Sivantos GmbH, a German-based manufacturer of hearing aids, and Sivantos, Inc., a U.S. entity (Sivantos), have secured a victory in a case filed against them for alleged trade secret misappropriation, breach of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), unlawful business practices, and other related claims. On September 13, 2019, Sivantos obtained a final judgment that dismissed the case in its entirety based on a motion for summary judgment granted by the court.
The case involved an allegation by plaintiff Deborah M. Manchester, Ph.D., that she developed a tele-audiology software application called HARP. In 2017, Dr. Manchester filed a complaint against Sivantos and its customers, claiming that Sivantos misappropriated Dr. Manchester’s trade secret and confidential information and sought over $50 million in damages. Dr. Manchester was expected to seek multiples of this amount at trial, which was scheduled to start August 20, 2019.
On August 2, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted Sivantos’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed the claims in their entirety, finding, among other things, that the plaintiff failed to establish that she had a protectable trade secret or confidential information.
In dismissing the claims with prejudice, Judge Otis Wright II noted: “Courts have consistently denied the existence of a trade secret where, as here, the claimed trade secret is submitted without redaction for registration with the United States Copyright Office.”
The court also noted that Dr. Manchester did not mark her information confidential, which was required for protection under the NDA.
Sivantos GmbH and Sivantos, Inc., are part of the Sivantos Group, one of the leading hearing aid manufacturers worldwide.
Sivantos was represented by Alston & Bird partners Yuri Mikulka, Mike Newton, and Chris McArdle and associates James Abe, Caleb Bean, and Wade Perrin of the firm’s Intellectual Property Litigation Group.
The case is Manchester v. Sivantos GmbH, et al., No. 2:17-cv-05309, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.