Ultratech v. Ensure Nanotech (Beijing): An Ongoing Lesson in Personal Jurisdiction Over Foreign Defendants in Intellectual Property Lawsuits
Volume 12, Issue 2
Stephen E. Belisle and John E. Nappi
In the face of escalating global industrial espionage, companies must vigilantly protect their intellectual property. Indeed, before disclosing to third parties any information that provides a competitive advantage, let alone trade secrets, companies should ensure that each recipient agrees in writing not to disclose or otherwise misuse such information and to be subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts—you never know for whom those recipients may work tomorrow. To some, that may seem obvious and to others, overkill. But the downside of not doing so is presently playing out in Ultratech, Inc. v. Ensure Nanotech (Beijing), Inc. et al. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in which plaintiff Ultratech is battling to establish personal jurisdiction over defendant Dongjun Wang, a Chinese citizen residing in China who owns the defendant companies and who is accused of patent and copyright infringement, trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and breach of contract.
In this article, Mr. Belisle and Mr. Nappi discuss the posture of the case as of June 2015, as well as defendant Dongjun Wang’s pending motion to dismiss Ultratech’s claims as to him for lack of personal jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim. The authors also discuss some key take-home lessons and reminders concerning the disclosure of confidential business information to third parties, whether foreign or domestic.
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