Mealey's Trade Secret

  • July 10, 2020

    Organization’s Counterclaims In Trade Secrets Dispute Found To Be Insufficient

    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).

  • July 09, 2020

    Consulting Firm’s Trade Secret Law Claims Survive Dismissal Bid

    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).

  • July 08, 2020

    Magistrate Judge Recommends $20M Damages Award In Trade Secrets Lawsuit

    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).

  • July 08, 2020

    Judge Upholds Report, Recommendation In Tech Company’s Trade Secret Suit

    SHERMAN, Texas — A federal judge in Texas on July 6 ruled that a technology company’s “narrow objection” to a federal magistrate judge’s ultimate finding that the plaintiff must show the required “use” of its trade secrets by the defendant in stating its state and federal trade secret law claims is without merit and partially granted the defendant’s summary judgment motion (Accresa Health LLC v. Hint Health Inc., No. 18-536, E.D. Texas, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117620).

  • July 07, 2020

    Claims In Premature Ejaculation Product Trade Secret Suit To Proceed

    NEWARK, N.J. — A federal judge in New Jersey on June 25 ruled that a manufacturer of sexual wellness products is not entitled to summary judgment on a federal trade secret law claim filed against it by an industry competitor for allegedly misappropriating the competitor’s trade secret information for its premature ejaculation (PE) product because genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the competitor has sufficiently stated the claim (Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC v. Reckitt Benckiser LLC, No. 17-12872, D. N.J., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 113123).

  • July 07, 2020

    Ice Cream Franchisor’s Trade Secrets Suit Transferred To Delaware Court

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 19 ruled that transfer of a franchisors’ trade secret misappropriation lawsuit against franchisees to Delaware federal court is proper based on the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals’ multifactor balancing test (Sweet Charlie’s Franchising LLC v. Sweet Moo’s Rolled Ice Cream LLC, No. 19-4618, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107675).

  • July 02, 2020

    Kylie Jenner’s Cosmetics Company Named In Secret Sauce Trade Secret Theft Suit

    LOS ANGELES — A cosmetics manufacturer that specializes in promoting new cosmetics through ecommerce and social media platforms sued a cosmetics company owned by media personality and socialite Kylie Jenner in California state court on June 30, alleging that the company, an industry competitor and others have engaged in a scheme to steal and misappropriate its proprietary business model in violation of California trade secret law (Seed Beauty LLC, et al. v. Coty Inc., et al., No. 20-721, Calif. Super., Los Angeles Co.).

  • July 02, 2020

    Trade Secret Law Claims Against Former Bankers Survive Dismissal Bid

    ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge in Florida on June 29 ruled that a community bank and its parent company have sufficiently alleged that several former employees violated state and federal trade secret laws when they engaged in a scheme to misappropriate the bank’s confidential and proprietary customer information before abruptly resigning from their positions and accepting employment with a competing bank (Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida, et al. v. Matthew Diemer, et al., No. 20-0057, M.D. Fla.).

  • June 30, 2020

    Most Claims In Advisory Firm’s Trade Secret Suit Survive Summary Judgment Bid

    PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on June 26 substantially denied a summary judgment motion filed by defendants in a trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract lawsuit, ruling that although a majority of an independent advisory firm’s claims must be decided by a jury, its claim for unjust enrichment is duplicative of its breach of contract claims and must be dismissed (Dietrich & Associates Inc. v. John R. Neison, et al., No. 18-5034, E.D. Pa., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 112534).

  • June 30, 2020

    Fracking Companies:  Financial Agents’ Deal Making Violated Contract, Trade Secrets

    WILMINGTON, Del. — Hydraulic fracturing companies sued financial services providers in the Delaware Chancery Court on June 9, contending that they violated their fiduciary and contractual duties and numerous state laws governing trade secrets when they commingled funds and engaged in transactions outside the scope of the agreement they had entered (Lone Pine Resources LP, et al. v. William S. Dickey, et al., No. 2020-0450, Del. Chanc.).

  • June 29, 2020

    Corrosion Prevention Product Maker Files Suit For Trade Secret Misappropriation

    HOUSTON — A developer and manufacturer of corrosion prevention products sued three former employees and two industry competitors in Texas federal court on June 23, alleging that the defendants misappropriated the company’s confidential and trade secret information in the developing competing products in violation of state and federal trade secret laws (Corrosion Prevention Technologies LLC v. Loren L. Hatle, et al., No. 20-2201, S.D. Texas).

