Intellectual Property

Trade Secrets

12/21/2016

  • In April 2016 Susman Godfrey was lead counsel in a trade secret case defending Zillow against allegations of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and breach of oral contract based on Zillow’s launch of a “Coming soon” platform to announce pre-MLS listings. After granting Susman Godfrey’s original motion to dismiss almost all of the originally alleged claims, the Court granted a further motion to dismiss brought by Zillow, leaving the plaintiff only two remaining claims for misappropriation of trade secrets and breach of oral contract. The case settled after the close of discovery in April 2016.
  • In a 2015 trade secret misappropriation case involving Susman Godfrey client GlobeRanger’s radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, GlobeRanger alleged that Software AG wrongfully obtained copies of its software system as deployed at Navy depots, reverse-engineered the trade secrets from the GlobeRanger software, and then created a competing software product. Susman Godfrey was lead counsel on this matter and convinced the jury to award our client a $15 million verdict.
  • In 2014, Susman Godfrey defended Loral Space & Communications and its former subsidiary, satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), in a bet-the-company patent and trade secrete dispute in federal court in San Diego against ViaSat Communications. ViaSat alleged that Loral appropriated its intellectual property in constructing a similar satellite for ViaSat competitor Hughes Network Systems of New Jersey. The trial was held in April of 2014. Loral was found not liable on all counts, but the jury found SS/L liable for breach of contract and patent infringement on one of the two satellite projects that ViaSat had claimed were infringing. The jury entered a verdict for $283 million in favor of ViaSat and against SS/L, but found there was no willful infringement. In August 2014, however, the Judge granted SS/L's motion for a new trial on damages, finding that to let the jury verdict stand would be “a miscarriage of justice”. The case then settled in September 2014 for a fraction of the jury verdict.
  • Susman Godfrey prosecuted a trade secrets theft case by a web development company against a global media conglomerate who Susman Godfrey alleged stole its client’s work product that led to large corporate deal for the media company. The case settled for a favorable sum shortly before depositions of the defendant’s witnesses was set to occur. 
  • Susman Godfrey defended Dillard’s, Inc. from a trade secrets counterclaim in Dillard’s, Inc. v. i2 Technologies, Inc. Dillard’s sued i2 alleging fraud stemming from enterprise-level supply chain software systems licensed to Dillard’s but never delivered as promised.  After i2 failed to deliver, Dillard’s developed its own, proprietary supply chain software system.  i2 counterclaimed for theft of trade secrets alleging that Dillard’s proprietary software system contained i2’s trade secrets.  The jury not only rejected i2’s counterclaim but awarded Dillard’s $225 million on its fraud claims, which (including interest) resulted in a $239 million Judgment.  The jury verdict was named one of the Top Ten Jury Verdicts in the United States in 2010.  
  • Susman Godfrey represented an in-store advertising company in a lawsuit against its principal competitor, News America Marketing, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. FLOORgraphic’s complaint to asserted violations of the federal Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, the Lanham Act, and claims for business disparagement/trade libel, theft of trade secrets, and other common-law business torts. FLOORgraphics defeated News' motion to dismiss, defeated News' multiple motions for summary judgment, and defeated News' attempt to strike FLOORgraphics' experts on damages, computer forensics, and in-store advertising audit methodology. Following one week of trial in federal court in Trenton, NJ and after FLOORgraphics had presented its first three witnesses, the parties settled the dispute for a confidential amount.
  • Susman Godfrey secured a $30.5 million jury verdict in a trade-secret misappropriation case on behalf of its client, California-based UniRAM Technology, Inc. UniRAM alleged at trial that defendant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (TSMC) had misappropriated UniRAM's trade secrets relating to the design of specialized computer memory devices known as "embedded DRAM." The jury's verdict came after a two-week trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division, before Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker. On April 14, 2008, after a bench trial, Chief Judge Walker rejected TSMC's counterclaim alleging that UniRAM had engaged in inequitable conduct in the prosecution of its patent.  Susman Godfrey was hired by Emisphere Technologies, Inc., a New Jersey-based biotechnology company which was already engaged in litigation with pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly & Company in federal court in Indiana. Emisphere and Lilly had entered into a research collaboration involving the development of an orally administered form of parathyroid hormone. Emisphere asserted claims against Lilly for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets related to Emisphere's confidential technology. Susman Godfrey was hired less than a year before the scheduled trial date and with less than a month remaining in the discovery period. Susman Godfrey promptly obtained an extension of the discovery deadline, engaged in rapid document discovery, and took numerous depositions of Lilly employees. The case was successfully settled in late 2007.
  • Susman Godfrey represented ABB Lummus Global Inc. in a lawsuit filed by FMC Technologies, Inc., which alleged, among other things, that ABB Lummus Global had stolen FMC's trade secrets. FMC sought $90 million in damages. On July 22, 2005, the Court granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Susman Godfrey and dismissed FMC's trade secrets claim in full.
  • Susman Godfrey successfully represented SimDesk Technologies against First Genesis in a suit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets relating to SimDesk's proprietary server-side applications and server-client communications protocol. Susman Godfrey obtained a temporary restraining order and, after a bench trial, an injunction barring First Genesis from using the software and system at issue.
  • Susman Godfrey was retained six weeks before trial to defend Medtronic, the nation's foremost developer and manufacturer of pacemakers, against antitrust, civil conspiracy, unfair competition, trade secrets and other tort and breach of contract claims brought by a competitor from whom Medtronic hired several key employees. Susman Godfrey settled the case on confidential terms favorable to Medtronic.