While Russia has long protected trade secrets through the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection and the Trade Secret Law, amendments to the Russian Criminal Code on June 29, 2015 now substantially increase liability for disclosure of trade secrets. Illegal disclosure of trade secrets may now result in more serious consequences, including increased fines equal to as much as three years’ wages for disclosure. READ MORE
On July 28, broad bipartisan support ushered the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2015” onto the floor of both the House and Senate. This DTSA treads the well-worn path of many similar (and, to date, hapless) bills that fruitlessly preceded it. TSW has exhaustively covered prior attempts, aptly titling our first post “Pols Gone Wild: Congress Discovers Trade Secret Theft and Cybersecurity Are Problems; We Sort Through the Explosion of Legislation”—chart and all. READ MORE
As many companies are considering purchasing cyber insurance, they often wonder: “Will my insurer be there when I have a data breach?” Cyber insurers have generally been good in paying claims. But the recent lawsuit featured in this Orrick Client Alert demonstrates that as the landscape evolves, insurers may refuse to cover breach costs by arguing that insureds failed to meet “minimum requirements” for cybersecurity. Tending to cybersecurity policies and procedures before breaches occur is more important than ever. READ MORE
In January of this year, we noted that trade secret protection has lately been on the minds of lawmakers in Washington, and that federal trade secret legislation was very close to being enacted. While nothing is pending at the moment, we can expect renewed efforts similar to two bills that were introduced in Congress last year – one each in the Senate and House. In anticipation of such efforts, we thought it would be useful to review what happened in 2014. READ MORE
On April 30, 2015, Kolon Industries finally resolved two long-standing disputes regarding its alleged misappropriation of trade secrets related to DuPont Co.’s bullet-proof Kevlar Material. The settlement resolved a six-year civil dispute with competitor DuPont, as well as an Economic Espionage Act criminal indictment that had been pending for three years. According to the terms of the plea agreement filed with the court, Kolon will pay $275 million in restitution to DuPont and $85 million to the government in fines. READ MORE
The best way to protect trade secrets is to prevent them from being misappropriated in the first place, but when trade secret misappropriation occurs, a trade secret holder will likely want to obtain adequate damages through litigation. The methods of calculating damages for trade secret misappropriation are thus crucial, since remedies available to the trade secret holder are determined by these methods. Although China lacks formal remedies for trade secret misappropriation, it has a body of trade secret law that flows from various statutes. READ MORE
Just over one year ago, we noted the continued and vibrant debate among state and federal courts over whether the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”) preempts other claims based on the misappropriation of information when that information does not qualify as a trade secret. In that post, we noted that Arizona was one of the states in which the “majority interpretation” had been applied, which is the view that UTSA preempts all common law tort claims based on trade secret misappropriation, whether or not it meets the statutory definition of a trade secret.
Big IP verdicts aren’t limited to patent cases. Trade secrets can mean big money, too. Really big. As in multi-, multi-million dollar verdicts. And the trend is up with more than half of the top ten verdicts coming out in just the past two years.
Trials are expensive. They’re also unpredictable. So when a plaintiff seeking damages in a trade secret case decides to take the case all the way through trial, it’s hoping for a jackpot. Otherwise the costs and risks of trial likely wouldn’t make it worth gambling the result on a jury.
For the parties below, the gamble paid off.
Trade Secrets Watch reviewed trade secret misappropriation cases over the past decade and dug up the largest verdicts on record. We also noted any post-verdict information to the extent it was available. READ MORE
The Fourth Circuit has thrown out the second-largest trade secret jury verdict on record, an award of nearly $1 billion, on the grounds that the district court improperly excluded evidence relevant to the defense.
We have covered this case extensively, tracing its history of allegations of double agents, bribery, top-secret industrial facilities, and its (apparent) culmination with an enormous jury award. Now, it seems, this epic legal saga will start anew. On April 3, the Fourth Circuit unanimously vacated the jury award and ordered a new trial. READ MORE
Trade secret theft can expose defendants not only to multi-million dollar civil verdicts but also to multi-year prison sentences. Trade Secrets Watch reviewed federal criminal trade secrets sentences since the Economic Espionage Act came into existence in 1996 and identified the Top 10 longest prison sentences on record. We also reviewed convictions under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for cases involving theft of trade secrets, but none made the list.
While we still sometimes see judges giving a slap on the wrist for intellectual property theft, the courts below doled out some serious prison sentences and steep fines. And with parole being abolished in the federal system, these defendants are looking at some real time: READ MORE