Discovery

Nice Try: Federal Circuit Denies Uber Engineer’s Writ, Affirming the District Court

In trade secret cases, it is often the case that a defendant company and employee accused of trade secret misappropriation enter into a joint defense agreement.  Often under such JDAs, facts, strategies and documents are shared with the understanding that they will remain confidential. READ MORE

Baring It All: Judge Orders Swingers’ Club to Produce Email Distribution List

A recent case in the Southern District of Florida serves as a reminder that even trade secrets may be subject to production to opposing counsel. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman recently ordered a defendant “swingers’” club to produce its email distribution list to plaintiffs in Edmonson v. Velvet Lifestyles, LLC (S.D. Fla. Dec. 5, 2016). READ MORE

Growing Small Satellite Market Spawning Litigation

Virgin Galactic expanded and continued its attack on its former VP of Propulsion, Thomas Markusic, and his new company, Firefly Space Systems, this month. Markusic co-founded Firefly around the time he left Virgin Galactic, and the two companies compete in the market for rockets capable of launching small and medium sized satellites into lower earth orbit. As the demand for services from such satellites increases steadily; the race to provide a more cost effective method for delivering those satellites into space is also growing and becoming more competitive. READ MORE

Trade Secrets Protected From Disclosure Under FOIA…Except For When They Aren’t

We have previously reported about protecting trade secrets from disclosure after a FOIA request here and here. There is something to be said for immediate action and intervening to protect your trade secrets, but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

In a recent decision, the Central District of California denied a protective order for several documents submitted to the government that Exxon contended contain trade secrets. READ MORE

Filer Beware! E-Filing Error Can Destroy Trade Secret Status

First rule of thumb in trade secrets litigation? A trade secret must be kept secret. It is painfully obvious, but modern practitioners must not grow complacent due to the convenience of electronic filing. Although trade secrets law does not command absolute secrecy, a recent e-filing snafu in HMS Holdings Corp. v. Arendt offers a cautionary tale from New York on how one botched upload could jeopardize a client’s most prized possession. READ MORE

FLORIDA SUNSHINE? State High Court Orders Gerrymandering Documents Made Public, Justice Thomas Rejects Last-Minute Appeal

This past summer, we reported on an emergency petition to Justice Clarence Thomas of the United States Supreme Court to stay a Florida Supreme Court’s decision permitting disclosure of documents submitted under seal during a trial challenging Florida legislature’s redistricting process.  The emergency petition was filed by Patrick Bainter and Data Targeting, Inc., political consultants hired by the Republican Party of Florida to assist with the redistricting process in that state.  At issue in the petition were more than 500 pages of documents that purportedly contained confidential 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

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.

READ MORE