Mealey's Trade Secret

  • May 01, 2020

    NASA Supplier’s Interest In Trade Secrets Sufficient Under Pennsylvania Law

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal district court did not err in ruling that a NASA supplier can maintain its claim for trade secret misappropriation and that defendants in the action failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact that the confidential information they are alleged to have misappropriated were, in fact, trade secrets under Pennsylvania law, a Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 30 (Advanced Fluid Systems Inc. v. Kevin Huber, et al., Nos. 19-1722 and 19-1752, 3rd Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 13903).

  • April 30, 2020

    Free Association, Free Speech Arguments In Trade Secret Suit Fail On Appeal

    HOUSTON — Communications between a custom sign manufacturer’s former employee and his current employer that allegedly caused the former employee to breach the terms of an employment agreement and misappropriate his former employer’s trade secrets are not protected as either an exercise of the employee’s right of association or an exercise of his right of free speech under Texas law, a Texas appellate panel ruled April 28 (National Signs Inc. v. John Graff, No. 01-18-00662-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 3557).

  • April 29, 2020

    Software Company Files Declaratory Relief Action Against Former Partner

    NEW YORK — A software company on April 27 filed a declaratory relief action against its former business partner in New York federal court, seeking a declaration that it did not misappropriate the former business partner’s trade secrets pursuant to state, federal or common law when it developed its own application and platform that had similar functionality to the defendant’s product (MobilizeAmerica Inc. v. 1 Inc., No. 20-3277, S.D. N.Y.).

  • April 28, 2020

    Advertising Network’s Post-DTSA Enactment Claims Survive Dismissal Bid

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — An advertising network has sufficiently stated its claim for trade secret misappropriation pursuant to the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) against a former employee and industry competitor for the defendants’ alleged conduct after the statute’s enactment date but has not done so for any alleged misappropriation before that date because no such federal cause of action existed before that date and because the network had no interest in the trade secrets at issue until obtaining them as part of an asset purchase agreement, a federal judge in Florida ruled April 23 (Spigot Inc., et al. v. Jeremy M. Hoggatt, et al., No. 18-764, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17973).

  • April 23, 2020

    Majority Of Traffic Safety Company’s TRO Request In Trade Secret Suit Denied

    ATLANTA — A federal judge in Georgia on April 22 substantially denied a traffic safety company’s request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against an industry competitor, its owner and other related parties, ruling that the plaintiff failed to sufficiently show that two of its former employees misappropriated or threatened to misappropriate its trade secrets when they left their employment with the company and began working for a competitor (AWP Inc. v. Anita Henry, et al., No. 20-1625, N.D. Ga., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71015).

  • April 23, 2020

    Sandwich Shop Owner Not Precluded From Bringing Properly Pleaded DTSA Claim

    JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — The owner of a chain of sandwich shops has sufficiently shown that its secret sauce recipes, customer information and secret methods are trade secrets pursuant to the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and that the chain’s former owner and related parties misappropriated those trade secrets when they opened a competing business, a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled April 21 (Revzip LLC, et al. Michael McDonnell, et al., No. 19-191, W.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70140).

  • April 23, 2020

    Tech Company Sues Former Employee, Others For Trade Secret Misappropriation

    PEORIA, Ill. — A technology company sued a former manager, his wife and his competing business in Wisconsin federal court on April 3, alleging that the defendants violated state and federal trade secret laws by engaging in a scheme to improperly obtain the company’s confidential and proprietary information to form the competing business and steal current employees and current and prospective customers from the company (Mavidea Technology Group LLC v. Jammie Warmbir, et al., No. 20-1139, C.D. Ill.).

  • April 22, 2020

    Energy Supplier Sues Former Employee Over Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — A retail natural gas and electricity supplier and a company that it controls and manages sued a former employee in Ohio federal court on April 20, alleging that the defendant violated the terms of a separation agreement by misappropriating confidential and trade secret customer information (Interstate Gas Supply Inc., et al. v. John Legere, No. 20-2005, S.D. Ohio).

  • April 20, 2020

    Competitor Not Entitled To New Trial In Trade Secrets Lawsuit, Company Argues

    TAMPA, Fla. — A technology company’s industry competitor is not entitled to a new trial after a jury found that it had misappropriated the company’s trade secrets to develop identical systems to those developed by the plaintiff because the competitor has incorrectly argued that such action is warranted if a federal district court determines that any of the company’s trade secrets are not protectable, the company argues in an April 16 opposition brief filed in Florida federal court (Financial Information Technologies Inc. v. iControl Systems USA LLC, No. 17-190, M.D. Fla.).

  • April 17, 2020

    Magistrate Judge Suggests Grant Of Some Declaratory Relief In Trade Secrets Suit

    NEW YORK — A federal magistrate judge in New York on April 16 recommended that a federal district court award declaratory judgment to a company in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against a former employee of its exclusive distributor, stating that any past, present or future use of the company’s trade secrets by the defendant for his own benefit is improper and that the defendant would be held liable to the company for any future damages coming from that continued use (Continental Industries Group Inc. v. Mehmet Altunkilic, No. 14-790, S.D. N.Y., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66980).

