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David Pardue Quoted in IAM About Settlement in Yearslong Trade Secrets Case

    Media Mentions
  • March 26, 2024

David Pardue was quoted in IAM about a settlement that was recently reached in a trade secrets case involving the manufacturing of airplane wing parts.

In Arconic Inc. et al. v. Universal Alloy Corp., it was alleged that Arconic had developed and maintained as a trade secret the process for making “stretch-form spar chords” that are used primarily to construct airplane wings. Arconic was the sole supplier of such parts to Boeing until UAC hired away Arconic personnel and began making and selling the parts to Boeing. Arconic alleged that UAC stole its trade secret information, hurting Arconic’s business with Boeing and resulting in $88 million in damages.

While a jury heard evidence that UAC may have stolen information from Arconic, the jury didn’t even consider the question of whether the information was a trade secret or had been obtained improperly. Rather, the jury quickly concluded that Arconic didn’t even own the information. Its verdict came last July.

Last month, a judge noted in an order that the parties had reached a settlement.

"Rather than face the expense and the risk of ongoing matters, Universal Alloy has likely made a settlement that resolved the case favorably in light of another jury verdict," David said. "It would be hard to imagine that what Universal might have paid as part of the settlement, if anything, to end the case approached anything remotely close to what was sought at trial."

David has been a litigator in Atlanta for 30 years and has deep experience in trade secrets.

The case is a reminder about the need for businesses to demonstrate that they've taken steps to safeguard information that is needed for commercial success as well as some of the difficulties involved in trying this sort of case.

"When a party's expert puts a value on the overall damage to a business of a purported theft of information, and some or all of that information is held not to be secret, or not to be owned by the plaintiff, it is very difficult for the plaintiff to regroup," David said. In these situations, the lawsuit can turn into an "all or nothing" gamble that some juries accept while others might not, David added.

Subscribers can read the IAM article here: Nine-year Trade Secrets Spat Over Boeing Wing Parts Reaches Settlement

You can read an article co-authored by David and his colleague about the jury verdict reached in the case by clicking here.

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