Thursday, April 20, 2006, 4/20/2006 08:50:00 AM

You Gotta Show Those Cards . . . .

By Todd
After many years of litigating misappropriation of trade secrets cases, the authors of this blog have learned most of the tricks of the trade. One of those tricks is to make sure you have convinced the judge in the case that your client actually has and maintains demonstrable trade secrets. Seems common sensical.

That said, there are a significant number of cases where courts simply refuse to grant any injunctive relief to the allegedly harmed party because they have neither pled, nor proven, their trade secrets with any particularity. Such was the case recently in Medtronic, Inc. v. Elan Pharma Intern. Ltd, 2006 WL 983909 ( D. Minn. April 13, 2006)(slip copy). Medtronic and Elan Pharma were apparently partners trying to make a machine to administer certain drugs to patients. Medtronic made the machine and Elan Pharma made the drug. At some point, however, the relationship broke down and Medtronic was fearful that Elan Pharma was going to release Medtronic's confidential information to the world - so they sought a TRO and PI. Makes sense.

The court held that no injunction would issue because Medtronic pled and proved its trade secrets only in categories, not in particulars. The lesson for all litigators in these matters is that when the pit boss asks to see the cards, you have to show them - you can't just say what you're holding.

Medtronic, Inc. v. Elan Pharma Intern. Ltd.


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