Judge skewers Oracle attorney for revealing Google, Apple trade secrets [Update]

31 10 2016
UPDATE 4:52pm PDT: The judge presiding over the case on Friday neither held Oracle’s attorney in contempt nor issued any sanctions. Instead, the judge ruled that issuing such an order would be “heavy handed.” (PDF) The judge ordered that Oracle would have to pay for Google’s expenses in its successful bid to seal the transcript of the lawyer’s courtroom disclosure—an amount that will be determined later.


The federal judge who presided over the Google-Oracle API copyright infringement trial excoriated one of Oracle’s lawyers Thursday for disclosing confidential information in open court earlier this year. The confidential information included financial figures stating that Google generated $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profits from the Android operating system in the wake of its 2008 debut. The Oracle attorney, Annette Hurst, also revealed another trade secret: Google paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to include Google search on iPhones.


The content in this post was found at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/09/judge-skewers-oracle-attorney-for-revealing-google-apple-trade-secrets/and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

How to Protect Intellectual Property in the Interviewing Process

7 09 2016

During the recruiting process and job interviews, open dialogues and an exchange of ideas take place between the job applicant and the company. However, when intellectual property is involved, both employers and applicants must walk a fine line between building trust versus over-disclosure. Here are some guidelines every prospective employee and employer should know about intellectual property and the interviewing process.


The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2016/09/04/protect-intellectual-property-interviewing-process/id=72468/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Employees Bound By Clickthrough Agreements–ADP v. Lynch

12 07 2016

An employer sued two departing employees for joining a competitor. The employer sought to enforce, among other things, a non-compete clause (the court calls it a restrictive covenant). The employer included the non-compete provision in stock option grant documentation presented to employees electronically, which isn’t surprising because employees will agree to just about anything to get their stock option grants. The employees defended the employer’s lawsuit on lack of jurisdiction. The employer pointed to a venue selection clause that was included in the grant documentation along with the non-compete.



Case citation: ADP, LLC v. Lynch, 2016 WL 3574328 (D. N.J. June 30, 2016)

The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/07/employees-bound-by-clickthrough-agreements-adp-v-lynch.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

Oculus Faces Messy Ownership Claims Over Its Head Mounted Display–Total Recall v. Luckey

3 06 2016

Palmer Luckey, who ultimately developed the much-hyped Oculus Rift, entered into an agreement with a company called “Total Recall”. Although it was not crystal clear, the agreement was technically with Thomas Seidl, one of the partners of Total Recall. The agreement required Luckey to develop a prototype based on feedback from Seidl.

The parties corresponded via email, and Seidl asked for confirmation from Luckey regarding exclusivity:

[j]ust so we are on the same page. With the initial payment . . . I would like excusive rights to your design unless we decide not to use it. I need to cover myself if we pay for development and then end up paying for a competitor.

Luckey responds affirmatively:

[y]es we are on the same page here . . . I am sure we can put together a contract of some sort to finalize it all.

Seidl transferred $798 via PayPal. [Ouch. That Seidl made less than a thousand dollar payment for what turned into a much bigger problem for Luckey is a bummer. Perhaps it will be a minor blip on his radar screen in light of Oculus’s success, but still.]

A few months later, the parties entered into a “Nondisclosure, exclusivity and payments agreement”. It was between Seidl and Luckey and aimed at protecting confidential information, which it broadly defined as “all information or material that has or could have commercial value or other utility in the business in which Disclosing Party is engaged.” It had the standard carveouts from the definition of confidential information. It also included a non-disclosure and exclusivity provision:

The Receiving party shall keep all details including drawings and part suppliers of the Head Mounted Display [a term not defined anywhere in the agreement] confidential and shall not aid any other person or entity in the design of a Head Mounted Display other than the disclosing party. Unless within a twelve month period from 1st july 2011 the receiving party has not received a minimum payment in royalties of 10,000 US dollars by the disclosing party. The exclusivity shall remain in place for a period of 10 years providing a minimum of 10,000 US dollars is paid from the disclosing party to the receiving party per annum.

Luckey developed a prototype and modified the prototype based on feedback from Seidl. Luckey never returned the modified prototype (Seidl does not allege asking for its return). Luckey went on to form Oculus, LLC, and develop Rift, which became a blockbuster on Kickstarter and was ultimately sold to Facebook for 8 figures.

Total Recall asserted a range of contract and tort claims. (The Total Recall partners appear to be involved in some internal dispute regarding their pursuit of this lawsuit, including separate litigation in Hawaii, but the court’s order did not focus on that.)


Case Citation: Total Recall Techs v. Palmer Luckey and Oculus, 2016 WL 199796 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 16, 2016)


The content in this post was found at http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2016/01/oculus-faces-messy-ownership-claims-over-its-head-mounted-display-total-recall-v-luckey.htm and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.

A Legislative History of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016

30 05 2016

Legislative history is, of course, the compilation of the legislative process’ source documents—committee reports, hearing transcripts, bills and floor debate—to understand the Congressional intent behind a law. Such a use is controversial, with no less than the late Justice Antonin Scalia being a leading critic of the practice while Justice Stephen Breyer is one of its most notable proponents. However, lawyers and judges continue to employ legislative history, in some fashion, and will likely turn to it to understand and interpret a law of this magnitude. This article surveys the more significant legislative history documents available for the DTSA.


The content in this post was found at http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2016/05/20/a-legislative-history-of-the-defend-trade-secrets-act-of-2016/id=69082/ and was not authored by the moderators of freeforafee.com. Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.