Saturday, March 28, 2009

2d Circuit decision re presumption of irreparable harm in trade secret cases

The Second Circuit appears to have made it a bit more difficult to rely upon a presumption of irreparable harm flowing from a finding of misappropriation of trade secrets.

In Faiveley Transport Malmo AB v. Wabtec Corp., No. 08-5126 (2d Cir. Mar. 9, 2009), the Court held that it is “not correct” that a “presumption of irreparable harm automatically arises upon the determination that a trade secret has been misappropriated.” Slip op. at 10-11 (emphasis added). The court stated that “[a] rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm might be warranted in cases where there is a danger that, unless enjoined, a misappropriator of trade secrets will disseminate those secrets to a wider audience or otherwise irreparably impair the value of those secrets.” Id. at 11 (emphasis added). In contrast, the court noted that damages would tend to be a complete remedy when the “misappropriator seeks only to use those secrets . . . .” Id. (emphasis added). Because there was no evidence that the defendant intended further dissemination, only use, of the trade secrets, the court vacated the preliminary injunction in the case.

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