Northern Electric Company, Inc. v. Patrick L. Torma, Jr. et al.

William Leigh Wilson

Case Conclusion Date:June 29, 2007

Practice Area:Intellectual Property

Outcome:Defendant's verdict reversed on appeal

Description:Torma was a former employee of the plaintiff. While working for the plaintiff as a servo motor technician, Torma collected and collated servo motor repair data in a useful form. The data was collected on company time, but Torma used his own time and equipment to organize the data into a useful compilation. After Torma left the employment of the plaintiff, he kept his compilation. The plaintiff sued for trade secret misappropriation. After trial, the St. Joseph Superior Court determined that Torma had not misappropriated any trade secrets belonging to the plaintiff. Instead, the court found Torma had created a useful compilation on his own from data that the employer still had. The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, concluding that the organization of the employer's data is not the kind of intellectual exercise that the law intends to protect. On remand, the trial court entered judgment against Torma and awarded damages to the employer.