Scientist prevails in tech trade secrets lawsuit

One of the most important safeguards of trade secrets is to be found in our court system. The U.S District Court for the Northern District of California recently awarded more than $2.3 million to a technology company owner whose trade secrets in electrode design and development were “willfully and maliciously misappropriated” by the founder of the now-shuttered General Capacitor.

Linda Zhong is to receive more than $2.3 million and her Silicon Valley company, Enertrode, was awarded $259,767 by the court.

Zhong and Enertrode used to have a technology license and service agreement with the Tennessee-based General Capacitor and its founder, Jian-ping “Jim” Zheng.

Zhong said the court will soon award punitive damages in the case.

General Capacitor licensed use of the Electrode Manufacture Line, a process that allowed the company to produce ultracapacitors. The company hired Zhong as chief executive officer tasked with overseeing the sophisticated Electrode Manufacture Line process.

As part of Enertrode’s contract with General Capacitor, Zhong developed a method to create lithium electrodes. She applied for a patent. Zheng demanded a copy of the patent application and later, according to Zhong, submitted his own patent application for the process she had developed.

Zhong said she filed the lawsuit “to prove that the intellectual property is mine.” She said that General Capacitor tried to cast her as the IP thief in the trial, but that she’s “extremely happy” the jury “could see the case clearly.”

The lawsuit also accused General Capacitor of breaching the Enertrode contract and using the tech beyond the scope of their agreement.

If you or firm needs to protect your IP or defend yourselves from false accusations of misappropriating intellectual property, contact a San Diego law firm experienced in IP litigation.