United States v. Bowers

Defendant Donald Bowers was previously involved in a civil trade secret misappropriation case that was litigated in the United States District Court for the District of Utah. During the course of that litigation, Bowers willfully and repeatedly violated a permanent injunction issued by the district court presiding over the case, and also refused to purge himself of civil contempt. His actions resulted in findings of civil contempt against him, judgments against him for the plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees, and, ultimately, a criminal referral to the United States Attorney for the District of Utah. A federal grand jury subsequently indicted Bowers on two counts of contempt, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 401(3). The case proceeded to trial, where a jury found Bowers guilty of both counts. Bowers was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of fifteen months, to be followed by a thirty-six month term of supervised release. He was also directed, as a condition of supervised release, to make monthly payments on the outstanding amount owed by him to the plaintiff in the underlying civil case.

Bowers now appeals, arguing that the district court erred in (1) imposing a special condition of supervised release requiring him to make monthly payments on the outstanding judgments owed to the plaintiff in the civil case, (2) denying his motion for disclosure of the criminal referral, and (3) sentencing him to a term of imprisonment that exceeded six months. Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm in all respects.

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GlobeRanger Corp. v. Software AG

Software maker GlobeRanger obtained a $15 million judgment in a trade secret misappropriation trial against competitor Software AG. Software AG challenges that result on a number of grounds, but its principal argument is that GlobeRanger finds itself in a jurisdictional Catch-22. It argues that GlobeRanger’s trade secret claim is preempted by federal copyright law, but if not, then the result is no federal claim to support jurisdiction. Because we find that the trade secret claim is not preempted but that a dismissed conversion claim was preempted and supports federal jurisdiction, we also consider challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence, the damages award, and jury instructions. Finding no reversible error on those grounds, we AFFIRM.

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Direct Tech. v. Electronic Arts

The panel affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s summary judgment in favor of defendant Electronic Arts, Inc., in a copyright infringement and trade secrets case. Electronic Arts, maker of The Sims, a computer game, contracted with a production company to produce a USB flash drive shaped like a “PlumbBob,” a gem-shaped icon from the game. That company contracted with Direct Technologies, LLC, to produce a prototype. Electronic Arts approved the prototype but had the flash drives produced by a company in China. Direct Technologies sued under the Copyright Act and the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Reversing as to the copyright infringement claim, the panel held that the district court erred in ruling as a matter of law that the flash drive was not sufficiently original when compared to the PlumbBob icon to qualify for copyright protection as a derivative work. The panel held that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Direct Technologies’ cut-away design for removing the flash drive from the PlumbBob object was sufficiently non-functional and non-trivial to warrant copyright protection. There was also a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Direct Technologies was sufficiently in control of its artistic contribution to qualify as a joint author in the flash drive prototype. DIRECT TECH. V. ELECTRONIC ARTS 3 Affirming as to the trade secrets claim, although relying on different grounds than the district court, the panel held that Direct Technologies’ contribution to the PlumbBob USB drive, a design for the flash drive’s removal from the PlumbBob object, did not derive independent economic value from not being generally known to the public. The panel also held that the district court did not clearly err or otherwise abuse its discretion in denying Electronic Arts attorneys’ fees for the trade secrets claim.

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Allied Erecting & Dismantling Co. Inc. v. Genesis Equip. & Mfg., Inc.

ALAN E. NORRIS, Circuit Judge. Plaintiffs Allied Erecting and Dismantling Co., Inc. and Allied-Gator, Inc. (together, “Allied”) appeal the district court’s Federal Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal of their Ohio Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“OUTSA”) lawsuit based on diversity of citizenship jurisdiction against Genesis Attachments, LLC and its parent company, International Equipment Solutions, LLC (together, “Genesis”). For the reasons that follow, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.

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Cypress Semiconductor Corp. v. Maxim Integrated Prods., Inc.

