10 Big-Money IP Verdicts in Trade Secret Litigation
Trade secrets, which in the world of intellectual property often take a back seat to patents, copyrights, and trademarks, have of late gained a prominent and important spot in global discussions of IP.
Stories of international “cyber-espionage” have been grabbing headlines. Washington, D.C., lawmakers have introduced legislation designed to make it easier for companies to file civil suits in federal court when their trade secrets are stolen. And now that the act of stealing trade secrets appears to have moved beyond corporations to state-sponsored theft, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden have taken up the issue with high-level officials in China.
Trade secret theft, of course, is not new. And much of it happens on the domestic front—between U.S. companies. In fact, companies over the last five years have been a lot more vigilant in protecting their trade secrets and prosecuting those who steal them, according to Rob Shwarts, a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe who specializes in trade secret litigation.
“These cases are expensive and can take a long time,” Shwarts told CorpCounsel.com, “but when the conduct is truly egregious and the stolen asset is highly valuable, the payoff can be very big.”
In fact, litigation related to trade secrets can result in the kind of multimillion-dollar verdicts usually associated with patent infringement lawsuits.
Recently, the Orrick blog Trade Secrets Watch reviewed trade secret misappropriation cases from the past decade and published the 10 largest verdicts on record, noting any post-verdict information when available.
With permission, we publish Orrick’s findings here: