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GE sues over disclosure of trade secrets

GE sues over disclosure of trade secrets

Company goes after unnamed upstate New York employee
GE sues over disclosure of trade secrets
Photographer: Shutterstock

General Electric has filed a lawsuit over a recent theft of trade secrets from one of its New York operations.

Legal papers submitted Dec. 29 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York allege John Doe or Jane Doe improperly shared trade secrets with GE’s customers, damaging GE in the process.

It asks the court to award it unspecified monetary damages and issue an injunction blocking further release of sensitive information.

GE’s legal papers say:

  • Doe is a current or former GE employee, and as such, has or had access to confidential or proprietary information concerning industrial products manufactured and sold by GE.
  • A substantial part of the events or omissions resulting in GE’s claims took place within the federal court system’s Northern District of New York, and Doe lives there. (The Northern District covers much of upstate New York, roughly everything east of Ithaca and north of Kingston.)
  • Doe agreed as part of his or her employment contract with GE “not to use or disclose (except as my Company duties require), during or subsequent to my employment, any Company Information or any information of others that Company or its Affiliates are obligated to maintain in confidence.”
  • Starting in November 2017, Doe has used or disclosed trade secrets, including through an email account named “steamturbine101.” (Steam turbines are a main product of GE’s Schenectady manufacturing facility.)
  • GE has developed many trade secrets and taken reasonable measures to keep them confidential, including requiring Doe and other current and former employees to comply with nondisclosure standards and procedures.
  • Doe misappropriated some or all of GE’s trade secrets and continues to do so, and has sent them to GE's customers and potential customers. Doe knew or should have known it was doing so.
  • Doe’s conduct was in bad faith and willful disregard of GE’s rights.
  • Doe obtained the trade secrets through access to GE computer systems and shared them with third parties beyond his or her authorization on a protected computer.
  • GE’s trade secrets are valuable because they are secrets.
  • With intent to defraud GE, Doe obtained or attempted to obtain value from disclosure of trade secrets to third parties, and in doing so caused GE economic damages totaling at least $5,000.
  • Doe’s misconduct interfered with the performance of (and caused or attempted to cause breach of) GE’s contract with its customers, its business relationships and prospective economic opportunities.

GE is seeking damages for actual loss, exemplary damages and other damages allowed by law, plus attorney’s fees, costs and interests. It is also asking the court to block further release of trade secrets through a preliminary and permanent injunction. 

Doe’s conduct has caused substantial and irreparable damage to GE and will continue to do so if Doe is not enjoined, in the short term and long term, from further violations of GE’s rights, the legal papers say.

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