SAN ANTONIO — A Texas appellate panel on June 3 partially overturned a state trial court’s $706.2 million jury award in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit, ruling that although a Texas trial court did not err in entering a take-nothing judgment on a title insurer’s breach of contract claim against a provider of property appraisal software, data and analytic tools, a new trial was necessary regarding the defendant’s trade secret misappropriation and fraud claims (Title Source Inc. v. HouseCanary Inc., No. 04-19-00044-CV, Texas App., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4116).
TRENTON, N.J. — A public sector financial technology (FinTech) platform company sued a former employee and an industry competitor he formed in New Jersey federal court on June 9, alleging that the former employee misappropriated the company’s trade secret information to build a competing business and destroy the plaintiff’s business in violation of state and federal trade secrets law (Statistical Zero Group LLC v. Sergio Marrero, et al., No. 20-7030, D. N.J.).
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina trial court did not err in ruling that a company failed to sufficiently show that its former member and two companies for which he worked violated the state’s trade secret law when he removed certain of the company’s trade secrets contained on two company-owned laptops and a Blackberry device because the company failed to show that the trade secrets had the required independent economic value for a showing of trade secret misappropriation, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled June 3 (David Wilson v. John Gandis, et al., No. 27980, S.C. Sup., 2020 S.C. 88).
HOUSTON — A drilling company that provides services to hydraulic fracturing operators on June 3 sued a former consultant, alleging that he misappropriated trade secrets to which he had access during the time was under contract with the company and later infringed patents for products and procedures by registering those patents in his own name (Abaco Drilling Technologies LLC v. PV Fluid Products Inc., et al., No. 20-1946, S.D. Texas).
SAN FRANCISCO — A technology company sued its former CEO in a California federal court on June 2, alleging that the defendant misappropriated the company’s trade secrets, violated the terms of a separation agreement between the parties and has continued to misrepresent himself as an employee of the company in order to sell counterfeit versions of the company’s hands-on learning tool for children in Asia in violation of state and federal trade secrets laws (Piper Inc. v. Mark Pavlyukovskyy, No. 20-3663, N.D. Calif.).
CHICAGO — Opining that although a software developer has been given numerous opportunities to sufficiently identify trade secrets a former business partner is alleged to have misappropriated when it developed its own rebate portal processing system using the developer’s trade secrets, a federal judge in Illinois on May 31 held that the developer has failed to do so (NEXT Payment Solutions Inc. v. CLEAResult Consulting Inc., No. 17-8829, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94764).
BOSTON — A federal judge in Massachusetts on May 29 ruled that a technology company is not entitled to a preliminary injunction in its breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a former employee and his present employer, Facebook Inc., because questions exist as to whether the source code and algorithms the defendants are alleged to have misappropriated are truly trade secrets and whether the alleged trade secrets were obtained by the defendants by improper means (Neural Magic Inc. v. Facebook Inc., et al., No. 20-10444, D. Mass.).
ALBANY, N.Y. — A former General Electric Co. (GE) engineer has pleaded guilty to stealing trade secret information relating to GE’s next generation semiconductor technology so that he could use the trade secrets to form his own competing company, according to a plea agreement filed by government prosecutors on May 28 in New York federal court (United States of America v. Yang Sui, No. 20-cr-109, N.D. N.Y.).
OAKLAND, Calif. — A federal judge in California on May 26 ruled that a manufacturer of hardware, software and other electronic devices and its related company have sufficiently pleaded state and federal trade secret law claims against only certain defendants because although the plaintiff had adequately alleged that it owned the trade secrets the defendants’ allegedly misappropriated, it has failed to show the independent economic value of all of the trade secrets at issue (Cisco Systems Inc., et al. v. Wilson Chung, et al., No. 19-7562, N.D. Calif., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92497).
CAMDEN, N.J. — Although the holder of certain trademarks associated with his baseball training and tournament business has sufficiently alleged that his business’s mailing list is a trade secret pursuant to the New Jersey Trade Secrets Act (NJTSA), he has failed to properly show that he took the necessary steps to maintain the secrecy of the mailing list, a federal judge in New Jersey ruled May 27 (Joseph Barth v. Ajay Vulimiri, No. 19-20755, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91206).
