Jasmine Networks v. Marvell Semiconductor (Unpublished)

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Trade Secrets, Misappropriation
  • Date Filed: 07-17-2013
  • Case #: H036684
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Cal. App. 6th Dist.
  • LexisNexis Citation: 013 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 5011
  • Westlaw Citation: 2013 WL 3776188
  • Full Text Opinion

Conversations about appropriation of intellectual property alone do not constitute a misappropriation under the UTSA.

Opinion (Premo): Jasmine Networks, Inc. ("Jasmine") develops semiconductor chips. Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. ("Marvell") was interested in acquiring some of Jasmine's intellectual property and assets, including packet switch fabric technology used in semiconductor chips. After months of negotiation, by August of 2001, no deal had been made. On September 12, 2001 Jasmine filed a complaint against Marvell alleging a conspiracy between many of its trusted employees and Marvell to steal Jasmine's trade secrets and undermine the sale deal. At the heart of the complaint was a voicemail between three Marvell employees discussing civil or criminal repercussions if they incorporated Jasmine's trade secrets into their technology. The UTSA does not explicitly define "use," though case law has interpreted "use" as the incorporation or dissemination of trade secrets for a defendant's own advantage, such as taking the trade secret and applying it to the defendant's own products or services for the defendant's own advantage. Jasmine argues that "use" under the UTSA should actually be even more broadly defined, such that Marvell's voicemail discussion of Jasmine's technology would constitute a "use." The court found that Jasmine's definition of "use" cannot stand under the UTSA. Conversations alone do not constitute a misappropriation. A discussion, in generic terms, of a company possessing a trade secret, and a hypothetical discussion of the possible ramifications against a company's executives if a trade secret is somehow misappropriated, is not "use" as contemplated by the UTSA. Accordingly, he trial court's original judgment was AFFIRMED.

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