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Space Systems Loral to Proceed with Trade Secret Theft Lawsuit Against Orbital ATK

February 11, 2018
Post by Gregory "Lars" Gunnerson

Daniel Wilson of Law360.com reports on Friday, February 2nd, U.S. District Judge Raymound A. Jackson “trimmed two claims from space technology company SSL’s suit accusing rival Orbital ATK of stealing its trade secrets through a shared NASA server, but refused to toss the suit, saying SSL had adequately pled the majority of its allegations.”

SSL was able to survive getting the entire suit thrown because it “had described the nature of the allegedly stolen documents and how they relate to the development of it robotic satellite technology, as well as their competitive value to the company, and had showed that it made reasonable efforts to keep them secret, including through proprietary markings on those documents, and had outlined the purported misappropriation of those documents by an Orbital employee.”

The judge also found SSL pled sufficient factual allegations to support its allegation that Orbital ATK violated CAFA, also known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, a statute enacted to prevent unauthorized access to a federal computer system. Orbital ATK asserts the disputed information was not accessed without authorization and that the access had not resulted in any damages.

Wilson reports the lawsuit arose after NASA informed SSL that there was a possibility some employees had used their access to NASA’s NX server, used by both companies, to access proprietary SSL data relating to potentially revolutionary antenna technology. The NX server shares information between NASA and the two companies and is part of NASA’s “Tipping Point” program. The “Tipping Point” program aims to use public-private partnerships to advance technological progress in the commercial space industry.

Gregory "Lars" Gunnerson is a Patent Attorney in the Mechanical and Electrical Patent Practice Group at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. For additional information please visit www.ipmvs.com or contact Lars directly via email at gregory.gunnerson@ipmvs.com.


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