US court reinstates Seagate's $630M trade secrets award against Western Digital


by CBR Staff Writer| 23 July 2013

Seagate sued its former employee Sining Mao and Western Digital to prevent them in revealing trade secrets.

Data storage firm Seagate Technology has won a Minnesota state appeals court's reinstatement of a $630m arbitration judgement against its rival Western Digital in the trade secrets lawsuit.

Seagate earlier won a sanctions award by an arbitrator who found that Western Digital had provided the false evidence with respect to trade secrets.

A lower court, however, threw out the award and found that the arbitrator did not consider Western Digital's defences.

Bloomberg reported the latest court's ruling which said an arbitrator didn't exceed his authority in awarding Seagate $525m plus interest in its dispute with Western Digital and one of its employees who previously worked at Seagate.

According to Bloomberg, the appellate court said: "The district court erred by determining that the arbitrator did not have authority to impose sanctions. The district court should not have reviewed the merits of the arbitrator's decision."

Seagate sued its former employee Sining Mao, who left the company to join its rival, and Western Digital to prevent revealing of trade secrets.

Citing the state appeals court opinion, the news agency reported that the arbitrator found that Mao fabricated PowerPoint presentation slides in an attempt to disprove allegations that he might reveal sensitive information.

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