Friday, October 13, 2006, 10/13/2006 08:10:00 AM

Not Much of A "Trade Secret" - Oops

By Todd
Stellar-Mark is a company that sells coating materials for use in the fabrication and repair of parking decks. It apparently had a beef with a company called Advanced Polymer Technology Corp. - so it sued it and a couple of former associates. In federal court. Among the numerous claims it brought against the defendants was a trade secret misappropriation claim. The court, nonplussed by the litigation efforts and failed allegations of Stellar-Mark, noted that the "trade secret" was identified in discovery as being Stellar-Mark's system of labeling the use of its products and that Stellar-Mark's products come in two separate containers and the labeling advised the user that he/she must mix the contents of the Stellar-Mark product in container A with the contents of the Stellar-Mark product in container B. The court noted that this did not appear to be much of a secret at all - as it was actually specified for customers to use. That, and a lot of other factual inaccuracies and advocacy defects, ended up with the federal court issuing an order that Stellar-Mark and its attorneys needed to show cause why they shouldn't be sanctioned for violating Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The case is cited as Stellar-Mark, Inc. v. Advanced Polymer Technology Corp., 2006 WL 2860924 (October 4, 2006 D. Minn.).

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