Mondaq, September 16, 2008
A recent trade secrets case between two competing chemical companies has highlighted the issues surrounding electronic records in the courtroom. As an increasing number of biopharma companies move from paper-based lab notebooks to their electronic counterparts, the number of trade secret cases that rely on digital proof of ownership and content integrity will certainly continue to rise.
This write-up provides a quick summary of Bro-Tech Corp. v. Thermax, Inc.:
Bro-Tech Corp. v. Thermax, Inc., Case No. 05-2330, is a trade secrets case involving Bro-Tech, a designer and manufacturer of Purolite products for purifying air and water. Bro-Tech sued Thermax, one of its competitors, when some of its former employees went to work for Thermax. Thermax counterclaimed, asserting that Bro-Tech was interfering with its contractual relationships by making false accusations of trade secret misappropriation.
Bro-Tech alleges that the defendants stole proprietary Bro-Tech information, generally the basis of nearly any trade secrets case. What is different about this case compared to “old fashioned” trade secrets cases is that both parties, to effectively advocate their positions, must work through a staggering volume of electronic evidence.
The case highlights a few key facts/suggestions about managing electronic documents during litigation:
- “Electronic fingerprints”