Business Headlines

Trade Secrets Case Summaries

[09/13] Waymo v. Uber
Dismissing the appeal of a district court's denial of an application for writ of mandamus seeking to avoid the production of a report produced at the direction of counsel in a case involving the alleged theft of driverless vehicle technology where attorney-client and work-product privilege were claimed because alternative means of relief were available, the petitioner could not establish a clear and indisputable right to mandamus relief, and the district court properly determined that privilege did not apply to the discovery document at issue.

[06/05] E.J. Brooks Co. v. Cambridge Sec. Seals
In a suit for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment under New York law, the district court's judgment is affirmed as it relates to defendant's liability but deferred pending the resolution of two questions certified to the New York Court of Appeals.

[02/14] Organik Kimya v. Int'l Trade Comm'n
In a case involves trade secrets relating to opaque polymers, which are hollow spheres used as paint additives for interior and exterior paints to increase the paint's opacity, the International Trade Commission's (ITC) decision, imposing default judgment sanctions for spoliation of evidence and entering a limited exclusion order against plaintiff, is affirmed where the Commission did not abuse its discretion in entering default judgment as a sanction for plaintiff's spoliation of evidence and further did not abuse its discretion in entering the limited exclusion order.

[11/24] Richtek USA v. uPI Semiconductor Corp.
In a trademark secrets and employment case arising out of the formation of defendant uPI Semiconductors by employees of plaintiff Richtek, the sustaining of defendants' demurrer is reversed where the trial court improperly took judicial notice of the substantive allegations contained in two 2007 court complaints filed in Taiwan to resolve factual disputes in the case.

[04/28] Cypress Semiconductor Corp. v. Maxim Integrated Products, Inc.
Award of attorney fees to defendant in an underlying action for misappropriation of trade secret by seeking to hire away plaintiff's employees, is affirmed where: 1) the trial court's findings are free of procedural error; 2) the finding of plaintiff's bad faith is amply supported by evidence that defendants did no more than attempting to recruit the employees of a competitor, which they are entitled to do under California state law; and 3) defendant prevailed when plaintiff dismissed the suit to avoid an adverse determination on the merits.

[12/17] ABB Turbo Systems AG v. TurboUSA, Inc.
In this case, plaintiffs allege that defendants violated state-law torts of misappropriation of trade secrets and engaged in conspiracy to misappropriate trade secrets. Dismissal of the complaint for failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted is reversed and remanded for further proceedings, where: 1) the district court relied on judgments about the merits that go beyond what is authorized at the complaint stage; and 2) plaintiffs' specific factual allegations of protective measures taken against trade secret misappropriation are enough to survive a motion to dismiss.

[09/25] uPI Semiconductor Corporation v. ITC
Ruling of the International Trade Commission that respondent-intervenor uPI violated the Consent Order as to the imports known as "formerly accused products" is affirmed, the modified penalty is affirmed, and the ruling of no violation as to the post-Consent Order products is reversed, where: 1) substantial evidence does not support the Commission's conclusion that uPI's post-Consent Order products were independently developed; and 2) the United States sale or importation of downstream products, which incorporate uPI's formerly accused upstream products and infringe the '190 patent, constitutes a violation of the Consent Order's knowingly aiding or abetting provision.

[08/27] Parrish v. Latham & Watkins
In this malicious prosecution action brought by plaintiffs against defendant-attorneys, order granting defendants' anti-SLAPP motion and order granting defendant its attorney fees and costs are reversed, where: 1) the Code of Civil Procedure section 340.6 is not the appropriate statute of limitations for a malicious prosecution action; and 2) plaintiffs have presented sufficient evidence that they otherwise have a probability of prevailing.

[05/08] Altavion, Inc. v. Konica Minolta Systems Laboratory
Judgment for plaintiff finding that defendant had misappropriated plaintiff's trade secrets regarding its digital stamping technology (DST), which was disclosed to defendant during negotiations pursuant to Non-Disclosure Agreement, is affirmed, where: 1) plaintiff did not fail to adequately identify its trade secrets; 2) the trial court did not err in its identification of the misappropriated trade secrets; 3) ideas are protectable as trade secrets; 4) design concepts underlying plaintiff's DST constitute protectable "information"; 5) substantial evidence supports the trial court's finding that plaintiff's DST design concepts had independent economic value and the finding that defendant misappropriated plaintiff's trade secrets; 6) the trial court properly based its damages award on the reasonable royalty measure of damages, and did not err in awarding prejudgment interest; and 7) defendant has not demonstrated the trial court abused its discretion in basing its fee award on local hourly rates or shown the hourly rates employed by the trial court were unreasonable.

[03/26] StoneEagle Services, Inc. v. Gillman
The district court's orders purporting to clarify a preliminary injunction and enjoining defendants from using various materials and processes first developed by plaintiff, are vacated and remanded, where the district court lacked jurisdiction over this case when plaintiff initiated this lawsuit because plaintiff's complaint does not allege a sufficient controversy concerning inventorship, but instead concerns only ownership of the disputed patent.

[03/20] Energy Recovery, Inc. v. Hauge
The district court's decision finding defendant in contempt of its 2001 order adopting the parties' Settlement Agreement that plaintiff would be the sole owner of three U.S. patents and one pending U.S. patent application, is reversed and the injunction is vacated, where none of challenged conduct in developing and selling the pressure exchanger violates any provision of the 2001 Order.

