A blog of trade secrets news, verdicts, and resources

February 2010 Archives

Hilton Trade Secret Suit Must Halt in Criminal Probe, U.S. Says

By Andrew M. Harris

A lawsuit accusing Hilton Hotels Corp. and two executives of stealing trade secrets from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. should be halted while the U.S. probes for possible criminal wrongdoing, prosecutors said.

Starwood sued Hilton in April, alleging that the McLean, Virginia-based chain hired two former employees who took from it confidential information used in developing the luxury W and St. Regis Hotel brands.

The case is Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. v. Hilton Hotels Corp., 09-03862, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (White Plains).

By Gary M. Hnath

On February 16, 2010, the US International Trade Commission in Washington, DC issued a Section 337 exclusion order in Cast Steel Railway Wheels, Processes for Manufacturing or Relating to Same and Certain Products Containing Same, Investigation No. 337-TA-655.

While Section 337 is used most often in patent cases, and has not been widely used in trade secret cases in recent years, the Cast Steel Railway Wheels decision demonstrates that the statute provides powerful remedies in trade secret matters and should be considered as an option in any case involving misappropriation of trade secrets.

To continue reading this interesting article from mondaq, please click here.

Celera says it is suing rival, former sales reps

The Associated Press
Business Week

Laboratory testing products maker Celera Corp. said Monday it is suing a rival and a group of former employees, alleging they stole trade secrets and illegally took Celera customers and employees.

Celera said its Berkeley HeartLab business filed suit against Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., along with two past HeartLab employees, and five others who left HeartLab on Jan. 1. It alleges Health Diagnostic and the former workers misappropriated trade secrets and interfered with client relationships, and said their actions caused testing volume in the Southeast -- historically the business's strongest region -- to fall by 45 percent from last year.

Agilent Technologies Inc. today announced a favorable decision in its trade secrets and breach of contract case against Advanced Materials Technology, Inc. (AMT) and three of its employees in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Agilent filed the lawsuit in January 2008 to protect confidential and proprietary information relating to its high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) technology.

The decision in favor of Agilent found that the individual defendants, members of AMT's senior management team, breached their employment contracts with Agilent by removing Agilent property without permission, and used Agilent confidential information to benefit AMT.

To continue reading this interesting article from MarketWatch, click here.

Inside Apple's Secret Manufacturing Plants


Ever wonder how Apple manages to keep security so tight around products like the iPad? It all comes down to fingerprint-recognition scanners and lock-down security at the industrial forts that make its products. Here, a behind-the-scenes look at life in those high-tech fortresses.

Apple's obsession with secrecy is the stuff of legend in Silicon Valley. Over the years, it has fired executives over leaks and sued bloggers to stop trade secrets from being exposed.

To read the complete article from Fox News, please click here.

Associated Press

A judge in Philadelphia says an executive who knows the secrets behind the "nooks and crannies" of Thomas' English muffins can't start a job with rival baker Hostess.

Bimbo Bakeries USA, the maker of Thomas' English muffins, says former vice president Chris Botticella accessed sensitive trade secrets on his last day.

To read the complete article from Fox News, click here.

How Diverse Is Silicon Valley?


Not very. In fact, Google, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle and Applied Materials all argued that the race and gender of their work force is a trade secret and so cannot be released. After an 18-month Freedom of Information battle, the San Jose Mercury News won. It's no wonder the companies wanted to keep the data hidden:

The Labor Department data ultimately obtained by the Mercury News shows that while the collective work force of 10 of the valley's largest companies grew by 16 percent from 1999 to 2005, an already small population of black workers dropped by 16 percent, while the number of Hispanic workers declined by 11 percent. By 2005, only about 2,200 of the 30,000 Silicon Valley-based workers at those 10 companies were black or Hispanic.

To continue reading this article from The Moderate Voice, please click here.

Auburn tech company sues Nevada County over trade secrets

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer

AtPac, a technology company that moved to Auburn from Grass Valley in November, is suing Nevada County over what it describes as unauthorized disclosure of proprietary information.

AtPac, which had contracted with Nevada County since 1999, states in the lawsuit that Diaz, Nevada County and Aptitude "accessed, copied and used AtPac's trade secret information and copyrighted software." It also alleges the county provided Aptitude Solutions with direct and unfettered access to AtPac's software and source code, and that county employees posted AtPac's trade secret information on copyrighted screen shots on a publicly available "docushare" site.

To read the complete article from Auburn Journal, click here.

Rio Tinto Employees Charged with Stealing Trade Secrets

In China, four employees of the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto have been charged with 'stealing trade secrets and receiving bribes.'