Plaintiff Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (Cypress) brought this action alleging that defendant Maxim Integrated Products, Inc. (Maxim), had misappropriated a trade secret, or was in the process of doing so, by seeking to hire away specialists in touchscreen technology, a field in which Cypress and Maxim compete. Maxim responded that it was entitled to solicit prospective employment candidates in Cypress‟s workforce and that there was no evidence it had acquired, or was seeking to acquire, any trade secret. After failing to secure temporary injunctive relief, and failing to obtain an order placing under seal evidence derived by Maxim from public sources, Cypress dismissed the action. The trial court awarded Maxim its attorney fees pursuant to Civil Code section 3426.4 (§ 3426.4), which authorizes such an award to the prevailing party where a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets is found to have been made in bad faith. Cypress contends that this was error because the trial court could not properly find that Maxim was the prevailing party, or that Cypress brought the action in bad faith. We have concluded that (1) the trial court‟s findings are free of procedural error; (2) the finding of bad faith is amply supported by evidence that defendants did no more, and Cypress accused them of no more, than attempting to recruit the employees of a competitor, which Maxim was entitled to do under the laws of this state; and (3) Maxim prevailed when, as the trial court impliedly found on substantial evidence, Cypress dismissed the suit to avoid an adverse determination on the merits. Accordingly, we will affirm the judgment.

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LG Elecs., Inc. v. Interdigital Commc’ns, Inc.

LG Electronics, Inc. (“LG”) and the defendants are parties to an arbitration before the International Centre for Dispute Resolution. After LG filed the arbitration, the parties entered into a non-disclosure agreement, titled “Agreement Governing Confidential Settlement Communications” (the “NDA”). LG alleges in this action that the defendants, whom this decision refers to collectively as “InterDigital,” breached the NDA by submitting certain documents to the arbitrators. As a remedy, LG seeks a permanent injunction compelling InterDigital to withdraw the offending documents and to refrain from further breaches of the NDA. InterDigital has moved to dismiss on the grounds that LG‟s claims are properly before the arbitral tribunal and this court should defer to the tribunal under McWane Cast Iron Pipe Corp. v. McDowell-Wellman Engineering Co., 263 A.2d 281 (Del. 1970). The motion to dismiss is granted.

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United States v. Jin

The defendant was charged with theft of trade secrets and economic espionage, both being offenses under the Economic Espionage Act. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 1831, 1832. A bench trial resulted in her conviction of theft of trade secrets but acquittal of economic espionage. The judge imposed a 48‐month prison sentence. Her appeal challenges both her conviction and her sentence.

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United States v. Liu

Appellant, Wen Chyu Liu, also known as David W. Liou (“Liou”), challenges his conviction for conspiracy to steal trade secrets and perjury. The principal issue on appeal concerns the propriety of the court’s ruling excluding the testimony of defendant’s engineering expert. We conclude that the district court erred in excluding the testimony but that the error did not affect the outcome of the trial. We AFFIRM.

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Daniels Health Sciences, L.L.C v. Vascular Health Sciences, L.L.C.

This dispute arises from the marketing and sale of the cardiovascular health drug Arterosil. Daniels Health Sciences (“DHS”) engaged Vascular Health Sciences (“VHS”) to market and sell the drug Provasca. After that relationship ended, VHS began to manufacture, market, and sell Arterosil, a product similar in many respects to Provasca. DHS sued VHS for misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, and trademark violations. The district court first granted a temporary restraining order on the grounds that DHS would likely succeed on its breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets claims. It later granted a preliminary injunction on the same grounds, also finding a substantial threat of irreparable injury absent an injunction, that the balance of hardships favored the plaintiff, and that the public interest would not be disserved by a grant of injunctive relief. VHS filed a motion in this court requesting a stay of the injunction, which was granted, and now appeals the grant of the preliminary injunction and its scope. We AFFIRM the preliminary injunction, lift the stay, and remand to the district court with instructions to expedite trial and to attempt to narrow its preliminary injunction.

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