McDermott Secures Landmark Jury Win Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act; Verdict is First of its Kind
WASHINGTON, DC (February 27, 2017) — Litigators from international law firm McDermott Will & Emery secured a decisive victory on behalf of specialty food company Dalmatia Import Group, Inc. (“Dalmatia”) in the case of Dalmatia Import Group, Inc. v. FoodMatch Inc. et al. The landmark verdict is the first obtained by any law firm under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, which was signed into law in 2016.
On February 24, 2017 the jury handed down its verdict in favor of Dalmatia in a bet-the-company matter involving trade secret, trademark infringement, and counterfeiting claims surrounding Dalmatia’s award-winning fig spread. Dalmatia is the market leader in specialty fig jam products found in grocery stores and gourmet food shops across the country. A year ago, Dalmatia discovered that its former business partners, New York-based FoodMatch, Inc. and Pennsylvania-based Lancaster Fine Foods, Inc., were working together to launch an impersonator jam called “Divina fig spread.” Around that same time, Dalmatia also learned that those same business partners had sold and distributed fig spread under Dalmatia’s label that was rejected for sale by Dalmatia, and, in other instances, produced and sold fig spread under Dalmatia’s label in Dalmatia’s trademark jars without Dalmatia’s knowledge or consent.
Throughout 2016, McDermott battled in the Southern District of New York, in arbitration, and in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the case culminated in a four week jury trial. After deliberations, the federal jury found FoodMatch and Lancaster liable for misappropriation of trade secrets, trademark infringement, and counterfeiting. The jury’s verdict will lead to entry of a judgment exceeding $5 million dollars, along with an injunction preventing future use of Dalmatia’s trade secrets.
“McDermott’s trial team was on the cutting edge of the interpretation of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, and I was proud to watch our lawyers in action while ultimately achieving a complete victory for the client.” said Sarah Columbia, global head of McDermott’s Intellectual Property Practice.
The trial took place in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania under docket number 16-cv-02767. The case was tried by partner Michael S. Nadel, Natalie Bennett, and Jennifer Routh from the Firm’s Washington, DC office, along with Lauren Handel of the Handel Food Law Firm.
About McDermott Will & Emery McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dallas, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. Further extending our reach into Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.