Mattel, Inc., et al v. MGA Entertainment, Inc.

MGA’s claim of trade-secret misappropriation was not logically related to Mattel’s counterclaim; we therefore reverse the district court’s holding that MGA’s counterclaim- in-reply was compulsory. Because the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding fees and costs under the Copyright Act, we affirm that award.

While this may not be the last word on the subject, perhaps Mattel and MGA can take a lesson from their target demographic: Play nice.

AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED IN PART AND REMANDED.

Download Mattel, Inc., et al v. MGA Entertainment, Inc.

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Contour Design, Inc. v. Chance Mold Steel Co., Ltd.

In this trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract case, defendant Chance Mold Steel Co. (“Chance”) appeals from a permanent injunction and from a jury award of damages. The injunction, based on a finding of contract breach, prohibits Chance from selling, displaying, manufacturing, or assisting others in manufacturing a number of ergonomic computer mouse products. We use the shorthand “selling” or “sale” to refer to the injunction’s operative terms. The injunction barred sale of specific products that were materially identical to products Chance had previously manufactured for Contour Design, Inc. (“Contour”) and a new product (not previously manufactured for Contour) known as the ErgoRoller.

Chance challenges the scope of the injunction, arguing that the ErgoRoller should not be enjoined, and the duration of the injunction with respect to the other products. Chance also contends that the jury improperly awarded lost profits damages. We reverse the injunction as applied to the ErgoRoller. We affirm the scope of the injunction as applied to the other enjoined products, and we affirm the damages award.

Download Contour Design, Inc. v. Chance Mold Steel Co., Ltd.

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Workers did not exceed authorization when data stolen, says appeals court

Ninth Circuit offers unique take on Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld - In a somewhat startling decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit last week ruled that several employees at an executive recruitment firm did not exceed their authorized access to their company's database when they logged into the system and stole confidential data from it.

In a 22-page ruling, the appellate court held that an employee with valid access to corporate data cannot be held liable under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) if they then misuse or misappropriate the data.

"The CFAA expressly prohibits improper 'access' of computer information," chief judge Alex Kozinski wrote in the court's majority opinion. "It does not prohibit misuse or misappropriation," he wrote. The term "exceed authorized access" under the CFAA applies specifically to external hackers and violations of "restrictions on access to information, and not restrictions on its use," Kozinski held.

The appellate court's decision affirms a previous ruling made by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The government must now decide if it wants to take the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Full story.

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Judge not convinced by Apple's trade secrets argument, unseals docs

By Jacqui Cheng

A judge has denied Apple's request to keep certain court documents sealed in its copyright infringement case against Mac clone maker Psystar. In a late Tuesday filing, US District Judge William Alsup ordered that portions of the parties' summary judgement be unsealed and filed publicly without any redaction. The ruling came after another judge's comments in September, who argued that Apple had failed to articulate specific reasons for the documents to remain sealed.

Full story.

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Defending intellectual property in an internet age

By Richard Waters

SpaceX is in a race for its life with the Chinese. The US venture says it has $3bn in orders under its belt, making it one of the early leaders in the commercial space industry. But founder Elon Musk is under no illusions about the existential risk to his business: the Chinese path to success in the commercial space industry, he says, runs over his company’s dead body.

What should a company, or an entire industry, that finds itself in Chinese cross-hairs do? One response at SpaceX, Mr Musk says, has been to avoid seeking patent protection for the company’s most important technology.

This may sound counter-intuitive. Isn’t this just the moment when tech companies should be laying legal claim to their secret sauce? Not at all. To file for patents, says Mr Musk, would be to hand his Chinese rivals “a recipe book”.

The most important stuff stays under lock and key. SpaceX only applies for patents on “things you could observe anyway”, Mr Musk says. It is a paranoia that is evident throughout Silicon Valley.

Full story.

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Coke secret formula gets 1st new home since 1925

By Harry R. Weber

Associated Press / December 9, 2011

ATLANTA—The Coca-Cola Co. has made its secret formula the centerpiece of a new exhibit at its corporate museum, ditching the confines of the bank vault where the list of ingredients had been stored since 1925.

The world's largest beverage maker said Thursday a new vault containing the formula will be on display for visitors to its World of Coca-Cola museum in downtown Atlanta. However, the formula itself, which dates back to 1886, will remain hidden from view.

Full story.

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EBay and PayPal sue Google over trade secrets

By Yinka Adegoke | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - EBay and its online payment unit, PayPal Inc, on Thursday sued Google Inc and two executives for stealing trade secrets related to mobile payment systems.

The two executives, Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius, were formerly with PayPal and led the launch on Thursday of Google's own mobile payment system in partnership with MasterCard, Citigroup and phone company Sprint.

The suit highlights the growing battle by a wide range of companies from traditional finance to Silicon Valley trying to take a major stake in what has been described as a $1 trillion opportunity in mobile payments. The mobile phone is seen as the digital personal wallet of the future.

Full story.

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Coca Cola's Secret Recipe Allegedly Revealed by Radio Program

Published February 15, 2011 | NewsCore

CHICAGO – A US radio station claims to have discovered the holy grail of soft drinks -- the secret recipe for Coca-Cola, news.com.au reported Tuesday.

The website for Chicago public radio show This American Life states it found a list of ingredients for Coca-Cola, a secret that has been closely guarded for more than a century, in a 40-year-old newspaper.

Full story.

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Barnes & Noble Fails to End Nook Lawsuit

Published December 28, 2010 | Reuters

Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS) lost its bid to dismiss Spring Design Inc's lawsuit accusing the largest U.S. bookseller of illegally copying a screen design for the popular Nook electronic book reader.

Spring Design will be allowed to pursue claims accusing Barnes & Noble of misappropriating trade secrets, breach of contract and unfair competition, according to a ruling in the federal court in San Jose, California.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge James Ware on Monday evening is a setback for Barnes & Noble, which launched Nook in October 2009 to compete with Amazon.com Inc's (NASDAQ:AMZN) market-leading Kindle. Spring Design sued the next month.

Full story.

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Muffin Man Enjoined from Working at Hostess

3rd Circuit applies the "substantial threat" test to trade secret case.

By Kayleigh Roberts

Published on 10/1/2010

Chris Botticella accepted an offer to join Hostess Inc. as vice president of bakery operations for eastern Texas in October 2009. He didn’t get around to informing his then-employer, competitor Bimbo Bakeries USA Inc., until January 2010.

[. . .]

"I have no doubt that his behavior had a lot to do with this," says James Gehrke, an associate at Gehrke and Associates and blogger for the firm’s Intellectual Property and Tech Law Reports blog.

Read the full article at Inside Counsel

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