Posts Tagged ‘Trade Secret’

Eastern District of New York Holds That Contact List Is Not Entitled to Trade Secret Protection Because Information is Readily Duplicated Through Facebook or LinkedIn

In Customer lists, Ready Ascertainability, Secrecy, Sister State Construction of UTSA on September 29, 2010 at 5:23 am
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In a sign of the times, District Judge Arthur D. Spatt of the Eastern District of New York adopted the recommendations of Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson who denied a motion for preliminary injunction in a trade secrets misappropriation case involving a customer list.  Sasqua Group, Inc. v. Courtney, No. CV 10-528(ADS)(AKT), 2010 WL 3613855 (E.D.N.Y. 2010 Aug. 2, 2010) (slip op.). The court reasoned that because the information could be properly acquired or readily duplicated through public databases such as Facebook and LinkedIn, the information was not entitled to trade secret protection.  Id. *23.

In sum, Plaintiffs have failed to prove a physical appropriation or copying of confidential information or wrongful disclosure or use of a trade secret. See Leo Silfen, 29 N.Y.2d at 389, 328 N.Y.S.2d at 424, 278 N.E.2d 636. The information in Sasqua’s database concerning the needs of its clients, their preferences, hiring practices, and business strategies, as well as Sasqua’s acquaintance with key decision-makers at those firms may well have been a protectable trade secret in the early years of Sasqua’s existence when greater time, energy and resources may have been necessary to acquire the level of detailed information to build and retain the business relationships at issue here. However, for good or bad, the exponential proliferation of information made available through full-blown use of the Internet and the powerful tools it provides to access such information in 2010 is a very different story. Read the rest of this entry »


Forgotten Provision in the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act: Uniformity

In Sister State Construction of UTSA on September 20, 2010 at 8:33 pm
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California adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act in 1984 after the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws completed the UTSA in 1979.  Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have enacted trade secret legislation, the vast majority of which substantially resembles the uniform act.  Michael R. Greco writes a uselful reminder that the UTSA has an often overlooked uniform construction provision:

This Act shall be applied and construed to effectuate its general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject of this Act among the states enacting it.

This section has been adopted by California.  Cal. Civ. Code § 3426.8.

Greco notes that this clause means that an advocate should look to sister state interpretations of the UTSA: Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Rejects Motion to Dismiss Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Claim

In Motion to Dismiss on September 15, 2010 at 8:00 pm
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In Farhang v. Indian Institute Of Technology, Kharagpur, No. C-08-02658 RMW, WL 3504897 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 7, 2010), Defendant Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (“IIT”) moved to dismiss a complaint for misappropriation of trade secrets on the grounds that it failed to allege sufficient facts showing that: (1) the alleged trade secrets were subject to reasonable efforts to maintain their secrecy; (2) IIT misappropriated trade secrets; and (3) plaintiffs suffered harm as a result.  Id. *1.  The court denied the motion. Read the rest of this entry »

Fifth Circuit Declines to Apply Restatement’s Burden Shifting Scheme in Proving Trade Secret Damages

In Damages, Restatement on September 13, 2010 at 9:26 pm
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The Fifth Circuit reversed a denial of summary judgment on a misappropriation of trade secrets claim In MGE UPS Systems, Inc. v. GE Consumer and Industrial, Inc., et al., 612 F.3d 760 (5th Cir. 2010).  In that case, an owner of copyrighted software sued unauthorized user of the software for copyright infringement, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and violation of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Applies Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2019.210 Pre-Discovery Disclosure Requirements

In C.C.P. § 2019.210 Pre-Discovery Disclosure, Discovery on September 11, 2010 at 10:12 am
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The Northern District applied California’s trade secret disclosure procedure, and found Plaintiff’s disclosure partially sufficient.  M.A. Mobile Ltd. v. Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, No. C08-02658 RMW (HRL), 2010 WL 3490209 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 3, 2010) (slip op.). Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Dismisses UTSA Cause of Action for Source Code Partially Filed With Copyright Office

In Copyright, Motion to Dismiss on September 9, 2010 at 8:29 am
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The Northern District dismissed a California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA or CUTSA) cause of action in a software code distribution case for failure to adequately allege secrecy. Kema, Inc. v. Koperwhats, No. C-09-1587 MMC, 2010 WL 3464708 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 1, 2010) (slip op.). Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Notes That Trade Secret Law Allows Recovery of Saved Development Costs

In Damages, Remedies, Unjust enrichment on September 9, 2010 at 7:37 am
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In a non-trade secrets intellectual property case, The Northern District of California noted, in dictum, that “trade secret law allows recovery of saved development costs.”  Oracle Corp. v. SAP AG, No. C 07-1658 PJH, — F.Supp.2d —-, 2010 WL 3258603, *14 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 17, 2010). Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Awards Judgment of $3,135 in Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Case Involving Former Sales Employees

In Verdicts on September 2, 2010 at 8:11 am
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A former employer was awarded $3,135 in compensatory damages after a Los Angeles Superior Court bench trial related to former sales employees’ alleged misappropriation of trade secrets .   LifeSource Water Systems Inc. vs. Stansfield, GC041297, 36 Trials Digest 13th 12 (Judgment Date May 4, 2009).   Plaintiff filed suit for breach of written contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and interference with prospective economic advantage.  According to Trials Digest, the court issued a permanent injunction, ordered defendants to deliver all of plaintiff’s property in their possession, ordered Stansfield to pay $1,940 compensatory damages and ordered Kline to pay $1,195 compensatory damages. Read the rest of this entry »