RALEIGH, N.C. — A company that installs and maintains electrical transmission and distribution power lines has sufficiently pleaded its claim for trade secret misappropriation pursuant to North Carolina law with the required particularity in alleging that a former employee improperly removed the company's trade secret before his resignation and subsequent acceptance of employment with an industry competitor, a federal judge in North Carolina ruled July 13 (Volt Power LLC v. William "Billy" Butts, et al., No. 19-149, E.D. N.C., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124402).
CINCINNATI — Parties in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit stemming from a failed business partnership recently asked a Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel to determine whether a federal district court erred in granting a preliminary injunction that enjoins a medical device maker's former business associates based in China from conducting a number of actions both in the United States and China (AtriCure Inc. v. Meng, et al., No. 20-3264, 6th Cir.).
SAN FRANCISCO — Government prosecutors and a former Google LLC engineer who pleaded guilty to one charge of trade secret theft in connection with his alleged theft of self-driving automobile technology trade secret information from his former employer and misappropriation of the trade secrets in forming a competing company that was later purchased by Uber Technologies Inc. offered differing suggestions for the punishment to be doled out to the defendant in sentencing memoranda filed July 28 in California federal court (United States v. Anthony Scott Levandowski, No. 19-cr-377, N.D. Calif.).
CINCINNATI — A Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on July 27 ruled that a federal district court did not abuse its discretion in granting a preliminary injunction in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed by a medical device maker against former business associates based in China because the district court's ruling sufficiently meets each of the four factors necessary to show that staying the injunction pending appeal is not warranted (AtriCure Inc. v. Meng, et al., No. 20-3264, 6th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 23763).
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge in California on July 24 ruled that a home design website developer has sufficiently cured pleading deficiencies relating to its state and federal trade secret law claims made against Facebook Inc. and one of its affiliates and Princeton University in connection with the defendants' alleged scraping of digital information from its website (UAB "Planner5D" v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 3:20-cv-02198, N.D. Calif.).
TRENTON, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on July 23 substantially denied a motion to dismiss filed by an online auction solutions provider's founder and former owner and a competing company that he formed in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, rejecting the defendants' argument that the plaintiff failed to sufficiently specify what confidential and proprietary information the founder is alleged to have misappropriated when he formed the competing online auction business (Sandhills Global Inc. v. Lawrence Garafola, et al., No. 19-20669, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130674).
BOSTON — A federal district court erred in finding that defendants in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract lawsuit brought by a tax planning and consulting firm were liable for trade secret misappropriation because the plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead the existence of a trade secret, a First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled July 21 (TLS Management and Marketing Services LLC v. Ricky Rodriguez-Toledo, et al., No. 19-1104, 1st Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 22732).
NEW YORK — An advisory firm that provides management services to a real estate investment trust (REIT) sued the REIT in New York federal court on July 21, alleging that the defendant breached the terms of a management agreement and intends to misappropriate certain intellectual property owned by the plaintiff in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and New York common law (PRCM Advisers LLC v. Two Harbors Investment Corp., No. 20-5649, S.D. N.Y.).
DETROIT — A federal judge in Michigan on July 7 ruled that neither a printing and imaging devices and software manufacturer nor its former employees are entitled to summary judgment on claims that those defendants misappropriated the company's trade secret information when they left their employment there to accept similar position with an industry competitor (Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. v. Lowery Corp, d/b/a Applied Imaging Systems Inc., et al., No. 15-11254, E.D. Mich., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120082).
CHICAGO — A federal judge in Illinois on July 20 ruled that a producer of home decor products' state law trade secret misappropriation claim against a former business partner and an industry competitor is not time-barred because the plaintiff has sufficiently shown that its claim did not start accruing until 2018 (Chartwell Studio Inc. v. Team Impressions Inc., et al., No. 19-6944, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 126748).
