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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently held that limited disclosures of a product, such as through patents and trade show displays, would not defeat a company’s reasonable efforts to protect its confidential information.

The case involves two competing medical device manufacturers: Life Spine, Inc. (Life Spine), which makes and sells surgically implanted medical devices to treat spine disorders; and AegisSpine, Inc. (Aegis), which sells similar medical devices created by its parent company L&K Biomed, Inc. (L&K). Life Spine spent more than three years of intensive study and exhaustive trial and error to design and develop its ProLift Expandable Spacer System (ProLift), an expandable cage used to treat degenerative disc disease. Eventually, it was FDA approved and Spine Life obtained a patent. Although the patent displays drawings and figures of the expandable cage, Life Spine considers the “precise dimensions and measurements of the ProLift components and subcomponents and their interconnectivity” to be confidential trade secrets.
Continue Reading Not All or Nothing: Trade Secrets Survive Patents and Other Limited Disclosures

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The United States District Court for the District of Oregon recently refused to dismiss antitrust counterclaims against a plaintiff who allegedly brought misappropriation of trade secrets claims against its competitor in bad faith.

The plaintiff, Edwards Vacuum, LLC (“Edwards”), sued its supplier and competitor, Hoffman Instrumentation Supply, Inc. (“HIS”), and five former employees of Edwards for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and several related claims.


Continue Reading Noerr-Pennington Doctrine Does Not Shield Litigants Bringing “Bad Faith” Trade Secret Claims from Antitrust Liability

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The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas recently denied a challenge to its subject-matter jurisdiction over a misappropriation of trade secrets claim under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), rejecting the defendants’ argument that the DTSA’s interstate commerce requirement limits the jurisdiction of federal courts.

Continue Reading U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Holds the Defend Trade Secrets Act’s Interstate Commerce Requirement Does Not Limit the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts

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The Oregon Court of Appeals recently held that while certain customer data could be protected by a trade secret claim, basic information such as customer identities and email addresses, without more, did not give rise to a trade secret. Rather, the employer had to present evidence that the information derived economic value from not being generally known and was subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy.

Factual Background

Peterson Machinery Co. (Peterson) was engaged in the business of renting and selling heavy machinery in Oregon, Washington, and California. Modern Machinery (Modern) was one of Peterson’s primary competitors in Oregon. Heavy machinery sales is a “niche” market in Oregon, and only a handful of companies are engaged in this business. Bryan R. May (May) was a former rental and sales consultant who began working for Peterson in 2006. In October 2017, May accepted a job offer from Modern as the territory manager in Eugene, Oregon. As a territory manager, May’s primary job duty was to call on prospective purchasers of heavy machinery in his assigned territory and negotiate potential sales.
Continue Reading Oregon Court of Appeals Clarifies When Customer Information Constitutes Protectible Trade Secrets

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In an order dated April 20, 2021, U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield granted Syntel Inc.’s request for a new trial or remittitur on the $569,710,384 punitive damage award issued against Syntel following an October 2020 jury trial.

In October 2020, a New York federal jury found that Syntel had misappropriated the TriZetto Group, Inc.’s trade secrets in violation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act and New York law. The jury also found that Syntel infringed one or more of TriZetto’s copyrights. The jury awarded $284,855,192 million in compensatory damages and $569,710,384 million in punitive damages.
Continue Reading New York Federal Judge Finds Punitive Damages Award Excessive Following Trade Secrets Trial

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In 2017, EMC Outdoor, LLC (EMC) terminated Jennifer Stuart’s employment. After, EMC filed suit against Ms. Stuart, Grandesign (Ms. Stuart’s current employer), and another former employee, alleging inter alia claims for misappropriation of trade secrets under federal and state law. On March 31, 2021, the Pennsylvania District Court granted summary judgment against EMC’s trade secret claims, finding no misappropriation because, under EMC’s employment agreement, Stuart was not required to keep trade secrets confidential following her termination.
Continue Reading Draft Your Employment Agreements Carefully: A Questionable Word of Warning from the District of Pennsylvania

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In trade secret litigation between two competing legal services firms, the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut recently ordered the plaintiff to produce documents without the attorneys’-eyes-only designation that the plaintiff believed was necessary.
Continue Reading Legal Services Firm Ordered to Produce Confidential Documents to Competitor in Trade Secret Dispute

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On January 6, 2021, we learned that federal courts’ nationwide case management system was breached as part of the SolarWinds hack, potentially giving hackers access to sealed court documents that may include trade secret information. The AP reports that a federal court official said that the “potential reach is vast” and the “actual reach is

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Many of us have had to get used to videoconferencing. But that communication platform comes with its own challenges in protecting trade secrets. The Delaware Court of Chancery in Smash Franchise Partners, LLC v. Kanda Holdings, Inc. denied a preliminary injunction motion because, among other reasons, the plaintiff failed to show a reasonable likelihood that