Mealey's Trade Secret

  • January 23, 2020

    Magistrate: Counterclaims In Trade Secrets Dispute Should Be Dismissed

    PITTSBURGH — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on Jan. 14 recommended dismissing counterclaims brought by a former employee of the maker of equipment for steel manufacturing, finding that the man lacked standing to bring a claim for tortious interference with business relationships and that claims for declaratory judgment with respect to two patents should be litigated in federal court in Indiana (New Berry Inc. v. Todd G. Smith, No. 18-CV-1024, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6510).

  • January 23, 2020

    Unfair Competition Claim Found Not Preempted By Arizona Trade Secret Law

    PHOENIX — A federal judge in Arizona on Jan. 22 ruled that dismissal of a software company’s unfair competition claim against an airline company in a lawsuit stemming from the defendant’s alleged breach of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) during a request for proposal (RFP) process is unnecessary, rejecting the airline company’s argument that the claim is preempted by Arizona’s uniform trade secrets law (TLX Inc. v. JetBlue Airways Corp., No. 19-4734, D. Ariz., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10323).

  • January 23, 2020

    Robotics Company Hits Business Partner With Trade Secret Misappropriation Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A robotics technology company sued its former business partner in California federal court on Jan. 22, alleging that the defendant has misappropriated its trade secret information related to its autonomous robot technology in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and breached the terms of a licensing agreement to which the parties entered to market and sell a water drone vehicle (Apium Inc. v. Aquabotix Technology Corp., No. 20-619, C.D. Calif.).

  • January 22, 2020

    Judge Finds Application Developer’s Trade Secrets Suit Untimely

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Jan. 16 awarded summary judgment to Bloomberg Finance L.P., Bloomberg L.P., and Bloomberg Inc. (collectively, Bloomberg) in a lawsuit brought by the developer of an application for assessing investor sentiments by analyzing social media posts under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (DTSA), ruling that the action was barred by the one-year statute of limitations that was contained in a developer agreement executed by the parties in 2014 (iSentium LLC v. Bloomberg Finance L.P., et al., No. 17-cv-7601, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7808).

  • January 14, 2020

    9th Circuit Upholds Bankruptcy Court’s Ruling Over Trade Secrets Dispute

    PASADENA, Calif. — A Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Jan. 9 affirmed a federal judge’s decision to uphold a bankruptcy court’s judgement in favor of Sotera Wireless Inc., holding that the court did not err when finding that a competing company’s marketing technique was not a trade secret and when awarding damages based on Sotera’s limited use of documents containing trade secrets (In re:  Sotera Wireless Inc., No. 18-56331, 9th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 1011).

  • January 14, 2020

    Bankers Sued Over Alleged Misappropriation Of Commercial Banking Information

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A community bank and its parent company sued several former employees of the bank’s commercial banking division and an industry competitor in Florida federal court on Jan. 10, alleging that the defendants engaged in a scheme to misappropriate confidential customer information prior to a mass resignation and use that information to compete with the bank in violation of state and federal trade secret laws (Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida, et al. v. Matthew Diemer, et al., No. 20-0057, M.D. Fla.).

  • January 14, 2020

    Judge Declines To Extend, Expand Preliminary Injunction In Trade Secret Lawsuit

    NEW YORK — A federal judge in New York on Jan. 6 denied a company operating in the expert network industry’s motion to extend a preliminary injunction and to expand the preliminary injunction’s scope in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit stemming from an alleged scheme concocted by former employees of the company to misuse trade secrets they obtained while working for the company to form a competing company (ExpertConnect LLC v. Mayokia Fowler, et al., No. 18-4828, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2360).

  • January 13, 2020

    Advertising Network Trade Secret Complaint Dismissed As ‘Shotgun Pleading’

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Jan. 9 denied a motion to dismiss in an advertising network’s trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a former employee and industry competitor as moot, ruling that the network’s complaint is a “classic shotgun pleading” (Spigot Inc., et al. v. Jeremy M. Hoggatt, et al., No. 18-764, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3552).

  • January 10, 2020

    Mandamus Petition In Trade Secret Dispute Against Attorney Rejected

    CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 20 denied an emergency petition for writ of mandamus filed by a client of two law firms formerly worked at by an attorney who later filed a pair of lawsuits against the client, rejecting the client’s request that the panel compel a federal district court to vacate two orders it handed down and to compel the forensic imaging and search of the attorney’s computers and cellular phones pursuant to a suggested protocol (In re:  FCA US LLC, No. 19-1923, 6th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 38167).

  • January 10, 2020

    Trade Secret Misappropriation Lawsuit Transferred To ‘More Convenient’ Venue

    HOUSTON — A federal judge in Texas on Dec. 20 ruled that all private factors weigh in favor of transfer of a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract lawsuit brought by a provider of integrated industrial safety services to the petrochemical refining, pipeline and industrial sectors against a former employee to another division within the district (Total Safety, et al. v. Alicia Knox, No. 19-2718, S.D. Texas, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220530).

