A growing number of courts across the country have required plaintiffs to specify with particularity the trade secret that they are accusing a defendant of stealing, and that plaintiffs’ refusal to do so could result in dismissal of the claim. See, e.g., Dura Global, Tech, Inc. v. Magna Donnelly Corp., 2008 WL 2064516 (E.D.Mich. May 14, 2008) (staying discovery until the plaintiffs provided the defendants with a list identifying the trade secrets alleged to have been misappropriated “with reasonable particularity”). Similarly, California has enacted a statutory requirement that requires a plaintiff in a trade secrets case “to identify the trade secret with reasonable particularity . . . before commencing discovery relating to the trade secret.” Cal.Code of Civil Proc. Section 2019.210.
A federal district court in New Jersey has failed to follow that trend. In Reckitt Benckiser Inc. v. Tris Pharma, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19713 (D.N.J. June 21, 2011) (unpublished), the underlying action arose out of, inter alia, the alleged infringement of several drug patents. Defendants moved to dismiss several of the non-patent counts, including a trade secret misappropriation claim. Defendants argued that plaintiffs’ claim for misappropriation of trade secrets must be dismissed as a matter of law, because defendants contended that plaintiffs should have identified the alleged trade secrets in its complaint with particularity since they were “uniquely known to plaintiffs.”
The district court disagreed and denied the motion to dismiss holding that under New Jersey law, a claim of misappropriation of trade secret “does not require specific pleading of the precise information that constitutes the trade secret in order to survive a motion to dismiss. Indeed, ‘unless there are heightened pleading requirements as to a particular cause of action, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff to plead all the relevant facts in detail . . . and generally do not require a plaintiff to provide specific information about trade secrets at this stage of the litigation.’”