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Supreme Court on July 17 declined review of a state appellate court’s ruling that the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) does not apply in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit stemming from communications between a recycling company formed by former employees of an industry competitor and scrap metal suppliers the industry competitor had alleged were contacted based on confidential and trade secret information obtained by the former employees prior to departing to start their competing business (Geomet Recycling LLC, et al. v. EMR [USA Holdings] Inc., et al., No. 20-0141, Tex. Sup.).
RICHMOND, Va. — A federal district court did not err in issuing spoliation sanctions in a copyright infringement and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a former employee of a software company, his wife and the competing company they owned because any less drastic sanctions would have failed to properly address the prejudice suffered by the company, the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled July 16 (QueTel Corp. v. Hisham Abbas, et al., No. 18-2334, 4th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 22124).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on July 9 granted a motion to stay discovery in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit brought by a provider of construction equipment rental services against a former employee and an industry competitor, ruling that the competitor has shown “good cause” for granting such relief (Ahern Rentals Inc. v. Travis Mendenhall, et al., No. 20-542, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120948).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a July 2 appellant brief, L’Oréal USA Inc. tells the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) on allegations that it misappropriated four trade secrets relating to hair care products, citing a Delaware federal judge’s own finding that a patent assignee-plaintiff “did not prove the value of any trade secret except maleic acid as an active agent” (L’Oréal USA Inc. v. Liqwd Inc., et al., No. 20-1382, Fed. Cir.).
LOS ANGELES — A provider of digital music services to DJs has failed to sufficiently plead that a federal district court has federal jurisdiction over claims against a European competitor because it has not properly shown that the defendant had minimum contacts with California “sufficient to justify requiring the company to defend the action” in the state, a federal judge in California ruled July 13 in dismissing the action without leave to amend (Beatport LLC v. SoundCloud Ltd., No. 19-847, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 123719).
LOS ANGELES — A company sued a number of related parties in California federal court on July 14, alleging that the defendants misappropriated its trade secret information for the development of a cement truck internal cleaning system they obtained as part of an agreement to construct the system and are in the process of developing a substantially similar system using the company’s trade secret information in violation of federal trade secret law (Core Insight Systems Inc. v. Global Barrier Services Inc., et al., No. 20-1246, C.D. Calif.).
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in California on July 8 dismissed a U.S. auto parts distributor’s complaint and motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin the alleged misappropriation of trade secrets by a Chinese manufacturer, its U.S. subsidiary and employees and granted a defense motion to compel arbitration of the claims after finding that an arbitration clause consented to by the parties was in effect at the time the dispute arose (Pilot Inc. v. TYC Brother Industrial Co. Ltd., et al., No. 20-2978, C.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 120083).
LINCOLN, Neb. — Ruling that a group purchasing organization for more than 600 pharmacies has failed to provide any factual support for its counterclaims that a former employee breached the terms of an employment agreement he signed and misappropriated the organization’s trade secrets when he resigned and began developing a competing company, a federal judge in Nebraska on July 8 granted the former employee’s motion to dismiss the counterclaims against him (Thomas Jackson v. Smart-Fill Management Group Inc., et al., No. 20-3019, D. Neb., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119299).
SAN JOSE, Calif. — A federal judge in California on July 6 ruled that a consulting firm has sufficiently alleged that a former employee and an industry competitor misappropriated the firm’s trade secrets when the employee left his employment with the plaintiff, began working for the competitor and engaged in a scheme to misappropriate the firm’s trade secrets in violation of state and federal trade secret laws (Krypt Inc. v. Ropaar LLC, et al., No. 19-3226, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118207).
NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on July 1 issued a report and recommendation that a New York federal district court should award more than $20 million in compensatory damages for lost profits and punitive damages, plus post-judgment interest, to a company in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a former employee of its exclusive distributor, ruling that the company’s submission of new evidence is sufficient to show the existence of lost profits “to a reasonable certainty” (Continental Industries Group Inc. v. Mehmet Altunkilic, No. 14-790, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116763).