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After Nine Years of Litigation, Jasmine Networks v. Marvell Semiconductor Finally Proceeds to Trial

In Trial on October 5, 2010 at 9:38 am
Engraving of Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury.
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After over nine years of litigation, the trade secrets misappropriation case in Jasmine Networks, Inc. v. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. is underway.   As reported by Kate Moser of The Recorder, Jasmine, represented by San Francisco’s McGrane Greenfield, contends that Marvell abused a nondisclosure agreement to rip off valuable intellectual property and claims that it lost business worth $80 million to $100 million.  Marvell’s attorneys have argued that Jasmine’s alleged trade secrets are based on stolen technology that Jasmine tried to pass off to Marvell as its own: “The truth is that Jasmine was a failed start-up founded at the tail end of the technology boom of the late 1990s,” Bauer wrote in Marvell’s trial brief. “In its short life, it never completed a product, did not obtain a single patent, and earned not a penny of revenue.”

The case was filed on September 12, 2001, and has featured two appeals to the Sixth District Court of Appeal.  Last June, the trial judge dismissed the case for lack of standing by Jasmine, but the Sixth District reversed, and the California Supreme Court denied Marvell’s petition for review and stay.

Jasmine’s key evidence is an infamous voice mail accidentally left by Marvell’s former general counsel, where he called a Jasmine in-house lawyer and apparently meant to hang up, but allegedly continued to talk with two colleagues on speakerphone about stealing trade secrets from Jasmine.  The voicemail was finally played for a jury on Friday.  A transcript prepared by Jasmine quotes Marvell’s former general counsel as saying: “Sehat doesn’t go to jail. [Marvell vice president of business development] Manuel [Alba] might go to jail.” Later, another company officer says: “If we took that IP on the pretense just evaluating it, and put it in our product . . . .”

The Sixth District overturned a 2004 trial court ruling that the voice mail should be excluded from evidence.

Judges and Attorneys

Trial Judge: Hon. William Elfving.

Christopher Sullivan and William McGrane of McGrane Greenfield for Jasmine Networks, Inc.

Steven Bauer of Latham & Watkins for Marvell Semiconductor, Inc.

By CHARLES JUNG

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