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Posts Tagged ‘United States District Court for the Northern District of California’

Publicly Visible “Images” and “Features” of Gaming Applications Not Trade Secret, Even If Source Code Kept Confidential

In Public Availability on February 17, 2012 at 6:20 am
MyFarm

MyFarm (Photo credit: Benjamin Pender)

In a slip opinion, District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California struck portions of trade secret allegations regarding certain gaming applications where those “images” and “features” were visible to the public. SocialApps, LLC v. Zynga, Inc., No. 4:11 CV 04910 YGR, 2012 WL 381216 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 6, 2012) (slip op.).

Background

Plaintiff SocialApps LLC (“SA”) sued Defendant Zynga Inc. (“Zynga”) for violation of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”), copyright, and various other contract-based common law claims.  Id. Zynga moved to dismiss, inter alia, the CUTSA claim.  Id. Plaintiff alleged that it developed the first farming social network game to be accessed through Facebook.  Id.  The game was publicly released on Facebook in November 2008 as “myFarm.”  Id.  In May 2009, Zynga approached SA about acquiring the intellectual property rights and other information about myFarm, and the parties entered into a letter agreement on May 19, 2009.  Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Zynga violated the express terms of the agreement, as well as the implied understandings the parties had reached in connection with the agreement, by making use of the myFarm confidential source code, processes, and other information revealed pursuant to the letter agreement. Id. SA goes on to allege that Zynga thereafter used the confidential source code and other information it acquired from SA to create its own game, “FarmVille,” without SA’s permission and without compensating SA. Id.

Discussion Read the rest of this entry »

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Northern District Applies California Code of Civil Procedure § 2019.210 to Federal “Misappropriation of Business Ideas” Case

In C.C.P. § 2019.210 Pre-Discovery Disclosure, Common Law Misappropriation, Discovery, Patricia V. Trumbull on October 11, 2010 at 8:20 am
notepad
Image by john yaya via Flickr

In a federal case, the Northern District of California applied a California rule of procedure, California Code of Civil Procedure 2019.210, in ordering a plaintiff to identify its allegedly misappropriated business ideas.  Interserve, Inc. v. Fusion Garage Pte Ltd., No. C-09-05812 RS (PVT), 2010 WL 3931100 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 6, 2010) (slip op.).  But after the court dismissed without leave to amend plaintiff’s tort claim for “misappropriation of business ideas”, the court rejected defendant’s challenge to the sufficiency of the disclosure as moot.  Id. *2

Background

Defendant Fusion Garage PTE, Ltd. brought a renewed motion for a protective order pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2019.210 and Rule 26(c), contending that Plaintiffs Interserve, Inc., doing business as TechCrunch and CrunchPad. failed identify their misappropriated business ideas with any specificity.  Id. *1.  Plaintiffs alleged claims for (1) misappropriation of business ideas; (2) false advertising; (3) breach of fiduciary duty, and (4) fraud.

Defendant asserted the following deficiencies with plaintiffs disclosure: Read the rest of this entry »

Northern District Holds No Cause of Action Exists for Misappropriation of “Ideas”

In Motion to Dismiss, Preliminary Injunction on August 28, 2010 at 6:30 am
Luminous Idea
Image by Tiago Daniel via Flickr

The Northern District held that no cause of action exists for “misappropriation of business ideas”.  Interserve, Inc. v. Fusion Garage PTE. Ltd., No. C 09-5812 RS (PVT), 2010 WL 3339520 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 24, 2010) (slip op.).

Plaintiff Interserve, Inc. and Fusion Garage collaborated in an attempt to bring to market a tablet computer, which they intended to call the “CrunchPad.”  Id. *1.  Shortly before the parties had planned to announce that the product would soon be released, defendant Fusion Garage advised plaintiffs that it would proceed on its own, and market a tablet computer under the name “joojoo” instead. Id. Plaintiffs brought suit, alleging that they are co-owners of the joojoo.  Id. They sought a preliminary injunction requiring defendant to sequester all proceeds it obtains from selling the product. Id. Defendant opposed the motion for preliminary injunction, and moved to dismiss the complaint, including a claim for misappropriation of “business ideas”. Id. Read the rest of this entry »

Saved Development Costs Available as Measure of Damages

In Remedies on August 22, 2010 at 11:55 am
500 Oracle Parkway at the Oracle Corp. headqua...
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Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California issued an order this week on motions for partial summary judgment in Oracle Corp. v. SAP AG, et al., No. C 07-1658 PJH, 2010 WL 3258603 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 17, 2010) (slip op.).   In considering whether recovery of “saved development costs” is an available measure of damages, the court  distinguished Ajaxo, Inc. v. E*Trade Group, Inc., 135 Cal. App. 4th 21 (2005);

Read the rest of this entry »

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
apple
Image by nebarnix via Flickr

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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