Cypress Semiconductor Corp. v. Maxim Integrated Prods., Inc.Annotate this Case
Cypress sued, alleging that Maxim, had misappropriated a trade secret, or was in the process of doing so, by seeking to hire away specialists in touchscreen technology, a field in which Cypress and Maxim compete. Maxim responded that it was entitled to solicit prospective employment candidates in Cypress’s workforce and that there was no evidence it had acquired, or was seeking to acquire, any trade secret. After failing to secure temporary injunctive relief, and failing to obtain an order placing under seal evidence derived by Maxim from public sources, Cypress dismissed the action. The trial court awarded Maxim attorney fees under Civil Code 3426.4, which authorizes such an award to the prevailing party where a claim for misappropriation of trade secrets is found to have been made in bad faith. The court of appeal affirmed, stating that the finding of bad faith was amply supported by evidence that defendants did no more, and Cypress accused them of no more, than attempting to recruit the employees of a competitor. Cypress dismissed the suit to avoid an adverse determination on the merits.