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Reasonable Steps Protect Software Trade Secrets

A software owner must take steps to preserve trade secrets in software, but those steps need only be reasonable, rather than including every conceivable action.  That is the lesson from PQ Labs, Inc. v. Qi, No. 12-0450 CW (N.D. Cal., Jan 29, 2014), denying the defendants summary judgment on the plaintiff’s claim brought under the […]

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Jury Award for Software Trade Secrets Theft Affirmed by Fifth Circuit

Wellogix sued Accenture (and other parties) for misappropriating trade secrets related to software that helped manage the process of constructing an oil well. A jury awarded $26.2 million in compensatory damages, and $68.2 million in punitive damages, the punitive award having subsequently been reduced to $18.2 million by a remittitur. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit […]

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When Does Internet Use Create Personal Jurisdiction?

A defendant’s use of computers in Canada to access servers in Connecticut was sufficient to give rise to personal jurisdiction in Connecticut, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has held. MacDermid, Inc. v. Deiter, No. 11-5388-cv (2nd Cir. Dec. 26, 2012). A district court had held that the defendant’s conduct was not covered under Connecticut’s […]

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Patent Applications and Stolen Trade Secrets

The court in VasoNova, Inc. v. Grunwald, No. C 12-02422 WHA (N.D. Cal. Sept. 18, 2012), addressed the classic scenario of a departing employee allegedly stealing trade secrets.  In a not wholly unusual twist, the departing employee, Grunwald, filed patent applications containing the alleged trade secrets.  Grunwald then sold the technology, including the patent applications, […]

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Plaintiff Must Identify Software Trade Secrets

Here is a reminder that plaintiffs have an obligation to identify allegedly stolen trade secrets.  In MSCI, Inc. v. Jacob, 945 N.Y.S.2d 863 (April 20, 2012), a New York state court held that the plaintiffs were required to affirmatively identify features of their software that included trade secrets, rather than simply identify aspects of the […]

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Plaintiff Goes First In Trade Secrets Discovery

A classic tension in trade secrets cases lies between plaintiffs’ reluctance to identify their trade secrets and defendants’ contentions that plaintiffs will tailor their accusations of trade secrets theft to match information produced by the defendants.  Acknowledging this tension, a Nevada magistrate judge has held that a plaintiff had not identified allegedly stolen trade secrets […]

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Enforcing Trade Secrets and IP Contract Rights

What happens when parties to a joint development agreement don’t follow agreed-to procedures for identifying technology created under the agreement?  Lawyers can ensure that joint development agreements are larded with procedures under which rights in joint technology are protected.  But do we do enough — and can we do enough — to ensure that such […]

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Case Note: Reverse Engineering and Trade Secret Misappropriation

Reverse engineering of a proprietary computer program is not necessarily, and in this case was not, a misappropriation of trade secrets.  Aqua Connect, Inc. v. Code Rebel LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17962, No. CV 11-5764-RSWL (C.D. Cal. Feb 13, 2012). Facts In the words of the court: Plaintiff alleges that Movants downloaded a trial […]

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