WORLD SERIES EDITION: These Trade Secrets Are Going, Going, Gone

Ah, October: the time of crisp fall air, brightly colored leaves, and pumpkin spice-flavored everything. And, of course, the World Series quest that can unite a city—or, in the case of Orrick’s San Francisco and Washington, D.C. offices, give rise to a friendly wager (sorry, D.C.!). In honor of the baseball playoffs, we take a look at some trade secret issues related to our national pastime.
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On Obtaining and Asserting Both Trade Secret and Patent Protection: The ITC and Federal Circuit Weigh In

We’ve written previously about how intellectual property owners can obtain both patent and trade secret protection in the same technology.  A case out of the Federal Circuit illustrates that IP holders sometimes choose to assert both in the same action – including, notably, in actions before the International Trade Commission (“ITC”).

Last month, in uPI Semiconductor Corp. v. ITC the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding that a defendant in a mixed patent infringement/trade secret action violated an earlier consent order.  The court found the defendant had aided and abetted its customers in importing products incorporating electrical controllers that the defendant had previously stipulated Read More

New CA Law Gives Refineries Broad Authority to Designate Maintenance Records Trade Secrets

Ah, what would corporations give to be able to have trade secret protections for their information simply by declaring it a trade secret? For oil refineries in California, that dream may now be a reality.

On September 20, 2014, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 1300 into law. The bill requires oil refineries in California to report information about all scheduled shutdowns and other maintenance for the upcoming calendar year to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health by September 15 of each year. The bill also expands the definition of trade secrets as it applies to oil refineries and permits oil refineries to identify as trade secrets “all or a portion of the information submitted” under the bill if they believe that the information “may involve the release of a trade secret.”
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Trade Secret Plaintiff Goes Three Rounds, Takes a Beating

Last week, New York attorney Douglas R. Dollinger asked the Honorable Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California to reconsider an order sanctioning Dollinger and his client to the tune of $93,365.92 in monetary sanctions and dismissing all of the client’s claims with prejudice as terminating sanctions. The Court’s sanctions, and Dollinger’s request for reconsideration, are the result of a series of attempts by Plaintiff to manufacture standing for a company that didn’t exist. Plaintiff tried on numerous occasions to identify a company with standing, but was repeatedly countered by Defendants and eventually pounded with both monetary and terminating sanctions. Read More

To Sue for Theft of Your Trade Secrets in California, You May First Have to Give Them Away

California trade secret litigators likely know all about California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2019.210.  Those that don’t, should.

Section 2019.210 provides that before commencing discovery in a trade secret litigation, the party alleging trade secret misappropriation must identify the allegedly stolen trade secret “with reasonable particularity.”

For plaintiffs, this rule is no joke.  It has sent many a plaintiff back to the drawing board trying, again and again, to adequately identify their stolen “special sauce.” It can be supremely frustrating. Read More

Flash Boy’s Luck Runs Out: Aleynikov Takes His Legal Fees Battle Back to Trial Court

The last time TSW readers heard from Sergey “Flash Boy” Aleynikov, the underdog high-frequency trading guru had fought the law to a rare win: the New York State Supreme Court had tossed a raft of evidence in his second criminal case, finding that the feds’ original arrest was tainted by a lack of probable cause.

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Bigger in Texas? High Court to Decide Scope of Protection for Third Party Trade Secrets in Civil Discovery

On August 22, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court ordered oral argument in In re: Magnum Hunter Resources Corp., a case concerning the discoverability of third-party trade secrets documents in civil cases. When should such documents be produced? And who gets to see them?

A simple summary of the facts of Magnum Hunter are as follows:

Party A hires Law Firm to help it negotiate a contract with Party B regarding an oil and natural gas venture. Party A and Party B ultimately reach an agreement on the venture and enter into a contract that says that Party B will provide to Party A all reports related to the venture upon request, provided that Party A agrees to treat such reports as confidential information.

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We Have Your Data. Pay Up or Else…

You wake on a Tuesday morning expecting to have an average day at work.  You are skimming through the emails that came in while you were asleep, when you notice an email from one of your employees.  He is not only giving his resignation, but is also, more importantly, demanding a ransom in exchange for not disclosing company trade secrets and other highly confidential information.  What do you do?
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Ex-Citadel Employee Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud And Theft Of Trade Secrets; Accomplice Left To Fight Trial Alone

Yihao “Ben” Pu is probably coming to grips with the phrases “crime doesn’t pay…” and “don’t do the crime unless you’re willing to do the time….”  In federal court in Chicago, on Thursday, August 7, 2014, Pu, a former quantitative engineer for Citadel LLC, plead guilty to stealing trade secrets and other private information from an unnamed “Company A” located in Red Bank, New Jersey, and financial firm Citadel, related to their high-frequency trading platforms. (See United States of America v. Yihao Pu et al., Case No. 1:11-cr-00699 (N.D. Ill.))

Company A developed “high-performance technology and computer source code” to support rapid stock trading—known as “high frequency trading” or “HFT.” Read More