Stafford Trading, Inc. v. Lovely, No. 05 C 4868, 2007 WL 1512417 (N.D. Ill. May 21, 2007) (Coar, J.).
Judge Coar granted in part declaratory judgment plaintiffs’ (collectively "Stafford") motion to dismiss and denied Stafford’s summary judgment motion. The Court dismissed defendants’ fraud and unjust enrichment counterclaims after holding that they were preempted by the Illinois Trade Secret Act. The Court also dismissed defendants’ fraudulent concealment. The material fact that Stafford allegedly failed to disclose was the opinion that Stafford owned the RIVAS electronic options trading platform outright. But the Court held that an allegedly withheld opinion could not support a fraudulent concealment claim.
The Court’s summary judgment decision turned largely upon whether RIVAS was a computer program protected by copyright or a "methodology" protected as a trade secret. The Court held that it had insufficient evidence to make the determination. Furthermore, neither party briefed the issue of what effect the copyright/methodology would have upon defendants’ alleged oral contract between the parties which allegedly made the parties co-owners of RIVAS. The Court denied summary judgment as to defendants’ breach of contract counterclaim because the existence of an oral contracts and its terms were both disputed facts. Finally, the Court denied summary judgment as to defendants’ trade secret counterclaim because, whether RIVAS was determined to be protected by copyright or trade secret, the parties disputed whether defendants employed sufficient means to protect RIVAS’s secrecy.