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Financial Information Technologies, LLC v. iControl Systems, USA, LLC

Financial Information Technologies (“Fintech”) and iControl Systems are competitors. Both companies sell software that processes alcohol-sales invoices within 24 hours. Fintech operated in that space alone for several years until iControl entered the market and began selling a very similar product at a lower price point. After losing a number of customers to iControl, Fintech initiated this lawsuit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets. The jury found in Fintech’s favor and awarded both compensatory and punitive damages.

iControl sought a new trial on liability and judgment as a matter of law on damages, contending with respect to the former that Fintech’s alleged trade secrets were readily ascertainable—and thus not “secret”—and with respect to the latter that Fintech hadn’t proved lost profits because it hadn’t deducted fixed and marginal costs from its revenue calculations. For its part, Fintech sought a permanent injunction broadly prohibiting iControl from using either company’s software. The district court denied all three motions, and both parties appealed.

After careful review, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings. In particular, we conclude that the district court (1) correctly denied iControl’s new-trial motion on liability, (2) erred in denying iControl’s JMOL motion on damages because Fintech didn’t deduct marginal costs in calculating lost profits, and (3) correctly refused Fintech’s requested injunction

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