Los Angeles Litigation BLOG

How Trade Secret Theft Can Cost Companies Billions

Last week, we discussed how intellectual property theft from China has been called an “emergency” by the Department of Justice. An emergency was declared because trade secret theft siphons off hundreds of billions of dollars from American companies every year. According to a 2013 report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, trade secret theft is responsible for $300 billion in American corporate losses every year. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline is the most recent target of trade theft, after two former employees used stolen data to create their own startup companies. As a pharmaceutical company, trade theft could cost GlaxoSmithKline tens of billions. One of the workers caught up in this scandal had been employed by GlaxoSmithKline for 10 years and had vast knowledge of drug development and manufacturing techniques. This employee stole PowerPoint slides, data concerning the chemical composition of medications and other research and development (R&D)…
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Chinese Intellectual Property Theft Costs US ‘Hundreds of Billions of Dollars’

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has called Chinese intellectual property theft a “national security emergency” that has cost American companies hundreds of billions of dollars and two million jobs. According to the DoJ, Chinese espionage has stolen intellectual property from thousands of American companies. Can American companies fight back against the entire intelligence apparatus of one of the most powerful countries in the world? Unfortunately, no, and the consequences show why intellectual property is so valuable. How American Companies Are Affected by Chinese Intellectual Property Theft In an interview that aired on 60 Minutes, David McGahn, the CEO of American Superconductor, described how Chinese intellectual property theft almost destroyed his company. In 2005, McGahn partnered with a Chinese company to develop superconductors for windmill farms in China. American Superconductor would develop the software to make the windmills run while the Chinese company developed the actual windmills. Aware of the risk…
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IP for IPAs: Why Intellectual Property Matters for Alcohol Makers

Craft breweries, distilleries and vineyards are becoming more experienced with trademark litigation after a series of lawsuits within the alcoholic beverages industry. Many trademark battles within the alcoholic beverages industry involve labeling and branding. For example, Lagunitas filed a complaint against Sierra Nevada over its Hop Hunter IPA. According to Lagunitas, the label on Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter IPA looked very similar to its own India pale ale. Angry social media critics convinced Lagunitas to drop its complaint. In other cases, companies have fought over product names. Sazerac sued Jack Daniels over the use of ‘Fireball’ in its cinnamon-flavored whiskey. Even vineyards are getting caught up in trademark litigation. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates sued Twisted Pine Brewing company over its Northstar-brand beer, which it claims infringes on its Northstar-brand wine. With new lawsuits appearing every month, trademark litigation has become part of the alcoholic beverages business. Trademark Litigation Can Protect…
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Segway to Hoverboard Companies: Stop Copying Us!

Hoverboards have become enormously successful at two things since being released for the holiday season last year: consumer sales and causing injuries. These products are also known as battery-powered self-balancing scooters. The negative media attention surrounding hoverboards has caused manufacturers of similar products to take notice. Segway and its parent company Ninebot, along with DEKA, the inventor of self-balancing scooters, have gone on a patent and trademark lawsuit bonanza. The three companies claim they hold the patent and trademark rights to the technologies being used by other manufacturers. Concerned about the public image of its Segway scooters, Ninebot, Segway and DEKA filed a lawsuit against Investist and Swagway, two other manufacturers of self-balancing scooters. The three companies are also expected to file a lawsuit against Razor, which has been in the scooter business since the 1990s. With so many companies caught up in this mess, customers could easily become confused…
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