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Winston Research Corp. v. 3M Corp.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
350 F.2d 134, 146 USPQ 422 (1965)



Mincom (plaintiff) created a new and improved “servo” system, which helped the functionality of tape players and recorders. Before the machine went to market, Johnson, who was in charge of Mincom’s research and development program, left the company and started his own company called Winston Research Corp. (Winston) (defendant). Winston hired former Mincom technicians and in just over a year created a machine with the same functionality as Mincom’s machine. Mincom brought suit for misappropriation of trade secrets. The district court found that Winston had misappropriated Mincom’s trade secrets. The district court granted Mincom a two year injunction, enjoining Winston from selling its newly created machine. The district court chose two years in length because since Mincom was about to start selling the machine, the trade secret would soon be public, and two years was about as long as it would take a third party competitor to develop a similar machine based on the soon-to-be-public information. Mincom appealed, seeking a permanent injunction and money damages. Winston appealed, seeking to have the injunction vacated.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Browning, J.)

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