Articles Tagged with “trade secrets”

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As many savvy business owners know, competition in the technology market can be fierce. That competition sometimes spills over into the legal realm when companies believe that a former ally has stolen trade secrets and then set up shop as a business rival. Recently, a company which makes products aimed at kids accused Toys R Us Inc. of doing just that. The California-based company Fuhu Inc. brought a lawsuit against the gigantic seller of toys, alleging that it stole trade secrets from the Fuhu-produced tablet marketed for kids which Toys R Us sold in its stores last holiday season.

By January of this year, however, the distribution agreement between the two companies had fizzled, and Fuhu stopped selling its Nabi tablet via Toys R Us. Fuhu alleges that wasn’t the end of matters between the two companies, however. According to the court filing, Fuhu believes that Toys R Us stole some of its trade secrets when it designed a rival kid-centric tablet called Tabeo.
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In most work-related breach of contract lawsuits involving alleged trade secrets violations, we typically see companies involved that manufacture things like computer chips, cars or other sophisticated technology. One recent trade secrets case filed in U.S. district court may interest California readers as it involves something that doesn’t seem to fall into the high-tech world at all; the two companies involved in this lawsuit sell organic milk.

Horizon Organic, which is owned by Dean Foods, is one of the largest organic milk suppliers in our country. They recently filed suit against Organic Valley, which is the second biggest supplier of organic milk in the U.S.
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For many pieces of intellectual property, it can be registered with the government in order to protect it. However, with trade secrets, that isn’t the case, resulting in a number of problems for businesses in California and throughout the rest of the country. Trade secrets can only be protected by being kept confidential, which is generally with a NDA, also known as a non-disclosure agreement, or something similar. In many cases, companies find themselves in court fighting the misappropriation of trade secrets, which could be called trade secret litigation, and is something that USA Power recently had to move forward with against PacifiCorp.

After allegedly stealing trade secrets from USA Power, PacifiCorp has been ordered by a state court jury to pay over $131 million in damages. Out of that $131 million, USA Power is receiving contract damages of $18 million and $113 million for unjust enrichment damages. Reportedly, PacifiCorp disagrees with the jury’s verdict and will be actively pursuing any and all options available to them for an appeal.
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