Patent ExpertA trade secret litigation between two autonomous car development companies is scheduled for trial in October. The Northern District of California complaint alleges that a former employee took 14,000 proprietary files and used them to create a new startup in which the tech corporation later acquired. Plaintiff accuses its former engineer of taking driverless car trade secrets with him when he was fired from Plaintiff.

The complaint states:

“[Plaintiff] has uncovered evidence that [a former engineer] in [Plaintiff’s] self-driving car project – now leading the same effort for [Defendant] – downloaded more than 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary files shortly before his resignation. The 14,000 files included a wide range of highly confidential files, including [Plaintiff’s] LiDAR circuit board designs. [He] took extraordinary efforts to raid [Plaintiff’s] design server and then conceal his activities…

In the months leading to the mass download of files, [he] told colleagues that he had plans to set up a new, self-driving vehicle company…

A number of [Plaintiff’s] employees subsequently also left to join [its former engineer’s] new business, downloading additional [company] trade secrets in the days and hours prior to their departure. These secrets included confidential supplier lists, manufacturing details and statements of work with highly technical information…

In violation of [Plaintiff’s] rights, Defendants misappropriated [Plaintiff’s] confidential, proprietary and trade secret information in the improper and unlawful manner as alleged herein. Defendants’ misappropriation of [Plaintiff’s] confidential, proprietary, and trade secret information was intentional, knowing, willful, malicious, fraudulent, and oppressive. Defendants have attempted and continue to attempt to conceal their misappropriation.”

Brian While, COO of RedOwl and guest writer at Entrepreneur.com asserts that “There will no doubt be more allegations of insider theft of trade secrets among technology companies because of the sheer velocity and volume of IP being created.”

When allegations of IP theft arise, the patent expert witness is a crucial member of the litigation team. These experts are knowledgeable on intellectual property rights statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures including the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999.  They are skilled in providing analysis on whether patent infringement has taken place and articulating very technical information to the court in a clear and comprehensible presentation.