[10/15] Angelica Textile Services v. Park
In an unfair competition suit arising out of claims by plaintiff, a large scale laundry business, against defendant, a new competitor in the laundry business and one of its own former employees, summary adjudication for defendant on all claims not arising under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), is: 1) reversed in part, where the trial court erred in concluding that the non-UTSA claims were preempted or displaced by UTSA because each cause of action has a basis independent of any misappropriation of a trade secret; and 2) otherwise affirmed.

[09/25] Andreini & Co. v. MacCorkle Insurance Service, Inc.
Rule 8.278 of the California Rules of Court precludes defendant from recovering the interest paid on the borrowed funds that are deposited with the court in lieu of an appeal bond, and a recent amendment of rule 8.278, which expressly allows recovery of interest in this situation, and which became effective during the pendency of this appeal, should not be given retroactive application.

[09/23] Corporate Technologies, Inc. v. Harnett
The district court's preliminary injunction that restrained defendant, a former employee of plaintiff, from doing business with certain customers to whom he had sold products and services while in plaintiff's employ, is affirmed, where: 1) the identity of the party making initial contact is just one factor among many that the trial court should consider in drawing the line between solicitation and acceptance; 2) the evidence of record is adequate to underpin the lower court's determinations that defendant violated the non-solicitation covenant and that plaintiff is therefore likely to succeed on the merits; and 3) the district court narrowly tailored the preliminary injunction with respect to non-disclosure, enjoining only the use of information contained in defendant's notes.

[08/19] University of Utah v. Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
In suit to correct inventorship of the "Tuschl Patents," the district court's denial of defendants' motion to dismiss is affirmed, where: 1) the district court did not err in ruling that this is not a dispute between States falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court; 2) plaintiff was free to choose between filing this suit in the Supreme Court and filing in federal district court; and 3) the University of Massachusetts is not an indispensable party.

[08/01] US v. Agrawal
Defendant's convictions under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) and the National Stolen Property Act (NSPA) are affirmed, where: 1) on the EEA conviction, defendant fails to show that purported error in the pleading of the law's jurisdictional element affected his substantial rights or the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings; 2) on the NSPA conviction, defendant fails to show that the theft of his employer's computer code did not satisfy the law's "goods, wares, or merchandise" requirement because, although the code itself was intangible intellectual property, defendant stole it in the tangible form of thousands of sheets of paper; 3) defendant fails to establish any instructional error; and 4) defendant's claims of constructive amendment and prejudicial variance fail on the merits.

[07/15] United States Marine, Inc. v. US
In an action alleging that the government misappropriated plaintiff's trade secrets, the Fifth Circuit's decision vacating the district court?s judgment for plaintiff and remanding the case for transfer of the case to the Claims Court under 28 U.S.C. section 1631, is affirmed, where: 1) the Fifth Circuit ruling that the case must be transferred to the Claims Court is law of the case; and 2) the Claims Court has jurisdiction over plaintiff's suit because although plaintiff brought the action under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which now must give way, plaintiff is within the class of those authorized to recover upon proof of breach of contract, injury, and amount of damages, as well as a Fifth Amendment taking.

[05/24] VRCompliance LLC v. Homeaway, Inc.
The district court did not abuse its discretion in staying plaintiffs' action seeking declaratory relief that it was not committing violations asserted by defendants in an earlier filed state law action, pending the resolution of the earlier parallel state lawsuit filed by defendants, where plaintiffs had every opportunity to procure a federal forum by removing defendants' first filed state suit rather than by bringing a separate federal action in an entirely separate federal district.

[05/16] Forrester Environmental v. Wheelabrator Technologies
Summary judgment for defendant on plaintiff's state law business tort claims is vacated and remanded, where the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claims because: 1) defendant's allegedly inaccurate statements regarding its patent rights concerned conduct taking place entirely in Taiwan; 2) the use of a patented process outside the United States is not an act of patent infringement; and thus, 3) there is no prospect of a future U.S. infringement suit arising out of the Taiwan company's use of the parties' products in Taiwan, and accordingly no prospect of inconsistent judgments between state and federal courts.

[05/14] Khavarian Enterprises v. Commline
Trial court's orders denying plaintiff's motion for attorney fees and costs and granting the motion to strike its cost memorandum in favor of defendants are reversed and remanded, where parties to a settlement agreement can validly specify that one party is potentially a prevailing party and reserve for later determination by the trial court whether that party did prevail, as well as other factual matters involved in making an award of statutory attorney fees.

[02/04] Accent Packaging, Inc. v. Legget & Platt, Inc.
Summary judgment for defendant on patent infringement claims involving a wire tier device that is used to bale recyclables or solid waste is: 1) reversed in part and remanded with respect to claims 1-4 of the ?877 patent, where the district court erred in it construction of the terms "each" and "a respective one"; but 2) affirmed on claim 5 of the ?877 patent and all of the asserted claims of the ?992 patent; and 3) affirmed on the denial of plaintiff's motion for additional discovery pursuant to and the dismissal of plaintiff's Missouri Uniform Trade Secrets Act cause of action.

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