Digest of ABB Turbo Sys. AG v. Turbousa, Inc., No. 2014-1356 (Fed. Cir. Dec. 17, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from S.D. Florida. Before Prost, Newman, and Taranto.
Procedural Posture: Plaintiff appeals a 12(b)(6) dismissal of its trade-secret and conspiracy claims. CAFC reversed and remanded.
- Trade Secrets: Because the alleged misappropriation of trade secret occurred over the span of thirty years and involved high-level employees, the district court held that either the plaintiff knew or should have known about the misappropriation earlier and that statute-of-limitations has expired, or the trade secrets were not “subject of reasonable efforts to protect their secrecy” as required by Florida law. The CAFC disagreed, stating that the statute of limitations bar is an affirmative defense and dismissal at the pleadings stage is improper “unless it is ‘apparent from the face of the complaint that the claim is time-barred.’” The CAFC also disagreed that plaintiff “did not sufficiently allege facts showing that it reasonably protected its trade-secret information.” The CAFC noted that the complaint specifically alleges secrecy-maintenance efforts, including confidentiality and nondisclosure obligations as well as restricted access to the trade secrets, and that “Florida law requires only ‘reasonable’ protections and that the complaint stage is not well-suited to determining what precautions are reasonable in a given context.”