On October 31st of this year, a district judge in Massachusetts granted a motion for enhanced damages in a theft of trade secrets case, adding an additional $21 million to a $70 million jury award.
The theft of trade secrets case pitted CardiAQ Valve Technologies, Inc., a Delaware corporation and a unit of Edwards Lifesciences Corp., against Neovasc Inc., a Canadian medical device company. In June 2009, CardiAQ hired Neovasc to manufacture part of an experimental heart valve that CardiAQ was developing – a trans-catheter mitral valve (TMVI), a replacement heart valve that can be implanted using a catheter rather than by open-heart surgery. The parties signed a non-disclosure agreement. READ MORE →
Last month, the Sixth Circuit affirmed the convictions of co-conspirator couple Yu Qin and Shanshan Du, who were convicted in 2012 of trade secrets theft. A jury in the Eastern District of Michigan had found that Du absconded with GM’s proprietary documents, passing them to Qin, who then used them to start his own business.
The trade secrets comprised the specially engineered and highly complex “motor control source code” of a hybrid car—the program that directs how and when the electric motor of a hybrid car runs. The jury bought the government’s argument that the hybrid car secrets were on their way to China via Qin and Du, both engineers. READ MORE →
Trade secrets cases in the employment context usually provide valuable lessons on what not to do when leaving a job. The recent conviction of Stephen Marty Ward by a Washington federal jury imparts one such lesson: when you are terminated after working on a project for the Navy involving drones, don’t threaten to blackmail your former employer with trade secret disclosure.
Mr. Ward learned this lesson the hard way. He worked as a contract employee for a Boeing subsidiary (Insitu, Inc. in Bingen, Washington) that contracted with the U.S. Navy to develop unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. Mr. Ward worked as a technical writer preparing maintenance manuals for one of the drones. READ MORE →
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 →
It’s been a hot year in the trade secrets field, with some huge verdicts and settlements, a renewed spotlight on cyberattacks, and an unusual flurry of trade secrets legislation. Trade Secrets Watch’s 2013 Year-in-Review highlights the notable trade secrets activity from the past year. READ MORE →
Litigation settlements can often be shrouded in secrecy, and trade secret litigation settlements are no different. Parties are often sworn to confidentiality, and court dockets are typically silent on the amount of settlements (or even on their existence). Undaunted, Trade Secrets Watch tried to pull back the curtain, hunting for the biggest trade secrets settlements we could find. Although these settlements generally run smaller than the top 10 trade secret verdicts we brought you earlier, they are still quite substantial and confirm that trade secret cases can mean big money: