Posted in Trade Secrets on October 31, 2012
This week’s IP news sounds like good (or, depending on your perspective) television: secrets and lies! More specifically, trade secrets and counterfeits. This is law, after all. Here’s what’s been going on:
- Have you ever seen Motley Crue live? Or, have you ever seen a Motley Crue video? Then you’ve probably seen Tommy Lee hanging from the ceiling, playing the drums upside down. The Tommy Lee Loop Coaster was purportedly developed more than 20 years ago by an outside party, who pitched the idea to the band. Various confidentiality agreements were signed. Fast forward to 2011, when the outsider, Howard King, allegedly learned that the band used his idea on their last tour, and disclosed information about the apparatus to another company, which developed their own version. King is now suing Motley Crue for trade secret misappropriation and more than $400,000.00 in damages. You can read the complaint here.
- In more “everyman” news: your vacuum cleaner. Dyson recently filed suit against Bosch in British court claiming that Bosch stole corporate secrets by planting a mole within Dyson’s research and development department. Dyson says that the individual passed along information regarding the company’s motor technology for nearly two years. Bosch, however, says that the individual in question was hired to work on garden products, not vacuum cleaners. The company also denies liability.
- We’ve talked before about how rampant counterfeiting is in China and how it is on the International IP Watchlist. But it turns that out China has been making efforts to combat piracy. These efforts seem to have gone largely unnoticed—including by one writer from The Atlantic, until the writer recently attempted to purchase a pirated DVD on the street, and then on the internet. Apparently it’s not as easy as it used to be, and that’s good news for everyone.
- We also recently discussed the new federal IP task force. The squad recently busted a major counterfeiter of automotive accessories. Katiran Lee allegedly conspired to sell more than $3 million in counterfeit automotive diagnostic equipment and other devices, including programmed keys and key fobs. The products were sold on eBay as well as Lee’s own web site. The government is now looking to obtain his computers and programming equipment, among other items found at his home earlier this year.