The indictments--reported through state-run Xinhua news agency--are the latest in a case that has angered the Australian government, and has left Western companies worried about their operations in China.

Among those charged, is China-born Australian citizen Stern Hu. Hu was a lead-iron ore negotiator. After being detained last July, he was held for a month without formal charges, was not allowed to see his family or to contact a lawyer.

To read the complete article from NTDT, please click here.

Goldman Sachs Programmer Indicted, Allegedly Sold Trade Secrets

By Shayna Jacobs
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

A Goldman Sachs computer programmer worked his way through tightly-secured firewalls to steal the company's trading secrets, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.

Sergey Aleynikov, 40, allegedly "transferred substantial portions of Goldman Sachs's proprietary computer code," on his last day of work, June 5, 2009, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office said.

To read the complete article from the DNAinfo, please click here.

Security Chip That Does Encryption in PCs Hacked

AP Technology Writer

Deep inside millions of computers is a digital Fort Knox, a special chip with the locks to highly guarded secrets, including classified government reports and confidential business plans. Now a former U.S. Army computer-security specialist has devised a way to break those locks.

The attack can force heavily secured computers to spill documents that likely were presumed to be safe. This discovery shows one way that spies and other richly financed attackers can acquire military and trade secrets, and comes as worries about state-sponsored computer espionage intensify, underscored by recent hacking attacks on Google Inc.

To read this interesting article from ABC, please click here.

By: Patrick J. McDonnell

A Chinese-born aerospace engineer who had access to sensitive material while working with a pair of major defense contractors in Southern California was sentenced Monday to more than 15 years in prison for acquiring secret space shuttle information and other documents for China.

At Monday's sentencing, Carney declared that he could not "put a price tag" on national security and sought to send a signal to China to "stop sending your spies here," according to the U.S. attorney's office.

To read the complete news article from LA Times Blog, click here.

RedTube, WEG Settle Suit Over Leaked Trade Secrets

By Rhett Pardon

U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Nguyen signed off this morning on an order discharging claims and vacating further motions in the case that pitted two large adult brands over allegations of leaked confidential documents, poached business secrets and cybersquatting.

RedTube.com claimed that a former company officer leaked a confidential memo that provided RedTube.com trade secrets when WEG apparently contemplated purchasing the tube site.

"The confidential memorandum was watermarked so that any copy of the memorandum bore the words 'Web Entertainment Group Inc.' in large type running diagonally from the bottom left-hand corner to the top right-hand corner of each page," the suit said.

To continue reading this interesting article from XBIZ Newswire, please click here.

By Kirell Lakhman

Berkeley HeartLab, the CLIA lab unit of Celera, sued Health Diagnostic Laboratory and several former employees Jan. 14 for alleged "trade secret violations, breach of contract, conspiracy, [and] unfair competition," among other charges, according to a recent blog post.

The suit was filed two weeks after five BHL sales reps decamped to HDL and claims that in October 2008 a former BHL senior vice president founded Health Diagnostic "with the alleged intent to compete with Berkeley by providing diagnostic clinical tests that target cardiovascular disease and disease management similar to Berkeley's clinical programs."

To continue reading this interesting article from Genomeweb, click here.

By Joe Mcdonald (CP)

Google's accusation that its email accounts were hacked from China landed like a bombshell because it cast light on a problem that few companies will discuss: the pervasive threat from China-based cyberattacks.

The hacking that angered Google Inc. and hit dozens of other businesses adds to growing concern that China is a centre for a global explosion of Internet crimes.

The government denies it is involved. But experts say the highly skilled attacks suggest the military, which is a leader in cyberwarfare research, or other government agencies might be breaking into computers to steal technology and trade secrets to help state companies.

To continue reading this interesting article hosted by Google, click here.

Samsung`s Tech Secrets Leaked to Hynix: Probe

Key semiconductor technologies of Samsung Electronics have been leaked en masse to rival competitor Hynix Semiconductor over the past six years through partner companies, prosecutors said yesterday.

Arrested yesterday were the vice president and eight workers of Applied Materials Korea, a semiconductor equipment producer, on the charge of leaking the chip technologies and trade secrets of Samsung Electronics to Hynix.

A Hynix executive was also indicted on the same charge and a combined eight workers from both companies were charged.

In order to continue reading this interesting article from DONG-A ILBO, please click here.

By: Jared A. Favole

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)--A former employee of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) is being charged with stealing trade secrets from the pharmaceutical firm in an attempt to create a competing company in India, according to the federal government.

U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in a statement that Shalin Jhaveri, who worked at Bristol-Myers from November 2007 until Tuesday, stole numerous trade secrets from the company. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

To read the complete article from the Wall Street Journal, please click here.

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