• Feb 22 2019
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  • Category: CAFC Updates

CODA Development (“Coda”) filed a complaint against The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company seeking correction of inventorship in several Goodyear patents and alleged, among other things, that Goodyear misappropriated Coda’s trade secrets. The district court dismissed the complaint for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and following the dismissal, denied Coda leave to amend its complaint. Coda appeals. The CAFC notes the “plausibility standard” for correction-of-inventorship claims, and concludes that Coda successfully nudged their claims across the line from conceivable to plausible. The CAFC further finds that the district court erred in resolving a disputed factual issue (whether a prior art article disclosed alleged trade secrets) adversely to Coda on a motion to dismiss without converting Defendants’ motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment and giving Coda a reasonable opportunity to present all pertinent material. The CAFC notes that determining when Coda discovered (or by the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered) its trade secret claim is fact specific and involves issues that go more to the merits of Goodyear’s statute-of-limitations defense than the complaint’s sufficiency. Considering only the complaint, and drawing all reasonable inferences in Coda’s favor, the CAFC concludes that the district court erred in dismissing Plaintiffs’ trade-secret-misappropriation claim as time-barred.  Accordingly, the CAFC vacates the district court’s dismissal and remands.

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