Trade Secret Example Lawsuit #1: Company v. Company
In 2014, California’s Top Agent Network Inc. (“TAN”) – a real estate “pocket listing / networking” firm – filed a lawsuit against online real estate company, Zillow.com. The accusations? Trade secret theft in service of Zillow’s highly hyped “coming soon” feature.
Investment Negotiations Lead To Alleged Trade Secret Theft
The lawsuit alleged that Zillow unlawfully accessed confidential TAN information under the guise of investment interest. According to TAN, the two parties agreed that any confidential information divulged by TAN during investment talks would only be used to consider a partnership agreement.
But after working with TAN, Zillow launched a new service suspiciously similar to the one examined during the Tan investment meetings. A huge success, Zillow’s new feature resulted in an 18% share price increase.
Since Zillow profited from the new feature, and TAN feels that new feature was made possible because of confidential information shared during investment negations, TAN sued Zillow for trade secret theft.
At the time of this writing, a decision has yet to be made in this case.
Trade Secret Example Lawsuit #1: Company v. Former Employee
In 2012, following an exodus of several key employees, game company Zynga filed a trade secret lawsuit against a departing general manager. The accusation? He allegedly stole “sensitive and commercially priceless data.” Specifically, Zynga executive believe he absconded with 760 confidential corporate documents.
Ultimately, the two parties reached a confidential settlement. And in a show of contrition, the accused general manager lamented:
“I accept responsibility for making a serious mistake by copying and taking Zynga confidential information when I resigned from Zynga. I understand the consequences of my actions and I sincerely apologize to Zynga and my former colleagues.”
Trade Secret Example Lawsuit #3: Competing Game Developers
In 2012, gaming company NC Soft filed a lawsuit against a group of former employees. Company brass suspected them of stealing confidential data related to an MMPO game called Lineage 3 to create a similar MMPOG.
An international issue, in 2009 a Korean court ruled against the cabal of employees, deciding they had unlawfully misappropriated NC Soft’s trade secret. However an appeals court, though it upheld the ruling, reversed the amount of awarded damages.
At the time of this writing, the case is working its way through the appeals process in both Korea and the United States.
Consult With A Tech Trade Secret Attorney
Kelly / Warner attorneys have considerable experience with trade secret misappropriation law. We’ve obtained emergency injunctions in the wake of a suspected theft and guided clients through the process of establishing a legally viable trade secret.
To learn more about how trade secret contracts can be used to secure valuable information, get in touch.