After a three-week trial in federal court, a jury found Smithfield, Rhode Island-based Alcor Scientific, and its vice president of research and development, Francesco Frappa, liable for willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets, awarding firm client Alifax Holdings SpA of Padua, Italy $6.5 million plus interest.
Pierce Atwood’s team of trial lawyers, led by now-retired partner Robert H. Stier, Jr., former partner Margaret K. Minister, as well as attorneys Michael J. Daly, and Nicole M. Matteo, successfully argued that Frappa, a former Alifax employee, took software and other trade secret information with him when he was recruited to join Alcor in 2011.
The trial focused on the theft of trade secrets, including hardware and software, which enable Alifax’s medical instruments to analyze and provide diagnostic results on patients’ blood samples in only 20 seconds. According to the complaint, until Frappa left Alifax and joined Alcor, no other company in the world made the type of instrument that could compete with the Alifax analyzers.
“This is a great victory for us, and a real credit to the American legal system that a foreign manufacturer can obtain justice against a local company,” said Dr. Paolo Galiano, CEO and founder of Alifax. “Trade secrets are the lifeblood of our product development, and their protection is critical to our innovation efforts.”
Pierce Atwood’s trial team worked closely with Italian counsel Davide Petraz and Elisa Bozzi from the Italian IP law firm GLP, based in Udine, Italy. Mr. Petraz is the managing partner of that firm.
On September 5, 2019, the trial judge upset the jury verdict and ordered a new trial on the liability and damages issues. The damages evidence in the new trial may show that the defendant made even larger profits than the jury considered at the first trial and the impact of prejudgment interest could double a new damages verdict.