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SECRET RECIPE The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has given a suburban Chicago meat-packing company a second chance to go after a chain of pizza restaurants in a trade secret case involving sausage. C&F Packing Co., of Elk Grove, Ill., developed a novel method of precooking and extruding sausage for pizza that avoided the usual “rabbit droppings” shape and texture of pre-cooked sausage, said plaintiff’s counsel Raymond P. Niro. C&F supplied the sausage to Pizza Hut units of Dallas’ Tricon Global Restaurants. C&F charged Pizza Hut with revealing the cooking method to a competitor, IBP Inc., of Dakota City, Neb., the world’s largest meat-packer. Two years ago, a Chicago jury awarded C&F $10.9 million against IBP for trade secret misappropriation. U.S. District Court Judge Ann C. Williams had removed Pizza Hut as a defendant six years ago, before the trial began, saying that the Kansas trade secrets statute under which the case was brought required that claims be made “within three years after the misappropriation is discovered.” But this August, the Federal Circuit reversed that dismissal, saying that evidence in the record suggests several dates on which the meat-packing company could have known about the misappropriation. The appeals court sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. C&F Packing Co. Inc. v. IBP Inc., Case Nos. 99-1312, 1313. Niro, a partner at Chicago’s Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, says that he will go after Pizza Hut and will ask the jury for a $500 million award: “There’s a lot of pizza that’s been sold.” His vegetarianism, he says, predates his initiation into the details of sausage-making. MORE IP BYTES Some Interview. In a suit filed on Aug. 30 in federal court in Delaware, computer chip giant Intel Corp. said that rival Broadcom Corp. has infringed on five of its patents on chips that help create computer networks and display video images. The suit claims that Broadcom’s plan included hiring away Intel employees and gleaning trade secrets during job interviews. Intel Corp. v. Broadcom Corp., CA No. 00-796. Wormed out of it. Rock stars Edgar and Johnny Winter lost their case when a California appellate court found that DC Comics Inc. didn’t defame them by creating two comic book villains in their image. The Winters contend that DC’s use of the Edgar and Johnny Autumn characters in its comic books defamed them and invaded their privacy. The characters — who are albinos, as are the Winter brothers — were conceived after “the rape of their mother by a supernatural worm character.” The Texas-born hard rockers sued DC Comics in March 1996 in Los Angeles Superior Court. The defendants argued that the comics were a spoof protected by the First Amendment. California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal on Aug. 28 upheld the trial court’s ruling that the comic-book drawings don’t amount to libel. Winter v. DC Comics, No. B121021. Not I. Computer software maker Adobe Systems Inc. sued Macromedia Inc. in federal court in Delaware on Aug. 10 for infringing on a patented technology that allows information to be displayed in a particular way on computer screens. In a press release, Macromedia denied any patent violation. Adobe Systems Inc. v. Macromedia Inc., CA No. 00-743 (D. Del.).

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