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Posts Tagged ‘Government’

Study Shows Courts Fail to Rely on Sister-State UTSA Law as Source of Case Law Precedent

In Uncategorized on October 8, 2010 at 10:11 am
Omar, mining town, West Virginia, 1935.
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The University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s PENNumbra published an essay by discussing whether, in the thirty years since the creation of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA), courts actually look to sister states in interpreting the law. See Michael Risch, Essay, A Failure of Uniform Laws?, 159 U. PA. L. REV. PENNUMBRA 1(2010).   The author focuses on West Virginia as a test case because of the jurisdiction’s complete absence of state court trade secret case law, both before and after passage of the UTSA.

The author concludes that “the UTSA fails the test of uniformity because it is not being used as a source of case law precedent. Instead, older common law is being used.”  Even West Virginia federal courts have looked to outside precedent based on the Restatement (Second) of Torts, rather than the UTSA:

The West Virginia experience implies that the UTSA fails as a uniform source of precedent for sister states that adopt it. When faced with a lack of home-state-court guidance, West Virginia federal courts look to out-of-state precedent based on the Restatement (Second) of Torts, the primary source of trade secret common law. Indeed, when faced with collateral trade secret questions, such as litigation discovery protective orders, West Virginia’s own Supreme Court also looked to non-UTSA precedent.

By CHARLES JUNG

 

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Third Circuit Affirms Award of Damages in Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Case and Denial of Recovery on Injunction Bond After Employee’s Partial Success on Appeal

In Customer lists, Employee Mobility, Injunction Bond, Third Circuit on September 20, 2010 at 6:52 am
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The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the district court’s award of damages against employees on a claim brought by their former employer for, inter alia, misappropriation of trade secrets.  Latuszewski v. Valic Financial Advisors, Inc., No. 08-1511, 2010 WL 3582434 (3rd Cir. Sept. 15, 2010).   Former employer, VALIC Financial Advisors, Inc., bought claims against former employees Gary Latuszewski and James Rogan alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and tortious interference with contract. Id. *1. Employees appealed arguing that this award was in error and also that the District Court erred in declining to award them damages under VALIC’s injunction bond after this court vacated part of the District Court’s temporary injunction against them. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

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
Elena Kagan as Dean of Harvard Law School
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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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Navy Wins MSJ in Reverse-FOIA Case with a Trade Secrets Act Cause of Action

In Trade Secrets Act on July 31, 2010 at 1:22 am
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In a reverse-FOIA case, JCI Metal Products v. U.S. Dept. of the Navy, Slip Copy, 2010 WL 2925436 (S.D. Cal.  Jul 23, 2010) (NO. 09-CV-2139-IEG), Plaintiff JCI Metal Products (“JCI”) brought an action seeking to prevent disclosure of certain information relating to its past contract with Defendant United States Department of the Navy (“Navy”). Before the Court were Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s cross-Motions for Summary Judgment. The court granted Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

JCI’s second cause of action alleged that disclosure by the Navy of JCI’s unit prices for each contract line item (“CLIN”) information at issue would violate and contravene the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1905.

The Trade Secrets Act provides a criminal penalty for:

Whoever, being an officer or employee of the United States . . . publishes, divulges, discloses, or makes known in any manner or to any extent not authorized by law any information coming to him in the course of his employment or official duties . . . which information concerns or relates to the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of work, or apparatus, or to the identity, confidential statistical data, amount or source of any income, profits, losses, or expenditures of any person, firm, partnership, corporation, or association . . . .

The Court held that the Trade Secrets Act “cannot override the FOIA’s obligatory disclosure provisions.” Citing CNA Fin. Corp., 830 F.2d at 1141-42; Gen. Elec. Co. v. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Comm’n, 750 F.2d 1394, 1401-02 (7th Cir.1984) (“[T]he Trade Secrets Act has no independent force in cases where the Freedom of Information Act is involved….”).  The Court concluded that the information sought was not protected by Exemption 4 of the FOIA, which exempts from disclosure “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.”  Accordingly, “because the information in this case is not protected by Exemption 4, neither can it be protected by the Trade Secrets Act.”  Therefore, the Court granted the Navy’s Motion for Summary Judgment on the Trade Secrets Act cause of action.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Sixth District Reverses Grant of Summary Adjudication of UTSA Claim on Equitable Estoppel Grounds

In California Appellate Opinions, Statute of Limitations on July 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm
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In Insyst Ltd. v. Applied Materials, Inc., 2010 WL 2892712 (Cal. Ct. App. Jul. 22, 2010) (unpublished), the California Sixth District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s grant of summary adjudication of plaintiff’s misappropriation of trade secrets cause of action.  The trial court granted summary adjudication based on the lapse of the statute of limitations.  The Court of Appeal reversed on equitable estoppel grounds.  Defendant “effectively concedes that in its motion it presented no evidence of plaintiff’s conduct after December 2002 apart from the filing of the complaint on July 30, 2004. Instead, in its reply defendant simply challenged plaintiff to present evidence of its diligence, arguing that plaintiff made no showing of diligence. This is not how a party should be able to obtain a summary adjudication.”

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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Third Circuit Upholds Injunction: Twinkies Will Not Yet Be Crunchy on the Outside and Soft in the Middle

In Fun with Trade Secrets, Trade Secrets News on July 28, 2010 at 10:53 pm
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The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction yesterday blocking an expert on nooks on crannies from jumping to rival Hostess Brands, Inc.  The case is Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc v. Botticella, U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 10-1510.   Michael L. Banks of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP and Joseph Anclien of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP appeared for oral argument.

By CHARLES H. JUNG

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