Court of Chancery Upholds Forum for Trade Secret Litigation
LeCroy Corporation v. Hallberg, C.A. 4328-VCP (October 7, 2009).
This decision is another example of why Delaware is more frequently chosen to litigate trade secret or unfair competition disputes. For, while the defendant had no ties to Delaware other than its incorporation here, the Court declined to dismiss the litigation on venue grounds. Instead, the Court promptly dealt with the dispute, entering a status quo order, and resolving the venue dispute to get on with the case.
Moreover, it is widely thought that Delaware law is more favorable to protecting trade secrets than other jurisdictions. Delaware, for example, recognizes that it is inevitable that a former employee will use a valuable trade secret in competition with her old employer even if the secret is held only in her head. Other states are not so favorable.
Here, the defendant was dismissed for want of jurisdiction over the non-resident individual. Whether that result would have been the same had her employment contract contained a forum selection and consent to jurisdiction clause for Delaware remains to be seen.