June 19, 2017. Ultraflo Corporation v. Pelican Tank Parts, Inc., et.al., No.16-1085. The Pelican Defendants and the firm were pleased to see the SCOTUS ruling: “The Petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.”
This ruling was the culmination of a ten-year legal dispute involving allegations of trade secret theft, copyright infringement, conspiracy and unfair competition under Texas state law.
The trial team (John Buche, Scott Compton, Greg Ryn) won a jury trial in Houston, Texas federal court. The Plaintiff had sought millions of dollars in damages because of alleged theft of trade secrets regarding valve dimensions. The Plaintiff recovered zero dollars at trial lasting weeks. The Plaintiff appealed the judgment, and specifically an order of the trial court that found a Texas state cause of action for unfair competition by misappropriation preempted. The appellate team for the Pelican Defendants (John Buche, Scott Compton, Byron Ma) argued the case in New Orleans. The 5th Circuit agreed with the trial court judgment and the Pelican Defendants prevailed. The 5th Circuit found that the Texas state causes of action were preempted by federal copyright law. The Plaintiff appealed again, and requested the Supreme Court of the United States to address a split in authority about how the law of preemption was handled by the various circuit courts in the country. The matter was thoroughly briefed by all the parties, but the Supreme Court decided to leave rulings of the lower courts undisturbed. The Pelican Defendants were represented at the Supreme Court by the same team from the 5th Circuit.
The Pelican Defendants are pleased with the outcome. The legal battles were hard fought by all parties and their respective counsel.
The law firm of Buche & Associates, P.C. handles intellectual property and civil litigation at all levels. Not all cases go to the United States Supreme Court, but sometimes it just has to be done when compromise is not an option.
John Buche is a trial attorney with offices in California and Texas. www.buchelaw.com