  • January 10, 2020

    Summary Judgment Ruling In Trade Secrets Dispute Upheld On Appellate Review

    SEATTLE — In an unpublished opinion, a Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Dec. 23 ruled that a federal district court judge did not err in granting a summary judgment motion in favor of defendants in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit brought by a seller of steel and PVC piping and related accessories against a former sales representative and his wife but that the judge’s award of attorney fees to the defendants was improper (RJB Wholesale Inc. v. Jeffrey Castleberry, et al., No. 18-35916, 9th Cir., 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 38232).

  • January 10, 2020

    Judge Orders Forensic Inspection Of Laptop Connected To Trade Secret Suit

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — A federal judge in South Carolina on Dec. 23 ruled that the owner and operator of a merchandise trade statistics database is entitled to inspect and copy a forensic image of a former consultant’s laptop computer as part of discovery in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit (IHS Global Limited, et al. v. Trade Data Monitor LLC, et al., No. 18-1025, D. S.C., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220327).

  • January 09, 2020

    Sufficient Claims In Scanner Developer’s Trade Secret Suit Survive Dismissal Bid

    BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on Jan. 7 ruled that a producer and seller of hand-held x-ray scanners used by law enforcement and security professionals sufficiently pleaded claims against a former employee and direct competitor in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit alleging that the former employee misappropriated the company’s trade secrets for an imaging device to develop a competing product after leaving the company and forming the competing business (Viken Detection Corp. v. Videray Technologies Inc., et al., No. 19-10614, D. Mass. 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2138).

  • January 08, 2020

    Injunction Properly Granted In Franchisor’s Trade Secret Suit, Judge Rules

    YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — A federal judge in Ohio on Jan. 6 declined to dissolve a preliminary injunction previously put in place in a franchisor’s breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a franchisee and others, rejecting a defendant’s argument that the injunction was improvidently granted and that another judge failed to address issues surrounding the noncompetition provisions of the parties’ franchise agreement (Handel’s Enterprises Inc. v. Kenneth S. Schulenburg, et al., No. 18-3596, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1185).

  • January 07, 2020

    Judge: Company Failed To Show That Target Customer Profiles Were Trade Secrets

    SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge in Utah on Jan. 2 ruled that dismissal of claims in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract lawsuit against the former marketing director of a cellular signal booster technology manufacturer and one of its industry competitors is necessary because the company failed to meet the required pleading standards in alleging that the defendants misappropriated confidential and proprietary target consumer profiles (Wilson Electronics LLC v. CellPhone-Mate Inc., et al., No. 18-78, D. Utah, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 769).

  • January 07, 2020

    Cancer Treatment Device Maker Sues Competitor For Trade Secret Misappropriation

    CONCORD, N.H. — A cancer treatment technology developer sued a competitor in New Hampshire federal court on Jan. 2, alleging that the competitor misappropriated the developer’s trade secret and patented information to develop a copycat medical device used in the treatment of diagnosis of cancer, in particular, advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (TheraBionic Inc. v. Autem Medical LLC, No. 20-02, D. N.H.).

  • January 03, 2020

    Injunctive Relief Pending Appeal Denied In Mobile Application Trade Secret Suit

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on Dec. 30 rejected an automotive-related live call, email, chat and texting services provider’s motion for emergency injunction pending appeal of the denial of its motion for preliminary injunction in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, ruling that the plaintiff has not sufficiently shown that it will succeed on appeal (ActivEngage Inc. v. Todd L. Smith, No. 19-1638, M.D. Fla., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 222899).

  • January 03, 2020

    Cleaning, Remediation Company Hits Former Employee With Trade Secret Suit

    HOUSTON — An Italian operator of industrial cleaning, remediation and specialty chemicals business and its American subsidiary sued a former employee, direct competitor and others on Jan. 2 in Texas federal court, alleging that the defendants misappropriated their confidential and proprietary “online cleaning” technology to compete with the plaintiffs in violation of state and federal trade secret laws (ITW S.R.L., et al. v. Justin Weatherford, et al., No. 20-3, S.D. Texas).

  • December 24, 2019

    Counts In Trade Secret Theft Criminal Suit Survive Dismissal Attempt

    SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on Dec. 19 ruled that dismissal of an aiding and abetting theft of trade secrets claim against a defendant in a theft of trade secrets criminal action is not warranted because the claim does not suffer from duplicity as the defendant alleged (United States of America v. Xanthe Lam, et al., No. CR 18-00527, N.D. Calif., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 219292).

  • December 20, 2019

    Judge Rejects Acquittal Bid By Defendant In Trade Secret Theft Suit

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal judge in the District of Columbia on Dec. 17 ruled that government prosecutors presented sufficient evidence at the trial of a businessman with ties to a Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC) marine technology company who was charged with theft of trade secrets from an American competitor in the marine technology industry to support his conviction on the charge (United States v. Shan Shi, et al., No. 17-110[CRC], D. D.C.).