There are several circumstances in which the same facts or transactions at issue in a civil litigation will also give rise to multiple proceedings that will all occur in parallel. These can include a government investigation and subsequent criminal prosecution, civil injunctive relief action, and potentially sanctions proceedings, in addition to the civil action by a private plaintiff.
In fact, this confluence of parallel actions can occur somewhat frequently in trade secrets misappropriation cases. “It has been estimated that intellectual property in the United States is valued at nearly half the entire economy.” It is no surprise, then, that the United States government has thrown itself into taking action against the perceived large-scale theft of American trade secrets, especially by foreign actors. In recent years, the DOJ has placed particular emphasis on vindicating the interests of large corporations that have been victims of trade secret theft. It is thus becoming more common for alleged perpetrators of trade secrets theft to face not only civil litigation from a victim corporation, but also a criminal indictment, and parallel criminal and civil regulatory litigation, on the same facts.
Article was first published in the May/June 2021 issue of IP Litigator.