Sociology Index

Trade Secrets Case Law

Intellectual Property Rights

The first reported trade secret case in England is thought to be Newbery v. James, 35 Eng. Rep. 1011 (Ch. 1817).

Advanced Modular Sputtering, Inc. v. Super. Ct. of Santa Barbara - 09/13/05 - California Appellate Districts. Code of Civil Procedure section 2019.210, which provides that discovery relating to a trade secret may not commence until the trade secret is identified with reasonable particularity, extends to any cause of action which relates to the trade secret.

Ajaxo, Inc. v. E*Trade Group, Inc. - 12/21/05 - California Appellate Districts.
Misappropriation of plaintiff's trade secrets regarding certain technology designed by plaintiff. There was sufficient evidence of damages for misappropriation as to each defendant to survive a motion for nonsuit.

Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Roth - 05/07/07 - U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets in the form of client lists. Preliminary injunction in favor of plaintiffs is affirmed in part where the information in plaintiff's client database was a trade secret entitling plaintiff to an injunction.

APG, Inc. v. MCI Telecomms. Corp. - 02/08/06 - U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
Summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law in favor of defendant vacated in part where the facts left open the possibility of liability on a theory of unjust enrichment.

BASS - 07/03/03 - Supreme Court of Texas
Geological seismic data are trade secrets, and non-participating mineral royalty interest owners failed to establish the existence of a claim against the mineral estate owner, justifying discovery of the trade secret data.

BBA Nonwovens Simpsonville, Inc. v. Superior Nonwovens, LLC - 08/30/02 - U.S. Fed. Circuit Court of Appeals
Claimed trade secret technology satisfied each of the statutory requirements for existence of a trade secret under South Carolina law, and the record supported a finding of willful misappropriation.

Bourns, Inc. v. Raychem Corp. - 06/05/03 - U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Findings of misappropriation and associated damages are affirmed.

BP Chem. v. Jiangsu SOPO Corp. - 08/25/05 - U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Suit alleging misappropriation of trade secrets, plaintiff has marshalled sufficient facts in support of its pleadings to survive defendant's factual jurisdictional challenge under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Cadence Design Sys., Inc. v. Avant! Corp. - 11/21/02 - Supreme Court of California. Continued improper use or disclosure of a trade secret after defendant's initial misappropriation is viewed as part of a single claim of "continuing misappropriation" accruing at the time of the initial misappropriation.

Chemetall GMBH v. ZR Energy, Inc. - 02/25/03 - U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Illinois law. The question whether plaintiff acquired the right to enforce an employee's duty of confidentiality could not be decided on the contracts alone, and the parties were entitled to present evidence on the issue at trial.

ConFold Pac., Inc. v. Polaris Indus., Inc. - 01/10/06 - U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Suit for breach of contract and unjust enrichment involving a proposal containing a shipping container design. Contract at issue did not bind defendant from revealing to a third party plaintiff's proposed container design.