Motorola Should Have Known of Alleged Violations Sooner, Hytera Says
Wednesday, August 02, 2017 | Comments

Hytera Communications argued that Motorola Solutions’ original complaint in a theft of trade secrets lawsuit shows it was aware of or should have been aware of the alleged theft of trade secrets many years before the U.S.-based company says it was.

“Rather than address the issues in defendant’s motion to dismiss, Motorola’s opposition to defendant’s motion to dismiss includes the same deficiencies and misdirection as Motorola’s original complaint,” Hytera’s response said. “As with the complaint, Motorola’s opposition wastes space with self praise that should not distract the court.”

At the end of May, Hytera filed a motion asking Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan to dismiss the case, arguing that the statute of limitations had passed and that Motorola’s original complaint was too vague for a proper response.

In its original complaint filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in March, Motorola alleged that three former employees of Motorola Malaysia illegally downloaded thousands of documents containing proprietary information and then went to work for Hytera and helped Hytera produce products using that information.

In its response to Hytera’s motion to dismiss, Motorola argued that the statute of limitations had not passed because, under both the Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Illinois Trade Secrets Act, the clock does not start running until the theft is “discovered or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have been discovered.”

Motorola argued that it only recently learned of the theft of trade secrets, which is why the company filed the lawsuit now, even though the alleged thefts occurred more than five years ago.

In its own response, Hytera argued that several statements Motorola made in its original complaint showed Motorola knew or should have known about the alleged theft of trade secrets much sooner than it says it did. The statements Hytera pointed to in Motorola’s original complaint were:
• The technology Motorola says was stolen was publicly disclosed in a patent application listing Hytera as the owner and one of the ex-Motorola employees as an inventor; and
• Hytera was publicly promoting the capabilities of the technology Motorola says was stolen in the United States and around the world; and
• Hytera was openly marketing and selling the accused products in the U.S. and around the world.

“Motorola alleges it did not have any actual knowledge about any misappropriation until recently, and as questionable as that appears, the court must take that allegation at face value for this motion,” Hytera’s response said. “But the complaint alleges facts showing that Motorola should have known the bases for the causes of action for trade secret misappropriation under both Illinois and federal law well before the relevant limitation periods of March 14, 2012, and March 14, 2014, respectively. “

Hytera cited a pair of court cases where the courts determined that a competitor’s marketing and public release of a product provided enough notice that the company should have discovered the misappropriation of trade secrets.

Hytera also reiterated its original argument that Motorola’s original complaint was too vague and did not give enough details on what trade secrets it alleges were stolen. In its response to the motion to dismiss, Motorola said it had met the legal requirements for identifying the secrets and that providing more information at this point in the case could potentially release sensitive and proprietary information to the public.

Hytera argued that the only details Motorola provided are a list of “general document titles that give no information of the documents or the alleged secrets they might contain.”

“… Hytera is not insisting that Motorola disclose its trade secrets in the public version of the complaint,” the response said. “There are myriad ways to identify the trade secrets without disclosing them. What is important, though, is to provide Hytera enough information to answer the complaint.”

In concluding its response, Hytera acknowledged that dismissal of a case based on statute of limitations grounds is rare and said that the “procedural limitations placed on Hytera for a motion to dismiss do not allow Hytera to provide indisputable evidence” that Motorola knew of the violations prior to the statute of limitations expiring.

Hytera asked Judge Der-Yeghiayan, if he chooses to deny the motion, to grant Hytera a short period of discovery focused specifically on the statutes of limitations so that Hytera can file an early motion for summary judgment. In a summary judgment, a judge makes a decision without a full trial.

“This may well avoid lengthy and unnecessary litigation that will burden the parties and the court,” Hytera’s response said.

With both responses filed, Der-Yeghiayan will now consider the motion. The judge has not said when he will make a decision on the motion.

The trade secrets case is one of six cases that Motorola has filed against Hytera. In addition to that case, Motorola filed a patent infringement case in the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois. That case is on hold while the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) investigates a patent infringement case Motorola filed with it. The ITC case is in the discovery phase, and the judge set a target of November 2018 for completion of that case.

Additionally, Motorola filed patent infringement suits in the German regional courts of Dusseldorf and Mannheim and the Federal Court of Australia.

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