  • June 25, 2020

    Illinois Contacts Allow For Jurisdiction In Trade Secrets Suit, Company Argues

    CHICAGO — Defendants in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit are not entitled to have claims against them dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction because any injury they may have caused to an industry competitor stemming from their alleged misappropriation of its X-ray tube technology trade secrets has directly arisen from their contacts with the State of Illinois, the plaintiffs argue in a June 22 opposition brief filed in Illinois federal court (Philips Medical Systems [Cleveland] Inc., et al. v. Jose Buan, et al., No. 19-2648, N.D. Ill.).

  • June 24, 2020

    Chinese American Wants Racially Biased Trade Secrets Theft Indictment Dismissed

    BOSTON — An American citizen of Chinese descent asked a federal judge in Massachusetts on June 22 to dismiss a criminal indictment charging him with stealing trade secrets from his former employer, arguing that he has been selectively targeted by the FBI based on his racial background (United States of America v. Haoyang Yu, et al., No. 19-cr-10195, D. Mass.).

  • June 23, 2020

    Alabama High Court Panel Finds Preliminary Injunction In Trade Secret Suit Moot

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A preliminary injunction against a former employee of a construction company that builds cold-storage facilities prohibiting him from soliciting any employees or clients of his former employer is moot because the two-year period prohibiting him from engaging in such activities contained in a restrictive covenant has expired, an Alabama Supreme Court panel ruled June 22 (Joshua Rogers v. Burch Corp., No. 1190088, Ala. Sup., 2020 Ala. LEXIS 90).

  • June 19, 2020

    Lancet Maker Sues Business Partner Over Alleged Misuse Of Trade Secrets

    CHICAGO — A manufacturer of lancing devices and lancets sued its former business partner in Illinois federal court on June 11, alleging that the defendant misappropriated the manufacturer’s trade secret and proprietary information to set up competing business and steal the plaintiff’s customers (Facet Technologies LLC v. Asahi Polyslider Co. Ltd., No. 20-3435, N.D. Ill.).

  • June 19, 2020

    Documents In Log Deemed Protected By Attorney-Client Privilege

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge in Missouri on June 10 held that although 36 documents contained in a privilege log and sought by a company in a legal malpractice and aiding and abetting trade secret misappropriation lawsuit are protected by attorney-client privilege, the judge would conduct an in camera review of the documents to determine whether they were subject to the joint-client exception (Energy Creates Energy LLC, et al. v. Brinks Gilson Lione P.C., et al., No. 18-913, W.D. Mo., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 101900).

  • June 19, 2020

    Iowa Panel Rejects Vodka Maker’s Sanctions Appeal In Trade Secrets Dispute

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying a vodka maker’s request for attorney fees and sanctions pursuant to Iowa law after the plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the defendant from the action because the plaintiff’s claims in its pleadings were not frivolous in nature, an Iowa appellate panel ruled June 17 (Oz Spirits LLC v. Swell Liquor LLC, et al., No. 19-0513, Iowa App., 2020 Iowa App. LEXIS 642).

  • June 19, 2020

    Panel Sends Contract, Trade Secret Claims Back To District Court

    NEW ORLEANS — A Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on June 17 ruled that a federal district court erred in granting a company’s motion for summary judgment on a breach of contract claim filed by a product developer in a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit because the lower court improperly construed the terms of the parties’ confidentiality agreement in concluding that no such breach existed (Hoover Panel Systems Inc. v. HAT Contract Inc., No. 19-10650, 5th Cir., 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 19044).

  • June 19, 2020

    Composite Materials Maker Sues Rival, Others For Trade Secret Misappropriation

    BEAUMONT, Texas — A manufacturer of composite materials used in the oil and gas industry sued an industry competitor and two former employees in Texas federal court on June 5, alleging that the former employees, with the assistance of the competitor, stole the plaintiff’s trade secrets and intellectual property as part of a corporate raiding scheme in violation of state and federal trade secret laws (NRI ATM LLC v. Plant Services Inc., et al., No. 20-248, E.D. Texas).

  • June 17, 2020

    Trade Secret Claims Do Not Infringe On Free Speech, Texas Panel Rules

    DALLAS — A Texas appellate court panel on June 12 ruled that a former employee of a medical billing company and his current employer have failed to show that a trial court erred in denying their motion to dismiss a trade secret misappropriation lawsuit based on their argument that the company’s claims infringe on their rights to free speech and association in violation of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) (Collaborative Imaging Inc., et al. v. Zotec Partners LLC, et al., No. 05-19-01256-CV, Texas App., 5th Dist., 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 4364).