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Attia v. Google, LLC

The panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal of claims brought under the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act against Google, LLC, and other defendants by an architect and his firm.

The architect first sued Google in 2014 for state law trade secret and contract claims. After Congress enacted the DTSA in 2016, he added RICO and DTSA claims. The panel concluded that the DTSA claim was precluded by Google’s pre-enactment disclosures in the publication in 2012 of patent applications containing plaintiff’s trade secrets. The panel held that the misappropriation of a trade secret prior to the enactment of the DTSA does not preclude a claim arising from post-enactment misappropriation or continued use of the same trade secret. Nonetheless, plaintiff lacked standing to assert a DTSA claim because Google’s 2012 patent applications placed the information in the public domain and necessarily extinguished its trade secret status. The panel rejected plaintiff’s argument that Google was equitably estopped from pointing to the 2012 publication of its patent applications to defend against plaintiff’s DTSA claim.

Affirming the district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s RICO and RICO conspiracy claims, the panel held that plaintiff failed to establish a pattern of racketeering because he did not identify two sufficiently related predicate acts.

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