May was a tough month for all involved in the trade secrets infringement case brought by Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, and Uber, which is also developing self-driving technology. The problem is that Uber hired a former engineer from Waymo to run its self-driving car project, and that engineer may have pilfered Waymo's trade secrets.
Ride-sharing giant Uber is in the midst of a hard-fought battle to get ahead in the exciting field of autonomous vehicle technology. Unfortunately, a judge has just ruled that it took the contest a bit too far when it hired a former engineer from Waymo, Google/Alphabet, Inc.'s self-driving vehicle unit.
By now, you've probably heard that Merck's Idenix Pharmaceuticals unit has won the largest patent infringement verdict in history. Last month, a federal jury in Delaware awarded the company $2.54 billion in damages after finding that California-based Gilead Sciences, Inc., had infringed on Idenix's patents for the Hepatitis C drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi.
A lawsuit was filed in a California court on May 14 against the transportation network company Uber Technologies Inc. as well as its two founders by a businessman who claims that he came up with the idea for the mobile app first. Several of Uber's investors were also named in the lawsuit. The entrepreneur claims that he developed a business model in 2002 that he later shared in confidence with two individuals. One of the individuals went on to become Uber's CEO while the other invested in the San Francisco-based company. Uber was founded in 2009 and now operates in 57 countries.
The star of the popular Food Network show 'Barefoot Contessa" is suing a California company that she says is selling unauthorized reproductions of her products. On Feb. 17, television chef Ina Garten filed a lawsuit against OFI Imports Inc. in a Manhattan federal court. According to Garten, OFI has been selling look-alike versions of her Barefoot Contessa frozen meals without permission.
California residents might be interested to learn about an intellectual property dispute that is going on between two of the largest sportswear manufacturers in the world. In a lawsuit that was filed in Oregon, Nike is alleging that three of its former designers violated non-compete agreements and stole intellectual property by sharing information with Adidas.
A recent patent infringement case in California is an example of the legal action companies can take against other businesses for using their patented products and ideas as their own. Open Text Corp. filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Box Inc. for using their patents without their permission.
What is the most valuable part of your business? Some people might say it's their inventory; others might say it's their location. However, in many cases -- whether or not California entrepreneurs consider it -- the most valuable part of a business is its ideas. After all, without a vibrant culture of innovation, there's not much to set a business apart from its competitors.
Rihanna, the singer beloved by many California fans for her hits like "Umbrella," recently won a lawsuit against a British clothing chain that had unlawfully used her image.
Late last week, the NCAA, which governs collegiate athletics, announced that it will not renew its contract with California-based video-game maker EA when it expires in June 2014.