Monday, May 04, 2009, 5/04/2009 11:54:00 AM

Massive Trade Secrets Case Pits Lockheed Martin Against L-3 Communications in Atlanta Courtroom

By Todd
According to The AmLaw Litigation Daily, a big trade secrets trial is set to begin in Atlanta federal court this week.

Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is seeking $689 million in compensatory and punitive damages from America's sixth-largest defense contractor, L-3 Communications, and its subsidiary L-3 Communications Integrated Systems, for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to its line of marine patrol, anti-submarine aircraft. Lockheed sued four years ago after it lost to L-3 in the bidding for a $427 million contract with the government of South Korea to refurbish eight of these Lockheed anti-submarine planes. Lockheed alleged that L-3 illegally took proprietary information about its planes to get the work.

L-3, represented by Martin Rose of Rose Walker in Dallas, tells the Daily Report that this case ain't about trade secrets. It's about Lockheed's desire to take market share in the business of refurbishing military aircraft. "The trade secret thing is a ruse, frankly," said Rose. "L-3 was the big player--and we still are--in international aircraft refurbishment. Lockheed decided it wanted to get in on that action." Bryan Cave-Powell Goldstein is serving as local counsel to L-3. Lockheed is represented by attorneys from Kilpatrick Stockton in Atlanta and Venable in Washington, D.C., who declined to comment.

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