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Court of Chancery Resolves How to Treat Preemption Issue

Posted In Business Torts

Petroplast Petrofisa Plasticos S.A. v. Ameron International Corp., C.A. 4304-CC (October 28, 2009)

When does the Uniform Trade Secrets Act preempt claims arising out of the misuse of documents based on other legal theories such as  conversion? While not answering that question definitively, this decision does go a long way to clarifying how to decide that issue at the pleading stage.

Briefly, it holds that, if the alternative legal theory may be applied after trial because the documents in dispute are found not to be trade secrets under the Trade Secret Act definition, the case should go forward on alternative theories of recovery. This let the Court decide the case on the evidence and not some preliminary assessment based on the pleadings alone.

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