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Kadant, Inc. v. Seeley Machine, Inc.

United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
244 F. Supp. 2d 19 (N.D.N.Y. 2003)



Corlew was an employee of Kadant, Inc. (Kadant) (plaintiff), where he used a computer assisted drawing machine to make manufacture drawings of Kadant’s products, which consisted of cleaning supplies for papermaking machines. Corlew had signed a confidentiality agreement stating that he would not use any information in the drawing machine for his personal benefit. Corlew was fired in the summer of 2001. In April 2002, he began working for Seeley Machine, Inc. (Seeley) (defendant). Seeley began manufacturing cleaning products that it claims were reverse engineered from existing products, including Kadant’s cleaning nozzles. Kadant brought suit, claiming that there was no way Seeley could have reverse engineered Kadant’s nozzles in the short period of time Corlew was working for Seeley. Rather, Kadant claimed, Corlew had stolen Kadant’s design specifications which were trade secrets. Seeley claimed that reverse engineering Kadant’s products was relatively easy and did not take a significant amount of time. Kadant presented no evidence that Corlew stole the design specifications, instead relying on the inference that, given the quick time in which the products were reverse engineered, Corlew must have stolen the designs. Kadant filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Hurd, J.)

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