In Wellogix, Inc. v. Accenture, LLP, LLP the district court entered judgment for the plaintiff — $26.2 million in compensatory damages and $18.2 million in punitives, after a remittitur — in a trade secrets case about software to make oil exploration more efficient. No. 11-20816 (May 15, 2013, revised Jan. 15, 2014). Affirming, the Court: (1) reminded, in the opening paragraph, of the deference due to a jury verdict; (2) detailed the sufficient evidence before the jury of a trade secret, of its inappropriate use by the defendant, of damages, and malice; (3) rejected Daubert arguments about the scope of the plaintiff’s computer science expert’s testimony and the material considered by its damages expert; and (4) affirmed the punitive damages award because it was less than the compensatory damages and the issue of “reprehensibility” was neutral. The Court also analyzed aspects of the relationship between trade secret claims and the patent process. Footnote 4 of the opinion provides a useful guide to the federal courts’ treatment of a “Casteel problem” in Texas jury submissions.
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