Trade Secret Tracker

THE LATEST UPDATES IN TRADE SECRET LAW

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 it took reasonable efforts to protect its alleged trade secrets when it disclosed the information on a Zoom call. C.A.…
On November 30, 2020, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Van Buren v. United States, which may resolve a circuit split on the extent to which the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) covers an employee’s alleged misappropriation of the employer’s information. Enacted in 1986, the CFAA imposes criminal penalties on a person who intentionally accesses a protected computer and obtains information “without authorization” or in a way that “exceeds authorized…
The Ninth Circuit recently reaffirmed that the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act requires a plaintiff to describe its alleged trade secret with sufficient particularity. But the Ninth Circuit opened the door to allowing a plaintiff to modify its trade secret identification after discovery. It held that a district court abused its discretion in granting summary judgment to a defendant when a plaintiff identified only “some” of its alleged trade secrets before discovery, reasoning that it…
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.…
In the early 2000s, New York City experienced a surging bedbug epidemic. In response, the company FabriClear created a spray to treat bedbug infestations, which it called “FabriClear” (“the FabriClear Product”). In 2013, FabriClear approached Harvest Direct, a company that markets and sells “As Seen on TV” products, to discuss bringing the FabriClear Product to market. The two companies executed a confidentiality agreement, which specified that Harvest Direct could not reproduce, use, alter, or modify…
In June 2020, we wrote about a Texas appellate court overturning a $740 million judgment for real estate analytics company HouseCanary because the jury instructions included theories of liability for which there was no evidence and allowed recovery on claims that were preempted by the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act. On June 18, 2020, the appellant, Title Source, Inc., filed a motion for reconsideration of the appellate court’s June 3 decision. In response, the Fourth…
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.…
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…