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On September 30, 2020, a Texas federal jury found that San Francisco-based billing technology company Hint Health did not misappropriate the trade secrets of its former partner, Accresa. The jury also rejected Hint Health’s defamation counterclaim and awarded no damages on its breach of contract counterclaim.
Continue Reading Texas Jury Finds Billing Technology Company Did Not Steal Trade Secrets

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A company looking to protect its own trade secrets or manage risk involving others’ trade secrets must first consider whether company information qualifies as a trade secret. Often a threshold issue in litigation, this is also an important question for companies and people to consider when entrusted with access to the information of others.
Continue Reading What Is a Trade Secret?

A recent court case from the Eastern District of Louisiana provides some useful guidance for parties seeking fee shifting in trade secrets litigation.

In December 2016, plaintiffs Source Production & Equipment Co., Inc. (SPEC) and affiliates filed an action in which they alleged violations of the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), the Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act (LUTSA), and the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (LUTPA) against defendants Isoflex USA (IUSA) and Richard McKannay, Jr. (collectively, the IUSA defendants). After more than three years of litigation that “involved extensive discovery and motion practice,” the IUSA defendants brought a motion for attorneys’ fees and costs because they argued that plaintiffs’ DTSA and LUTSA claims were brought and maintained in bad faith.


Continue Reading Court Awards Attorneys’ Fees to End “Long and Torturous Litigation”

On appeal from the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a denial of summary judgment holding that there was no misappropriation of trade secrets.

The conflict arose when three former employees of Crop Ventures, Inc., left to co-found Farmobile, LLC. Farmers Edge Inc. (the successor in interest of Crop Ventures) subsequently sued the three former employees and Farmobile for breach of contract, breach of duty of loyalty, and misappropriation of trade secrets. Farmers Edge filed a motion for summary judgment on all claims in its First Amended Complaint, which was denied in full by the district court. Farmers Edge appealed.


Continue Reading Eighth Circuit Affirms Rejection of Trade Secret Claim: Information Freely Shared with a Single Third Party Without a Confidentiality Agreement Was Not Subject to Reasonable Efforts to Protect

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A former part owner of a failed venture sued the venture’s former CEO, Paul Smith, alleging he misappropriated trade-secret hemp strains, selling them to a Canadian cannabis company for nearly $4 million.

In its September 21, 2020 complaint, Big Wuf Enterprises, LLC and its principal, W. John Short, allege their former venture, YCG Holdings LLC,

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On September 10, 2020, San Diego law firm Slate Law Group filed suit after a former associate left the firm to become in-house counsel for a firm client, ClickUp.  Slate alleged that attorney Derek Dahlin misappropriated Slate’s trade secrets by providing ClickUp with confidential business information including Slate’s contract templates and work product.

According to the complaint, Dahlin was brought on as an independent contractor for Slate in March 2020 and was hired as a full-time associate on April 21.  The complaint further states that shortly after Dahlin began working on ClickUp matters, ClickUp solicited Dahlin to become its in-house counsel.
Continue Reading Law Firm Accuses Departing Associate of Taking Firm Trade Secrets to In-House Position with Firm Client

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On August 20, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld a jury’s $140 million compensatory damages award in Epic Systems Corp. v. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. The Seventh Circuit held that there was enough evidence to support the jury’s conclusion that Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. (TCS) stole Epic Systems Corp.’s (Epic) confidential information, including trade secrets, and in doing so, avoided incurring significant research and development costs. Although the jury awarded Epic an additional $700 million in punitive damages, the Seventh Circuit ultimately reduced that award to $140 million.

Epic sued TCS in the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, alleging that “TCS used fraudulent means to access and steal Epic’s trade secrets and other confidential information.” Epic asserted that TCS “downloaded, from 2012 to 2014, thousands of documents” and used the confidential information contained in those documents to develop a “spreadsheet comparing TCS’s health-record software” with Epic software. TCS’s internal communications showed that “TCS used this spreadsheet in an attempt to enter the United States health-record-software market, steal Epic’s client, and address key gaps” found in TCS software.


Continue Reading Epic v. Tata: Trade Secret Damages Reduced to $280M

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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