Legal Question in Intellectual Property in California

I represented myself in civil court as a plaintiff. I sued my ex business partner for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties.

We settled and recently I discovered that the defendant is still using my Intellectual Property, which wasn't a claim in my suit.

I asked the Defendant's attorney to tell the Defendant to cease using my IP and she told me that since I didn't file an injunction to stop using IP in our lawsut that the Defendant owns it and has rights to use my IP in any way he seems fit for ever, with any business he so chooses.

Is this true?

" When you dismissed the action with prejudice, the legal effect of doing so was that you dismissed any claim that Max misappropriated your trade secrets, leaving him able to do whatever he wished with the information you claimed was trade secret. (We, of course, disputed that the information was “trade secret,” but even if it was, Max is now allowed to use the information because no injunction was issued in the lawsuit.) So if Max has opened 25 new companies using the same information that you claim you own, he is free to do so. "

Asked on 6/15/13, 5:59 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Dismissing the action with or without prejudice doesn't bar a subsequent suit for breach of the settlement agreement. It also wouldn't bar a subsequent suit covering different issues and different property. Altogether, it seems relatively likely that you have a viable cause of action, but to be certain an attorney would have to look at (a) the settlement agreement, (b) the dismissed lawsuit, and (c) the essence of the infringement(s) you now claim. I'm fairly close to 95476, am over that way regularly, and would be happy to assist if you contact me directly.

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Answered on 6/15/13, 6:36 pm

Rob Reed Law Office of Robert A. Reed

Settlement agreements usually have waiver of rights and future rights. It is possible that the defense attorney inserted broad language that may have incorporated all intellectual property. They certainly are acting like it. Good luck.

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Answered on 6/15/13, 6:57 pm

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