Tag Archives: FLIR Systems

Should You Be Wary of the Overzealous Use of Trade Secret Claims?

High-stakes trade secret cases are typically aggressively prosecuted. But plaintiffs (and their attorneys) who prosecute these claims face substantial risks if the evidence does not support the contention that a trade secret has been misappropriated. Even a plaintiff who may have initiated a misappropriation action in good faith risks attorneys’ fees and malicious prosecution liability by continuing to prosecute the matter after it learns that the case is not substantiated.

Section 4 of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act authorizes a court to award costs and attorneys’ fees if the court determines that a claim for misappropriation is made in bad faith, and most jurisdictions include this provision. For example, California Civil Code § 3426.4 provides that “[i]f a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith, a motion to terminate an injunction is made or resisted in bad faith, or willful and malicious misappropriation exists, the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party.”

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Latham & Watkins Hit With Malicious Prosecution Suit After Unsuccessful Prosecution Of Trade Secrets Action

Co-authored by Ted Gehring.

On April 6, 2012, Latham & Watkins was sued for malicious prosecution in Los Angeles Superior Court. The suit alleges that the Plaintiffs, William Parrish and Timothy Fitzgibbons, were former officers and shareholders of Indigo Systems Corporation, which was purchased by FLIR Systems, Inc. in 2004. From 2004 to 2006 the Plaintiffs worked for FLIR, leaving in 2006 to start their own business. FLIR retained Latham and sued them for, among other things, misappropriation of trade secrets. The trial court denied FLIR’s request for a permanent injunction, found FLIR brought the trade secrets action in bad faith, and awarded attorney’s fees and costs of $1,641,216.78, which was less than the $2,399,650.55 in attorney’s fees that were requested. The trial court’s decision was affirmed on appeal. FLIR Systems, Inc. v. William Parrish, et al., 174 Cal.App.4th 1270 (2009).

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