Replacement lenses used to treat eye cataracts have a limitation—the new lenses focus only at one distance. In most cases, reading glasses are still required after surgery. Elenza, Inc. thought it had a solution to the problem—an electroactive intraocular lens (“EAIOL”) that used electric power and changes in eye pupil size to “trigger” the focus of an artificial lens. If it worked, patients could see clearly at multiple distances without glasses.
Alcon Laboratories Holding Corporation, a developer of artificial lenses, was also exploring EAIOL lenses. Elenza and Alcon decided to jointly pursue the technology, first by signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (“NDA”), followed by a Stock Purchase Agreement (“SPA”). Unfortunately, the project fizzled after Elenza failed to meet development milestones in the SPA. Much to Elenza’s surprise, two years later, Alcon filed a patent application for an EAIOL and announced that it was working with Google, Inc. to develop an EAIOL.
Elenza filed suit in Superior Court and claimed that Alcon breached its agreements with Elenza and misappropriated Elenza’s EAIOL trade secrets. Before trial, the Superior Court granted in part Alcon’s motion for summary judgment, finding that Elenza failed to support its trade secret claims. The court also limited Elenza’s damage claims. Elenza’s contract claims went to trial. A jury found against Elenza on all claims.
On appeal, Elenza argues that the Superior Court erred when it granted summary judgment on its trade secret claims. According to Elenza, at the summary judgment stage, its trade secret disclosures were sufficient to prove that trade secrets existed and that Alcon used or disclosed those secrets in its later development efforts. We need not, however, reach Elenza’s claim on appeal that it raised disputed factual issues about the existence of trade secrets because we agree with the Superior Court that, at summary judgment, Elenza failed to support its claim that Alcon improperly used or disclosed any of Elenza’s alleged trade secrets. Thus, we affirm the Superior Court’s judgment.
Download Elenza Inc. v. Alcon Laboratories Holding Corporation