In a recently-issued decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, our Washington, DC appellate team secured a jury verdict reversal against our client, Silikal GmbH.
The case involves contractual and intellectual property claims under Georgia law relating to sales of a resin manufactured by Silikal used to coat industrial floors. Our lawyers took over the case on appeal and were not involved in the trial court proceedings.
The plaintiff, AcryliCon USA, held licensing agreements to sell Silikal resin in the United States. In the trial court, AcryliCon alleged that it had exclusive rights to a trade-secret formula for the resin and that Silikal misappropriated that trade secret by making sales of the resin in foreign countries. AcryliCon also alleged that those sales violated the terms of a prior settlement agreement.
At trial, the jury found against Silikal and for AcryliCon for trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract. The court awarded AcryliCon US$1.5 million in compensatory damages, US$3 million in punitive damages and more than US$1.3 million in attorneys' fees, a total of more than US$5.5 million.
On appeal, after two rounds of briefing and oral argument, the Eleventh Circuit reversed and vacated the trial court's judgment. In the relevant part, the court held that AcryliCon USA had failed, as a matter of law, to prove misappropriation. The evidentiary failure invalidated the judgment on misappropriation and the punitive damages award.
On the contract claim, the Eleventh Circuit accepted Silikal's argument that AcryliCon had failed to prove it was entitled to any damages under Georgia law, meaning AcryliCon USA was entitled only to nominal damages. Finally, the Eleventh Circuit vacated the fee award and remanded it for further consideration in light of its reversal of the jury verdict.