2 May 2019

Court dismisses trade secrets theft claim against LG

South Korean company  LG Electronics has been successful in its bid to have allegations of unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation against it dismissed.

In a ruling on Tuesday, April 30, the  US District Court for the Northern District of California granted the electronics company’s motion to dismiss the allegations by US-based solar company  Alta Devices.

In its ruling, the court said there was no material distinction between the wrongdoing alleged in Alta’s claims of unfair competition and trade secret misappropriation. As a result it said the trade secret claim preempts the claim of unfair competition, which would be dismissed.

The court also dismissed Alta’s claim of trade secret misappropriation, citing Wang v. Palo Alto Networks which found that a complaint should be filed within three years of notice of potential misappropriation.

It found the notice of potential misappropriation in the present case was June 2012. But, Alta did not file a complaint against LG until January 2018 and therefore the claim of trade secret misappropriation was time-barred.

In its complaint, Alta claimed that through a non-disclosure agreement between the two parties in 2013, LG had gained information “showing the financial and technical feasibility of the mass-production of Alta Devices’ solar film technology … as well as other confidential information”.

“LG intentionally began to plan how to develop in-house Alta’s technology, by using trade secrets fraudulently acquired from Alta through its misappropriation,” the complaint said.

Alta said that after receiving this information, LG declined to make binding a previous tentative investment offer.

It said LGE was now marketing “a very similar thin-film solar technology in competition with Alta”.

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15 April 2019   A US jury has ordered LG Electronics to pay $45 million in damages for wilful infringement of a patent owned by UK-based Mondis Technology and Japanese company Maxell Holdings.