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- LivePerson said former collaborator stole secrets, sabotaged platform
- Jury found all 15 trade secrets misappropriated
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(Reuters) – A jury in an Oakland federal court awarded conversation software company LivePerson Inc more than $30 million on Thursday for competitor 7.ai Inc’s misuse of trade secrets related to LivePerson’s clients Optus, Capital One and Sears.
In one of the first in-person trials in the Bay Area since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the jury found that San Jose-based 7 stole trade secrets in New York-based LivePerson’s online chat platform and customer engagement technology.
LivePerson’s attorney Adam Alper of Kirkland & Ellis said he was happy for LivePerson, a “tech leader that was fundamentally wronged.” His co-counsel Mike De Vries, also of Kirkland & Ellis, said the verdict “vindicates LivePerson’s pioneering technology and strongly condemns the other side’s conduct.”
7 and its attorneys Darin Snyder and Luann Simmons of O’Melveny & Myers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar presided.
The parties entered an agreement in 2006 to co-market LivePerson’s technology with 7′s agents to prospective clients, under which LivePerson gave 7 access to its confidential technology, it said in its 2014 complaint.
The complaint was originally filed in Manhattan federal court, and the parties agreed to move the case to California in 2017.
LivePerson accused 7 of using its secrets to create competing technology, interfere with customer relationships and sabotage its live-chat services.
7 argued that the software rules and data at issue weren’t trade secrets, and that it had permission to use them.
The jury found that 7 misappropriated all 15 of LivePerson’s alleged trade secrets, and awarded it more than $6.7 million in compensatory damages and over $23.5 million in punitive damages.
A second trial in the case over trade secrets related to another LivePerson customer, W.W. Grainger Inc is yet to be scheduled. 7 has separately sued LivePerson for allegedly infringing several of its patents.
The case is LivePerson Inc. v. 7.ai Inc., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, No. 4:17-cv-01268.
For LivePerson: Adam Alper and Mike De Vries of Kirkland & Ellis
For 7: Darin Snyder and Luann Simmons of O’Melveny & Myers
Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org