The recently-settled trade secret action Waymo v. Uber has received plenty of attention over the past year. This IP Chat Channel webinar won’t focus on the one-off oddities in this case, although there were plenty of them. Instead, the program will examine the dispute as a test case for the new federal trade secret law, the DTSA.
The conclusion reached? Despite the touted advantages, there are serious new perils that should be considered by plaintiffs who are contemplating going to federal court instead of filing in the traditional venue of state court. Our panel, two top trade secret litigators and a mediator who was previously in-house, will analyze this Northern District of California litigation, as well as other recent cases in other federal courts, illustrating how the risks of using the DTSA to bring suit compares to the benefits. They will discuss how:
- Federal judges have been making rigorous demands for specificity of TS description, both at the pleading stage and at the gateway to discovery. For instance, in Space Data v. X, 16-cv-03260-BLF (N.D. Cal. 2017), the defendant’s motion to dismiss was granted because of the failure to specify. The defendant also prevailed on summary judgment in Kuryakyn Holdings, LLC v. Ciro (W.D. Wis. 2017).
- Federal courts are more likely than state courts to challenge experts and theories of harm. In Telesocial v. Orange (N.D. Cal., 2017), plaintiff’s expert report was thrown out and a federal jury largely cleared the defendant. In Waymo v. Uber, the court excluded a damages expert under FRE 702 and 403, for insufficient qualification and for failure to separate benefits derived from the trade secrets from those derived from other, legitimate advantages.
The advantages and disadvantages must be analyzed carefully by trade secret plaintiffs thinking of seeking redress under the DTSA. The panel will also discuss the legal twists and turns that led to the unexpected settlement in Waymo v. Uber.
- Diane Danoff, Dechert LLP
- James Pooley, James Pooley, PLC
- Barbara Reeves, JAMS