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In an order filed January 8, 2021, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case cut Motorola’s $760 million jury award against competitor Hytera Corp. by over $200 million. Judge Charles Norgle of the Northern District of Illinois noted that the he made the decision “[w]ith a cool head and a keen eye.” The court found that the $760 million award included a double recovery for Motorola, in that it improperly awarded Motorola “both the $135.8 million in disgorged profits and the $73.6 million in avoided research and development costs.”
Continue Reading Motorola Solutions v. Hytera Commc’ns Corp. Ltd.

Marketing agency InnerWorkings, Inc. filed suit under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act against a former sales executive who left the company for one of its direct competitors, HALO Branded Solutions. InnerWorkings does not allege that the former sales executive, Brian Battaglia, absconded with or stole trade secrets when he left for HALO.
Continue Reading InnerWorkings, Inc. v. Battaglia

Acer has petitioned to the U.S. Supreme Court after the Federal Circuit rejected its attempt to remove a case from state to federal court based on two federal statutes and Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013).

The underlying dispute is between Acer America Corporation and Acer Inc. (collectively, “Acer”), on one side, and Intellisoft, Ltd., and its president, Bruce Bierman (collectively, “Intellisoft”), on the other. Intellisoft sued Acer in California state court in 2014, alleging that Acer violated a nondisclosure agreement by using Intellisoft’s trade secret information in Acer’s applications for a group of related patents. Intellisoft brought various state-law claims, including a claim for trade secret misappropriation.
Continue Reading Acer Seeks Supreme Court Intervention After Federal Circuit Tossed Its Patent-Related Dispute from Federal Court

The Third Circuit recently affirmed a ruling out of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, which held that a NASA subcontractor could sue for misappropriation of trade secrets under the Pennsylvania Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the UTSA), even though the subcontractor did not own the trade-secret information. The subcontractor, Advanced Fluid Systems, Inc. (AFS), had signed a contract granting exclusive ownership rights in the hydraulic systems it designed to the Virginia Commonwealth Space Flight Authority. But the Third Circuit held that AFS could nonetheless maintain a lawsuit when its former employee misappropriated the designs for the benefit of AFS competitors.
Continue Reading Non-Owner Allowed to Sue for Trade Secret Misappropriation Where the Owner Had “Lawful Possession” of the Trade Secret

CleanFish LLC, a seafood wholesaler and importer, faced an early setback in its case against its founder who allegedly started a competing company by using CleanFish’s confidential customer lists and information. CleanFish alleged state and federal trade secret misappropriation claims and breach of contract based on confidentiality and proprietary-rights agreements.

In a March 17, 2020 ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed CleanFish’s trade secret claims because it failed to identify any trade secret with sufficient particularity. CleanFish’s general descriptions of “customer lists, customer purchasing data, customer sales figures[,] and other related customer purchasing analysis and trends” were too broad and vague, making them indistinguishable from matters of general knowledge in the seafood-distribution business. On the other hand, the court allowed that the breach-of-contract claim could proceed because the contracts did not require CleanFish to allege a defined trade secret. (CleanFish has since amended its complaint, and defendants moved to dismiss).
Continue Reading CleanFish, LLC v. Sims