  • April 17, 2020

    Denial Of Preliminary Injunction In Cabela’s Trade Secret Dispute Affirmed

    PHILADELPHIA — A Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on April 14 ruled that a federal court did not err in determining that Nebraska law applied to the terms of proprietary matters agreements (PMAs) absent a Delaware choice-of-law provision in denying outdoors retailer Cabela’s LLC’s motion for preliminary injunction in a breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against two former employees and an industry competitor they formed (Cabela’s LLC v. Matthew Highby, et al., No. 19-1423, 3rd Cir.).

  • April 16, 2020

    Majority Of Claims Survive Dismissal Bid In Trade Secret, Patent Lawsuit

    WILMINGTON, Del. — A federal magistrate judge in Delaware on April 13 ruled that state and federal trade secret law claims brought by a medical device maker against its competitor and the competitor’s founder are not time-barred by the statute of limitations because the defendants failed to provide sufficient evidence to show that the plaintiff knew or should have known that their confidential and trade secret information was allegedly being misappropriated any earlier than they did (Progressive Sterilization LLC v. Turbett Surgical LLC, No. 19-627, D. Del., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64574).

  • April 15, 2020

    Defendants In Trade Secrets Dispute Ordered To Turn Over Devices, Accounts

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal magistrate judge in Pennsylvania on April 8 ordered defendants in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit to turn over access to certain devices and accounts belonging to a former executive officer of a custom label printing company that the former executive stated he used to copy the company’s trade secrets before resigning and accepting a job at an industry competitor (Lux Global Label Co. LLC v. James H. Shacklett IV, et al., No. 18-5061, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62200).

  • April 14, 2020

    Crop Insurer Found To Have Failed To Plead Plausible Trade Secret Law Claims

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on April 13 ruled that a crop insurer failed to sufficiently plead its claims for state and federal trade secret law violations against a former employee because, although the insurer has shown that the former employee had access to its trade secrets and accessed those trade secrets before resigning and accepting employment with a competitor, it has failed to plausibly show that the former employee misappropriated those trade secrets (CGB Diversified Services Inc. v. Kane Adams, No. 20-2061, D. Kan., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64132).

  • April 14, 2020

    Crop Insurer Found To Have Failed To Plead Plausible Trade Secret Law Claims

    KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A federal judge in Kansas on April 13 ruled that a crop insurer failed to sufficiently plead its claims for state and federal trade secret law violations against a former employee because, although the insurer has shown that the former employee had access to its trade secrets and accessed those trade secrets before resigning and accepting employment with a competitor, it has failed to plausibly show that the former employee misappropriated those trade secrets (CGB Diversified Services Inc. v. Kane Adams, No. 20-2061, D. Kan., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64132).

  • April 13, 2020

    Genetics Knowledge May Be Considered Trade Secrets Under DTSA, Judge Rules

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on April 10 ruled that a commercial shrimp breeding business has shown that its genetics knowledge may be considered a trade secret under state and federal trade secrets laws, denying a former business partner and others’ motion for summary judgment (PB Legacy Inc., et al. v. American Mariculture Inc., et al., No. 17-9, M.D. Fla., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62947).

  • April 09, 2020

    Take-Nothing Judgment In Breach Of Contract, Trade Secret Dispute Affirmed

    HOUSTON — A Texas trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying an electrical transmission lines construction company’s request for injunctive relief against a former employee for alleged violations of Texas trade secret law and the terms of his employment agreement, a Texas appellate panel ruled April 7 in affirming the trial court’s take-nothing judgment (Thomas Malone v. PLH Group Inc., et al., No. 01-19-00016-CV, Texas App., 1st Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 2883).

  • April 07, 2020

    Newspaper Denied New Trial In Remanded FOIA Suit Over Confidential USDA Data

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota federal judge on April 1 declined to order a new trial in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S.  Department of Agriculture (USDA) on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, stating that she was bound by the high court’s ruling and finding that the plaintiff newspaper failed to establish that any unresolved issues remained (Argus Leader Media v. U.S. Department of Agriculture, No. 4:11-cv-04121, D. S.D., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57710).

  • April 07, 2020

    Chinese Firm Seeks Post-Verdict Relief In Trade Secret, Copyright Dispute

    CHICAGO — A federal jury improperly awarded Motorola Solutions Inc. nearly $246 million in disgorgement under federal trade secret and copyright law even though such relief “is an equitable remedy not triable of right by a jury,” a Chinese firm and two of its affiliates accused of trade secret theft and copyright infringement argue in an April 2 motion for judgment as a matter of law as to liability and/or damages filed in Illinois federal court (Motorola Solutions Inc. v. Hytera Communications Corp., et al., No. 1:17-cv-01973, N.D. Ill.).

  • April 06, 2020

    Panel: Trade Secret Claim Not Dependent On Resolution Of Patent Law Question

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — A federal district court erred in denying remand of a trade secret misappropriation suit because a technology company’s trade secret claim was not dependent on the resolution of “a substantial question of federal patent law,” a Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel ruled April 3 in reversing and remanding (Intellisoft Ltd., et al. v. Acer America Corp., et al., No. 19-1522, Fed. Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 10511).

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