Order Pierces Allegations Unsupported By Receivable Evidence In Granting Summary Judgment To All Parties In IP Dispute

In 2011 EarthCam, Inc. ("EarthCam") brought suit against Richard Hermann ("Hermann"), OxBlue Corporation, Chandler McCormarck, John Paulson, and Brian Mattern (collectively "OxBlue") asserting corporate espionage to misappropriate trade secrets. OxBlue filed counterclaims for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, false advertising, false designation of origin, unfair competition, and violation of the Georgia Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

EarthCam is a New Jersey privately held company in the high-end web-based cameral system business. OxBlue is an Atlanta based company in the same business focusing primarily on the construction industry. Hermann is an independent contractor for OxBlue who was formerly employed by EarthCam as a product technician and camera installer. Judge Duffey addressed summary judgment motions filed by all the parties and granted all of them. How did that happen? Read on.

The Court noted that the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, "but only to the extent supported by the record."[1]

OxBlue Motion for Summary Judgment on EarthCam's Claims

OxBlue filed for summary judgment relating in part to a 2006 script written by an OxBlue principal to locate the URL's of EarthCam customers' webpages without decrypting a password or breaking into any secure servers. EarthCam described the use of this script as a Brute Force Attack. The summary judgment motion further addressed 2008 and 2011 incidents where EarthCam clients provided OxBlue with usernames and passwords for customer webpages with EarthCam. In one instance OxBlue logged into the EarthCam system and provided advice on correcting a problem to an EarthCam client. Although this is prohibited by the End User License Agreement, there was no evidence that OxBlue was aware of that license agreement. Finally, OxBlue's summary judgment motion also addressed emails between Hermann and OxBlue that allegedly contained trade secret information.

In considering OxBlue's motion the Court quoted a Ninth Circuit decision that applied Georgia law: "[A] plaintiff who seeks relief for misappropriation of trade secrets must identify the trade secrets and carry the burden of showing that they exist."[2] The claimant is further required to show that actual or potential economic value exists because of secrecy and that the secrecy has been reasonably maintained. Misappropriation is only established by evidence that...

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