Trade Secret Tracker

THE LATEST UPDATES IN TRADE SECRET LAW

In 2010, two parties, AcryliCon USA, LLC (AcryliCon) and Silikal GmbH (Silikal) agreed to share rights to a secret formula for a flooring resin known as 1061 SW.  Under the agreement, Silikal would manufacture 1061 SW and AcryliCon and its affiliates would have exclusive rights to distribution. After Silikal began selling 1061 SW without permission, AcryliCon sued for breach of their agreement and for misappropriation of a shared trade secret. A jury awarded AcryliCon $1.5…
Is It Even Possible to Persuade a Biased Juror? If you recently debated someone who adamantly supported a different candidate than you in the last presidential election, you have good reason to wonder whether there is hope of persuading someone biased against your position in a theft of trade secrets case. Fortunately, jury persuasion happens all the time (and is arguably easier than persuading a voter who holds entrenched opinions about a presidential candidate). You…
In an order filed January 8, 2021, the U.S. District Court judge overseeing the case cut Motorola’s $760 million jury award against competitor Hytera Corp. by over $200 million. Judge Charles Norgle of the Northern District of Illinois noted that the he made the decision “[w]ith a cool head and a keen eye.” The court found that the $760 million award included a double recovery for Motorola, in that it improperly awarded Motorola “both the…
Marketing agency InnerWorkings, Inc. filed suit under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act against a former sales executive who left the company for one of its direct competitors, HALO Branded Solutions. InnerWorkings does not allege that the former sales executive, Brian Battaglia, absconded with or stole trade secrets when he left for HALO.…
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 probably significant.” At this stage, officials do not know the full extent of the breach, which documents hackers accessed, or…
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…