An Epic Tale of Trade Secrets

 freeimages.com/manueldelapena

freeimages.com/manueldelapena

I wrote earlier this year in my blog about a pending trade secret bill approved by the judiciary committee in the senate.  Recently the senate passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act.  The act essentially provides for a federal cause of action for trade secret cases.  The bill is now in the house and is expected to pass.  President Obama has shown his support for the bill.

While the federal law is pending, state trade secret laws are the only remedy currently available.  Recently Epic Systems brought a trade secret case against Tate Group, an Indian company, for theft of trade secrets, computer fraud, breach of contract and unfair competition in the western district of Wisconsin (case 14-cv-748-wmc).  The jury awarded Epic $240 million in compensatory damages and $700 million in punitive damages.  The jury found Tata guilty of downloading documents from hospital software and providing those documents to one of its subsidiaries, Med Mantra.  If Epic ends up collecting the award, it will be more than double Epic’s expected annual profits this year.

What’s the take away here?  If you are the owner of trade secrets-protect them.  Ensure that you have implemented systems and educated your people on best practices to keep your trade secrets confidential.  If someone takes your trade secrets without authorization, go after them.   Hopefully you will be able to do that in federal court in the near future.  If you are working with companies that have trade secrets, make sure you abide by the terms of the confidentiality agreement and treat the trade secret information in the same manner as you would treat your own proprietary information.

Protecting your innovative developments is critical to any organization.  Having the right person to help you make that decision is important.  The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game.   The first telephone consultation is free.  Email us at klynch@kliplaw.com.