Tuesday, November 13, 2007, 11/13/2007 11:01:00 AM

Federal Scientist and Engineer Creates New Twist in Rohm & Haas Trade Secret Battle With Former Employee

By Todd
The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a Department of Energy scientist and engineer has put in his two cents regarding this long-fought trade secrets battle between Rohm & Haas and one of their former employees.

The chemist and engineer, Charles Russomanno, wrote in a two-page, previously undisclosed Energy Department memo obtained by The Inquirer that Lin's research made no use of company trade secrets and was worthy of an $850,000 federal research grant.

Of the lengths to which Rohm & Haas has gone to get access to Lin's research, Russomanno added in a recent interview, "I've never seen anything like this."

What impact the memo will have on the fractious, sealed court battle is far from clear, given the scorched-earth legal tactics by both sides and the refusal of Montgomery County Court Judge Bernard A. Moore to ask for an independent scientific assessment in the case. Here's a timeline detailing some of the key events in this case: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/gallery/11227517.html

We here at Womble Trade Secrets are noticing more and more the federal government and its agents intervening in technical trade secrets battles between private parties. Part of the reason for this is the explosive growth of the government's contracting interests - as the government gets bigger and bigger and becomes a more voracious consumer of technology it has interests that align with one or another party owning certain technology it needs. This is true in the iRobot case and now true in the Rohm & Haas case.

We'll keep an eye on this one for you. You have to hand it to this former Rohm & Haas employee for chutzpah - she's treating the standing court order to disclose her technology like a request and not a command. That makes for strained relations with the court and for an interesting trial.

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