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HP Sues Former CEO Mark Hurd for Threatened Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

In Breaking News on September 8, 2010 at 11:21 am
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Hewlett-Packard Company filed suit yesterday against its former CEO, Mark V. Hurd in Santa Clara County Superior Court.  Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Hurd, 110CV181699 (Filed Sept. 7, 2010).  HP alleges that in “his new positions, Hurd will be in a situation in which he cannot perform his duties for Oracle without necessarily using and disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information to others.” Id. ¶ 1. “HP is informed and believes . . . that Hurd, the former Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer, and President of HP, is violating and will continue to violate his legal obligations and express contractual obligations owed to HP to affirmatively maintain the confidentiality of HP’s trade secrets and confidential information.”  Id. ¶ 4.  HP seeks injunctive relief and “other” damages.  Id. ¶ 3.

Specifically, HP seeks the following relief: Read the rest of this entry »

Chemist Pleads Guilty to Theft of Trade Secrets After Allegedly Downloading Technical Materials Before Leaving to Work for an Overseas Competitor

In Breaking News, Criminal Theft of Trade Secrets on September 3, 2010 at 8:32 am
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The Sun-Times Media Wire reports that a former chemist and technical director for Valspar Corporation’s architectural coatings group pleaded guilty on Wednesday for stealing formulas and other trade secrets worth up to $20 million as he prepared to go to work for Nippon Paint, an overseas competitor.  The defendant was charged with five counts of theft of trade secrets in violation of the federal Economic Espionage Act in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury. Read the rest of this entry »

Indiana Scientist Ordered Detained on Charges of Economic Espionage

In Breaking News, Economic Espionage on September 1, 2010 at 2:47 am
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AP reports that a former Indiana scientist accused of illegally sending trade secrets worth $300 million to China and Germany was ordered detained Tuesday on charges of economic espionage.  A federal indictment unsealed in Indianapolis alleges that Kexue Huang, who was born in China, passed on proprietary information about the development of organic pesticides to Hunan Normal University while he worked as a researcher for Dow AgroSciences in Indiana from 2003 to 2008.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Ridgeway said Huang, a Canadian citizen with permanent U.S. resident status, used a “patient and calculated” plan to “drain” the Indianapolis-based company of technology that took 20 years to develop. Read the rest of this entry »

Streamlined Jury Trials Bill Passes Legislature

In Breaking News on August 25, 2010 at 4:14 pm
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In a positive development for both plaintiffs and defendants, a bill establishing an expedited jury trial procedure has sailed through the California Legislature.  The Wall Street Journal Law Blog and The Recorder reported today that Assembly Bill No. 2284 was approved by the legislature on a unanimous vote.  The bill, entitled the Expedited Jury Trials Act, was introduced by Assembly Member Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa).  It calls for the establishment of strealined jury trials in civil cases, where the parties stipulate to them.  Some of the highlights:

  • Waiver of all rights to appeal, motions for directed verdict, and post-trial motions;
  • Only 3 hours per side to present its case;
  • Jury sizes of 8 or fewer, with no alternates, and only 3 peremptory challenges;
  • Provision for high/low agreements: (i.e., a voluntarily agreement specifying a minimum and maximum amount of damages, regardless of the ultimate verdict issued returned by the jury).

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Kaedar Electronics Acknowledges Paying Brokerage Commission in Apple Trade Secret Theft Case

In Breaking News, Criminal Theft of Trade Secrets, Fun with Trade Secrets on August 17, 2010 at 3:21 am
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Ting-I Tsai of the Wall Street Journal reports that the parent of Kaedar Electronics Co. “acknowledged Monday that Kaedar did pay brokerage commission to an intermediate trading company for its business with Apple between 2005 and 2008. But it said it is not sure if the arrested Apple employee is behind the intermediate trading company.”

Apple’s Complaint alleges that “[f]rom at least March 2008 through the filing of this Complaint, Devine demanded and received illicit payments, kickbacks, bribes and other things of value from Kaedar and, in exchange, Devine provided Kaedar with Apple’s Confidential Information.”  Complaint ¶ 51.  “With Apple’s Confidential Information, Kaedar was able to construct offers to Apple on terms more favorable to Kaedar, and less favorable to Apple.”  Id. ¶ 58.

