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Author: Frederick Spaeth

Hiding Secrets in Plain Sight? Unsealed Court Papers can Jeopardize Trade Secrets, Part II

In my previous post I discussed the recent remand by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals of DuPont’s $919 million dollar verdict in its trade secret misappropriation case against Kolon Industries. In that decision, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the trial court to consider whether the trade secrets in question had lost their proprietary status because they were disclosed in unsealed court documents in a prior litigation. In this post I will briefly summarize the principles that will guide the trial court in resolving this question.

Hiding Secrets in Plain Sight? Unsealed Court Papers can Jeopardize Trade Secrets

In 2011 DuPont won a near billion-dollar verdict in a trade secret case which is now subject to remand following the defendant’s appeal, providing a lesson for future litigants. DuPont initiated the high-stakes litigation against competitor and a former employee, alleging that the employee shared DuPont trade secrets with Kolon Industries in breach of an obligation of confidentiality the employee owed to DuPont.

Some Words about Invention Promotion Firms

Invention Promotion Firms (IPFs) hold themselves out as providing a range of valuable services to novice inventors. For example, many of these firms offer to evaluate the patentability of inventions, file patent applications, present the invention to manufacturers, build prototypes, and market inventions. They often point out that most conventional services, i.e., law firms and marketing consultants […]

Trademarks – Is a Little Mark Better than None at All?

Conventional wisdom holds that it is better, at least in the long run, to adopt and register a strong trademark than a weak one. Still, weak marks have their allure: they are easier to invent than strong marks and, as a recent precedential decision by the United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) demonstrates, the weaker they are, the easier they may be to register. The ruling is In re Hartz Hotel Services, Inc., Serial No. 76692673 (March 19, 2012) [precedential], which came to my attention via John Welch’s THE TTABlog, one of my favorite IP blogs.