In the third and final installment of this trade secret litigation series (be sure to check out part one and part two), we visit hypothetical U.S. company SFilm as it pursues its hard-fought relief against a Chinese competitor that had stolen its most valuable trade secrets. After winning a federal jury trial, pursuing multiple nonlitigation efforts and cooperating in the U.S. government’s investigation of the defendant’s actions, SFilm may finally obtain financial compensation and return of its technology. But the fight is far from over. SFilm faces yet further obstacles from the defendant, running the gamut from corporate reorganizations designed to shield assets to protracted enforcement litigation designed to run up costs.
Facing a large jury verdict and a federal government investigation normally would cause a defendant to surrender. But the Chinese company has every incentive to delay and impede enforcement of SFilm’s judgment. For SFilm’s competitor, there is no “plan B” because there never was any business model other than to steal trade secrets.
How can SFilm respond to the multifaceted legal, corporate and media attacks? Here are several actions SFilm takes to respond to these aggressive post-verdict actions.
1. Issue post-verdict discovery. The post-judgment litigation rules allow for broad post-judgment discovery into the Chinese company’s ability to pay the damage award. This is done as soon as possible after the verdict, even though SFilm does not have a complete picture as to the other side’s financial structure. Immediate discovery requires the placement of a document hold on the adverse party and allowing SFilm to generate a comprehensive picture of its competitor’s assets over time, including just before the verdict.