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Acrylicon USA, LLC v. Silikal GMBH

This case involves the breach of an agreement between two parties who shared a trade secret, AcryliCon USA, LLC (“AC-USA”), and Silikal GmbH (“Silikal”). The trade secret consisted of the formula for 1061 SW, a flooring resin Silikal manufactured and sold (along with other flooring resins). The agreement provided that AC-USA and its affiliate, AcryliCon International, Ltd. (“ACInternational”), would be Silikal’s exclusive distributors of 1061 SW and that Silikal would not sell the resin without AcryliCon’s written permission. 

According to AC-USA, Silikal breached the agreement by selling 1061 SW without its written permission, so it sued Silikal under common law for breach of contract (“Contract” claim) and under the Georgia Trade Secrets Act of 1990 (“GTSA”) for misappropriation of the shared trade secret (“Misappropriation” claim). A jury awarded AC-USA damages of $1.5 million on each of the two claims, and the District Court awarded AC-USA $3 million in punitive damages on the Misappropriation claim. The District Court thereafter denied Silikal’s post verdict motion for judgment as a matter of law on the Misappropriation and Contract claims and entered a final judgment for AC-USA for $5,861,415.

Silikal appeals. It argues first that the District Court erred in denying its motion to dismiss the case for lack of personal jurisdiction. It argues alternatively that the Court erred in denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law on the Misappropriation and Contract claims. We reject Silikal’s argument that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over its person, and therefore affirm the Court’s denial of Silikal’s motion to dismiss. We are persuaded, though, by Silikal’s argument that AC-USA failed to prove its Misappropriation claim. We also agree that AC-USA failed to prove that it sustained cognizable damages on its Contract claim. We therefore reverse the District Court’s judgment on the Misappropriation claim and vacate the damages awarded on the Contract claim. We also hold that AC-USA is entitled to nominal damages and attorney’s fees on its Contract claim in a sum to be determined by the District Court on remand.

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