Illinois Judge Reduces Damages Hytera Owes to Motorola in Trade Secrets Case
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 | Comments

An Illinois judge reduced the total amount of damages that Hytera Communications owes Motorola Solutions in a theft of trade secrets case from $764.6 million to $543.7 million.

In February, a jury for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois awarded Motorola the $764.6 million in damages after it determined that Hytera had stolen Motorola trade secrets and incorporated them in its Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) products. Motorola first filed the lawsuit in March 2017.

Following the damage awards, Hytera asked the court to reduce most of the damages awarded in the case for a variety of reasons. For some of the damages, which covered a disgorgement of alleged profits that Hytera made from its theft of Motorola trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), Hytera argued that the damages awarded by the jury were merely advisory and the judge could change the amounts.

At the time, District Judge Charles Norgle denied those requests for reducing the damages and noted that while the profits damages were indeed advisory, he agreed with the amounts awarded by the jury. At that time, Norgle said he would release a later order digging deeper into that issue.

In a January 8 order, Norgle said he had reviewed all the evidence in the case and had determined a reduction of some of the damages was necessary. In his earlier decisions, Norgle wrote that, despite Hytera’s objections, it did not constitute double recovery Motorola to receive $135.8 million in disgorged profits and $73.6 million in avoided research and development (R&D) costs. Norgle said that after reviewing the case, a different outcome was necessary, determining that Motorola should receive the $135.8 million, but not the $73.6 million in damages because receiving both would constitute double recovery from Hytera.

That change in the compensatory damages, also affected the amount of punitive damages awarded to Hytera in case. Originally, the jury awarded Motorola $418.9 million in punitive damages. Because those damages were based on the compensatory damages, the judge’s decision reduced the punitive damages to $271.6 million, which combined with the compensatory damages, led to $543.7 million in total damages.

Following the jury’s decision, Motorola asked Norgle for a permanent injunction that would prevent Hytera from selling, distributing or importing products determined to include Motorola trade secrets. In December, Norgle denied that request and instead awarded Motorola a royalty for Hytera’s continued use of its trade secrets. That amount is yet to be determined.

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