In Eastman Chemical Company, v. Alphapet Inc., et al., Civ. Action No. 09-971-LPS-CJB 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127757 (Dist. DE) (November 4, 2011) (unpublished) Plaintiff Eastman Chemical Company (“Eastman” or “Plaintiff’) filed an amended complaint alleging patent infringement, breach of contract and trade secret misappropriation. Plaintiff alleged that former Eastman employees at the direction of one or more of the Defendants, improperly disclosed Eastman’s confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information relating to the manufacture of certain products in violation of a technology license agreement. Defendants moved to dismiss the trade secret misappropriation claim based on a failure to specifically plead this claim.
Defendants argued that Plaintiff’s claim for trade secret misappropriation failed to satisfy the pleading standard of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 in three principal respects. First, Defendants asserted that the amended complaint failed to identify which of the Defendants allegedly obtained Eastman’s trade secrets, and which individuals were involved in the allegedly illicit disclosure and use of that information. Second, Defendants argued that the description of the trade secrets that were allegedly used or disclosed is “so broad as to be meaningless.” Finally, Defendants contended that “Eastman failed to adequately plead that any [particular] defendant actually used or disclosed” any trade secrets.
For purposes of its analysis, the Magistrate Judge considered case law from other states that have adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act to be persuasive authority. Viewing Plaintiff’s misappropriation claim and the associated facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Magistrate Judge found that Defendants had not shown that this misappropriation claim should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 8. Having outlined and considered the contours of Plaintiff’s factual allegations, the Magistrate Judge found that Defendants have been given sufficient factual information to provide adequate notice of the plausible grounds for Plaintiff’s misappropriation claim under the Twombly/lqbal standard.