UPDATE:  Kaedar Electronics Suspends Manager

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Breaking News: Apple Sues Its Own Global Supply Manager for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

In Breaking News, Criminal Theft of Trade Secrets, Fun with Trade Secrets, Trade Secrets News on August 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm
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Apple Inc. filed suit on Friday against one of its Global Supply Managers alleging that he had “abused his position, violated Apple policies, and broken the law by stealing Apple’s proprietary, trade secret and other confidential information and converting it to his own benefit.”   Complaint ¶ 1.  The case is Apple Inc. v. Devine, et al., CV10-03563 PVT (N.D. Cal. Aug. 13, 2010).  Defendants are Paul S. Devine and CPK Engineering, Inc.  Apple alleges that it paid Devine over $614,000 in salary and $51,076 in bonus compensation and issued him 4,500 Apple stock options and 900 shares of Apple restricted stock.

Shannon Henson at Law360 reports that Apple served Devine on the day he appeared in court on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and engaging in monetary transactions with criminally derived property.

Apple claims that it investigated Devine since April 2010, and during the course of that investigation, discovered an “Entourage database and cache of e-mail from Devine’s personal Hotmail and Gmail e-mail accounts stored on Devine’s Apple-supplied laptop hard drive.”  Id. ¶ 16.  “These e-mails also confirmed that Devine had demanded and received over a million dollars in illicit payments, kickbacks, bribes, and other things of value (which Devine sometimes refers to in e-mail correspondence as ‘samples’) from numerous suppliers, and had concealed his scheme from Apply over the course of several years.”

Apple alleges 12 separate causes of action (the complaint was carefully pled, but several of the causes of action are likely susceptible to dismissal on a 12(b)(6) motion).

UPDATE: Kaedar Electronics Acknowledges Paying Brokerage Commission

UPDATE: Kaedar Electronics Suspends Employee

Judge and Attorneys

The case has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Patricia V. Trumbull of the Northern District of California.

Attorneys for plaintiff Apple Inc. are George A. Riley, Sharon M. Bunzel, Aaron M. Rofkahr, and Jean B. Niehaus of O’Melveny & Myers in San Francisco.

The criminal case is U.S. v. Devine, case number 10-cr-00603, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The civil suit is Apple Inc. v. Devine et al., case number 10-cv-03563, in the same court.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Solicitor General Elena Kagan Confirmed for U.S. Supreme Court on 63-37 Vote

In Breaking News on August 5, 2010 at 1:02 pm
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Solicitor General Elena Kagan was confirmed on a 63-37 Senate vote today.  Ms. Kagan will be the 112th  justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Opposition during three days of Senate floor debate was relatively subdued. She will be sworn into office Saturday and will assume her court duties immediately.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Breaking News: Judge Vaughn Walker Strikes Down Proposition 8

In Breaking News, Other Cases of Interest on August 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm
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Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the Northern District of California issued his much anticipated ruling today in Perry, et al. v. Shwarzenegger, et al., Case No. C09-2292 VRW.  Judge Walker struck down the so-called gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, concluding that “Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8.”   The case involved a challenge to the November 2008 voter-enacted amendment to the California Constitution (“Proposition 8” or “Prop 8”). Cal. Const. Art. I, § 7.5.

The Court concluded that:

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

Plaintiffs have demonstrated by overwhelming evidence that Proposition 8 violates their due process and equal protection rights and that they will continue to suffer these constitutional violations until state officials cease enforcement of Proposition 8. California is able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, as it has already issued 18,000 marriage licenses to same-sex couples and has not suffered any demonstrated harm as a result, see FF 64-66; moreover, California officials have chosen not to defend Proposition 8 in these proceedings.

The Court ordered the following:

Because Proposition 8 is unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses, the court orders entry of judgment permanently enjoining its enforcement; prohibiting the official defendants from applying or enforcing Proposition 8 and directing the official defendants that all persons under their control or supervision shall not apply or enforce Proposition 8. The clerk is DIRECTED to enter judgment without bond in favor of plaintiffs and plaintiff-intervenors and against defendants and defendant-intervenors pursuant to FRCP 58.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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