It's always good to know where the lines are. Today, Judge Williams awarded attorneys fees after the plaintiff in a Defend Trade Secrets Act action maintained an "objectively specious" argument after the close of fact discovery:
A claim is objectively specious where there is a complete lack of evidentiary proof from the party suing. . . . [T]he Court agrees with [defendant] Backer that [plaintiff] ZIM litigated this matter with knowledge that its claims were objectively specious. While Backer contends that ZIM knew that its claims were objectively baseless when it filed the Complaint, the Court finds that ZIM understood that its claims were objectively specious by the close of fact discovery on January 12, …
We don't see too many DTSA cases here (at least in comparison to patent cases), but this one is interesting.
In Peloton Interactive v. iFIT Inc., C.A. No. 20-1535-RGA (D. Del.), a mechanic at defendant iFIT had a childhood friend who was working as a freelance prop man helping shoot some commercials for iFIT competitor Peloton.
According to the Court, the iFIT mechanic found out about his friend's work and, despite allegedly knowing the scripts for the commercials were under an NDA, convinced his friend the prop man to forward him the scripts, which he did (along with a note "Dont [sic] forward or show my name.").
The iFIT mechanic then forwarded the scripts to the hero of this story, an iFIT Vice President of Product Development, referred to in the opinion as "Mr. Willardson." Mr. Willardson immediately shut down the idea of using the competitor's information and involved in-house counsel:
On October 26, 2020, after returning to the office, Mr. Chambers printed a copy of the Scripts from his email. . . . After reading a portion of the Scripts, Mr. Chambers brought the document to his immediate supervisor, Mr. Willardson, VP of Product Development. . . . Mr. Willardson quickly flipped through the Scripts and told Mr. Chambers not to share the document with anyone. . . . Mr. Willardson then put the Scripts in a sealed envelope and gave the envelope to iFIT's in-house counsel. . . . Mr. Chambers and Mr. Willardson have both testified that they never disseminated the Scripts.
In trade secret litigation, parties often fight bitterly over the level of particularity with which the party asserting misappropriation has described its trade secrets. That dispute frequently plays out in connection with interrogatory responses or other trade secret contentions, served after the initial pleadings are closed.
However, it can arise earlier in the case. In a recent order, Judge Andrews dismissed a federal trade secret misappropriation claim under Rule 12(b)(6) because the complaint identified "large, general areas of information that Plaintiff alleges to have shared with Defendant" but failed to "identify what the trade secrets are within those general areas."
Notably, the order, issued in Lithero, LLC v. Astrazeneca Pharms. LP, C.A. No. 19-2320-RGA (D. Del.), states …
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