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A cannabidiol-based (CBD) products manufacturer’s failure to obtain replacement counsel within the 20-day time period it was provided requires dismissal of the plaintiff’s trade secret misappropriation lawsuit because the manufacturer is an “artificial entity” and must be represented by counsel, a federal judge in Florida ruled May 21 (Healthcare Resources Management Group LLC v. EcoNatura All Healthy World LLC, et al., No. 19-81700, S.D. Fla.).
LOS ANGELES — The owner of a group-scheduling mobile application has failed to state any issue of material fact precluding a federal judge in California from granting summary judgment in favor of former employees and competitors StubHub Inc. and its parent company, eBay Inc., on claims that they violated provisions of federal trade secret law by misappropriating and refusing to return the company’s non-source code information for its application, the judge ruled May 13 (Calendar Research LLC v. StubHub Inc., et al., No. 17-4062, C.D. Calif.).
LAKE CHARLES, La. — A Louisiana trial court erred in finding that a defendant in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract lawsuit was merely a “passive owner” of a rubber and gasket company during time between entering into an act of sale and its execution when she and other defendants are alleged to have misappropriated the company’s trade secrets, a Louisiana appellate panel ruled May 20 in ruling that the trial court erred in dismissing claims against her for violations of Louisiana trade practices and trade secret law (Vesta Halay Johnston, et al. v. Susan Halay Vincent, et al., No. 19-55, La. App., 3rd Cir., 2020 La. App. LEXIS 769).
ATLANTA — A federal magistrate judge erred in determining that although a software company had sufficiently shown that its transformative database is a trade secret in a pair of lawsuits against industry competitors, the company failed to show that the defendants misappropriated the trade secret because he failed to consider multiple alternative types of misappropriation contemplated under Florida’s trade secret law, an 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled May 20 in partly remanding the magistrate judge’s findings of fact (Compulife Software Inc. v. Moses Newman, et al., Nos. 18-12004 and 18-12007, 11th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 16052).
CHICAGO — Dismissal of state and federal trade secret law claims brought against former employees of a provider of equity compensation services by their former employer is warranted because the plaintiffs have failed to sufficiently show that the defendants improperly acquired, used or disclosed any trade secret information, the defendants argue in a May 15 motion to dismiss filed in Illinois federal court (Aon plc, et al. v. Infinite Equity Inc., et al., No. 19-7504, N.D. Ill.).
SEATTLE — A federal judge in Washington on May 18 ruled that dismissal of a video game developer’s state and federal trade secret misappropriation claims against a former business partner and its CEO stemming from a failed video game development agreement is not warranted because the plaintiff has pleaded plausible claims under both statutes sufficient to survive the defendants’ attempt to dismiss (tinyBuild LLC v. Nival International Ltd., et al., No. 18-805, W.D. Wash., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87122).
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — A former employee of a custom apparel retailer that manufactures and sells public safety equipment and uniforms to the military and law enforcement and fire and EMS industries, among others, violated terms of several employment agreements he signed and state and federal trade secret laws by engaging in a scheme to provide an industry competitor with his former employer’s confidential and trade secret information so that the company could start a competing product line, the retailer alleges in a May 15 complaint filed in California federal court (Amwear USA Inc. v. Jeff Schlabowske, et al., No. 20-1038, C.D. Calif.).
NEWARK, N.J. — Calling a motion for spoliation sanctions in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit filed by a life sciences data company against its industry competitor “hyperbolic and groundless,” a pharmaceutical information technology company on May 15 argues in an opposition brief that a federal judge in New Jersey should deny the motion because no spoliation occurred and the defendant has not violated any court orders and has engaged in no impropriety (IQVIA Inc., et al. v. Veeva Systems Inc., No. 17-177, D. N.J.).
CHICAGO — In a May 13 opinion, a federal judge in Illinois ruled that a drug development company pleaded with sufficient particularity that it took reasonable efforts to maintain the secrecy of its trade secret information pertaining to the production of its cancer treatment drug, rejecting an argument by a former business partner that the company failed to do so as required under Illinois trade secret law (Meridian Laboratories Inc. v. OncoGenerix USA Inc., No. 18-6007, N.D. Ill., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 84352).
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In its May 18 orders list, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition for certiorari that challenged findings by the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that a consent judgment relating to trademarks and trade secrets was assignable (M.W. Watermark LLC, et al. v. Evoqua Water Technologies LLC, No. 19-1079, U.S. Sup.).