The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a $24 million judgement in favour of Tyco Electronics Corporation against electronic components manufacturer Bourns, Inc.
The lawsuit was initiated in 1994, when Raychem Corporation, which was subsequently acquired by Tyco Electronics, sued Bourns and former Raychem employee Steve Hogge for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets and interfering with employee contracts.
Bourns filed a countersuit alleging that Raychem had monopolised commerce in various markets with its PolySwitch polymeric positive temperature coefficient thermistors, which are used for resettable circuit protection.
Following the consolidation of the two lawsuits, and trials in 1998 and 2000, Tyco Electronics was awarded $24 million on its claims against Bourns and Hogge. Although Bourns had originally sought damages in excess of $1 billion on its counterclaims, it was awarded just $105,000 on its antitrust claims against Tyco Electronics.
Both parties appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
In June 2003 the Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the $24 million judgement in favour of Tyco Electronics on all claims against Bourns. The Court of Appeals also reversed in its entirety the judgement in favour of Bourns against Tyco Electronics, and held that Bourns had failed to establish ‘antitrust injury.’
In August 2003 the Court of Appeals denied Bourns’ request for a rehearing, effectively ending the dispute.
‘We are very pleased with the outcome in this case,’ said Justin Chiang, General Manager of Tyco Electronics’ Power Components Group. ‘We feel that Tyco Electronics and Raychem have been completely vindicated.’
‘We have invested heavily in our intellectual property over the years and will continue to defend our trade secrets and more than 100 patents worldwide related to polymeric PTC technology,’ added Chiang.