HOUSTON — A heavy marine company may amend its complaint to add a party in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit because the motion was filed within the timeframe provided and the company did not discover the extent of the party’s involvement in the alleged misappropriation until testimony during discovery, a federal judge in Texas ruled Feb. 14 in granting the motion (Orion Marine Construction Inc. v. Mark Coyle, et al., No. 17-0522, S.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24007).
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — A federal judge in Illinois on Feb. 12 granted a pipeline construction company’s motion for a preliminary injunction against a former employee alleged to have misappropriated the company’s trade secrets, enforcing the terms of the former employee’s 12-month restrictive covenant in his employment agreement and allowing for the company to conduct a forensic examination of his computers, data storage devices and iCloud account (Foltz Welding Ltd. v. Jeffrey Lauritzen, No. 17-1207, S.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22602).
CHICAGO — A commercial printing company has not shown that a former employee misappropriated its confidential and trade secret information in violation of state and federal law because none its of misappropriation claims pertains to actions performed by the former employee, a federal judge in Illinois ruled Feb. 10 in granting in part and denying in part the defendant’s motion to dismiss (The Segerdahl Corp. v. Anthony Ferruzza, et al., No. 17-3015, N.D. Ill., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22007).
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A company has properly pleaded each of the elements of its misappropriation of trade secrets claims under state and federal law, but its state law conversion and unjust enrichment claims are preempted by Virginia’s state trade secrets law, a federal judge in Virginia ruled Feb. 2 in substantially denying the competitor’s motion to dismiss (Space Systems/Loral LLC v. Orbital ATK Inc., No. 17-0025, E.D. Va., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17756).
PHILADELPHIA — A pharmaceutical company has shown that a former employee violated state and federal trade secrets law by providing the company’s confidential and trade secret information to its competitor, but it has failed to show that her actions were in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) because she had permission to access the information on the company’s computers, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled Jan. 30 in granting in part and denying in part motions to dismiss filed by defendants (Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. v. Barinder Sandhu, et al., No. 17-3031, E.D. Pa., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14470).
SAN DIEGO — A private fertility and surrogacy agency failed to show which defendant in a misappropriation of trade secrets case is liable and for what alleged violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), a federal judge in California ruled Jan. 31 in granting motions to dismiss filed by defendants in the action (Physician’s Surrogacy Inc. v. Kenia German, et al., No. 17-0718, S.D. Calif., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 135325).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Dismissal of several counterclaims in a breach of contract lawsuit is necessary because several of the counterclaims are preempted by Florida’s misappropriation of trade secrets statute, a federal judge in Florida ruled Feb. 7 in granting in part and denying in part a plaintiff’s motion to dismiss (Philip Pelfrey, et al. v. Kevin Mahaffy, et al., No. 17-80920, S.D. Fla., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 211114).
Waymo LLC and Uber Technologies Inc. on Feb. 9 agreed to settle their trade secrets misappropriation lawsuit, five days after the case went to trial on claims that a former Waymo employee stole the company’s trade secret information and provided it to Uber in violation of state and federal trade secrets law, according to federal judge in California’s order granting the parties’ stipulation of dismissal (Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies Inc., et al., No. 17-0939, N.D. Calif.).
SAN FRANCISCO — In a pair of Feb. 7 reply briefs, a man found guilty of federal computer fraud and trade secret misappropriation charges asks a California federal court to grant him a writ of coram nobis to reconsider his prison sentence, in light of subsequent trade secret theft carried out by his former employer, which was his purported victim (United States v. David Nosal, No. 3:08-cr-00237, N.D. Calif.).
By Laura A. Frase
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A pro se plaintiff in a theft of trade secret lawsuit against personal care products manufacturer Spectrum Brands Inc. has failed to plead his claims with any sort of specificity, making it impossible for a federal district court to determine whether the case was filed in the correct court, a federal judge in New York ruled Feb. 5 in dismissing with leave to amend (Donald Smith v. Spectrum Brands Inc., et al., No. 17-6989, E.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18652).
CHICAGO — A German bone cement manufacturer failed to timely appeal two rulings denying its motions to modify protective orders governing discovery and use of trade secret documents, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 1, also affirming denial of a third such motion and finding that a trial court used the proper standard in concluding that no good cause for modification exists (Heraeus Kulzer GmbH v. Biomet Inc., et al., No. 17-1674, 7th Cir, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 2588).
SALT LAKE CITY — A company’s former employee has failed to show that he is entitled to an award of attorney fees in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit brought by his former employer because he has failed to show that the company frivolously brought the suit against him and then dismissed it with prejudice, a federal judge in Utah ruled Jan. 31 in granting the company’s motions to voluntarily dismiss and for summary judgment (Vivint Inc. v. Craig Bailie, et al., No. 15-685, D. Utah, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16764).
NEW YORK — Software developer Doctor Evidence LLC (DRE) failed to show that science, technical and medical information provider Elsevier Inc., a company with which it engaged in a professional services agreement (PSA), misappropriated DRE’s trade secrets to develop its own competing software program because DRE failed to plead what trade secret information was allegedly misappropriated, a federal judge in New York ruled Jan. 23 in granting Elsevier’s motion to dismiss certain of DRE’s counterclaims (Elsevier Inc. v. Doctor Evidence LLC, No. 17-5540, S.D. N.Y., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10730).
SHERMAN, Texas — An expert’s opinions on the state of mind of defendants in a misappropriation of trade secrets suit and the legal definition of a trade secret are prohibited, although the expert’s remaining testimony, as well as that of a second expert regarding damages, is admissible, a Texas federal judge held Jan. 30 (Quintel Technology Ltd. v. Huawei Technologies USA, Inc., et al., No. 4:15-cv-307, E.D. Texas, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14485).
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri federal judge on Jan. 26 granted H&R Block Tax Services LLC’s motion for a temporary restraining order, enjoining a franchisee from continuing to violate noncompetition and nonsolicitation clauses in franchise agreements for the operation of tax services offices (H&R Block Tax Services LLC v. Juan Frias, No. 4:18-00053, W.D. Mo., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12914).
LOS ANGELES — A California federal judge on Jan. 29 refused to dismiss claims for violations of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (CUTSA), California’s unfair competition law (UCL) and other claims asserted by the inventor of a tele-audiology technology, who alleged that a California company and its German parent company copied her invention (Deborah M. Manchester, PH.D. v. Sivantos GMBH, et al., No. 2:17-CV-05309, C.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14108).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Chinese wind turbines manufacturer and exporter was convicted of stealing trade secrets from an American company with which it had contracted for more than $800 million, in products and services, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a Jan. 24 press release (United States of America v. Sinovel Wind Group Co., Ltd., No. 13-cr-0084, W.D. Wis.).
SEATTLE — An engineering consulting company has shown that there is a substantial likelihood that it will succeed on the merits of its breach of contract claim in a misappropriation of trade secrets lawsuit and will suffer irreparable harm if a temporary restraining order (TRO) is not granted, a federal judge in Washington ruled Jan. 24 in granting the company’s emergency motion for TRO (Digital Mentor Inc. v. Ovivo USA LLC, et al., No. 17-1935, W.D. Wash., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11707).
SAN DIEGO — A California federal judge on Jan. 18 ordered that a former employee of an energy products supplier provide supplemental discovery in relation to electronically stored information (ESI) but denied requests for sanctions filed by both parties for attorney fees (SolarCity Corp. v. Daniel Doria, No. 16-3085, S.D. Calif., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8286).