ANN ARBOR, Mich. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed a District Court order, granting a preliminary injunction against Satisfied Brake Products and Robert Kahan for misappropriation of Affinia Group trade secrets. Affinia’s trade secrets were stolen by a former employee at Brake Parts Inc., an Affinia company.
In issuing its order, the Appeals Court confirmed that Affinia’s brake pad formulations are protected as trade secrets and that Satisfied obtained these secrets improperly through the payment to former Affinia employee David Lewis.
The Court of Appeals stated, “Lewis admitted that between 2006 and 2008 he accepted thousands of dollars from Kahan to transmit BPI brake pad formulations – many of which BPI had conspicuously marked as confidential.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals said that while Satisfied Brake claimed to have not actually used the Affinia technology purchased from Lewis, an expert witness “effectively concluded that in each instance Satisfied had ‘cloned’ the BPI analogue.”
“One of the greatest benefits we offer our customers is ongoing research and development that results in technical advances within our products,” said Terry McCormack, president and CEO of Affinia. “We will take whatever measures are necessary to assure that our investments in proprietary technology are protected. Vigilance in trade secret enforcement is in the best interest of every ethical company operating within our global economy.”
Affinia obtained a preliminary injunction against Satisfied Brake in 2010 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Satisfied Brake appealed the District Court decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which on Aug. 11 upheld all of the District Court’s findings in granting the preliminary injunction.
The Appeals Court directly confirmed a District Court finding that by using the stolen Affinia technology, Satisfied Brake “knowingly and illegally placed itself in the position to be placed out of business.” The Appeals Court also confirmed the District Court finding that “the public has an interest in the promotion of fair competition and discouragement of unfair competition.”
To review the full text of the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, click here.