Ninth Circuit Rules Discovery is Permitted to Allow for Trade Secret Identification with Sufficient Particularity

    Amanda Doran

    On October 15, 2020, a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California’s grant of summary judgment in the matter of InteliClear, LLC v. ETC Global Holdings, Inc., finding that “the district court abused its discretion in declining to defer a summary judgment ruling until discovery had proceeded.”

    The district court found that InteliClear failed to define its trade secrets with sufficient particularity without any discovery, but the Ninth Circuit ruled that refining trade secret identifications through discovery is valid, as it allows parties to “avoid being overly specific at the outset in defining their intellectual property.” The trade secret misappropriation dispute began in December 2018, when InteliClear alleged that ETC used the logic and architecture of the company’s security tracking database to develop their own competing system.

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