. 30 in an unpublished opinion that reversed in part summary judgment in favor of the defendant (Contemporary Services Corporation v. Landmark Event Staffing Services, Inc., et al. No. 14-56636, 9th Cir., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 1614).