Morgan State University Dyno Air v Steady Systems Inc Case Study: Law Answers 2021

Morgan State University Dyno Air v Steady Systems Inc Case Study: Law Answers 2021

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Morgan State University Dyno Air v Steady Systems Inc Case Study

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Dyno Air v. Steady Systems, Inc.
Dyno Air is a Georgia company founded by Air Force veteran Fred Flintstone, who is the company?s
president. Pebbles Flintstone, a Georgia resident, is Fred Flintstone?s daughter and the founder of
Steady Systems, Inc., (?SS?), incorporated in Georgia in March of 2018. Dyno Air alleges that Pebbles
Flintstone and SS have been unlawfully marketing Dyno Air?s patented products and using its trade
secrets to solicit business. In 2002, Fred Flintstone hired Pebbles Flintstone as an employee in Dyno
Air?s sales department. When Pebbles was hired, she was a 21-year-old high school graduate; she had
no advanced education, industry-specific training, or managerial training or experience. According to
the complaint, Fred Flintstone endeavored to give Pebbles the training and experience necessary to
eventually take over Dyno Air. Pebbles was employed by Dyno Air for the next 16 years, during which
time she received raises and promotions as she gained experience and developed necessary skills. Dyno
Air paid for Pebbles to obtain an American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
Certification from the University of North Carolina. The company also allegedly paid for her to be
trained in writing programmable logic controller software for Dyno Air? proprietary and patented
equipment described below. Pebbles was promoted to General Manager in 2016.
Dyno Air makes ?large-scale industrial air-handling systems, including air cleaning and purifying
equipment (i.e., filtration systems); pneumatic conveyance systems (i.e., systems that use pressurized
air to convey material); vacuum systems; and, of particular relevance here, environmental test chamber
systems.? The company sells its environmental test chamber systems to the US military and other
commercial customers under the company?s ?Wind Soft? trademark. These systems allow users to
simulate conditions of blowing sand, dust, dirt, and other particulates that can be encountered in sandy
environments.? Around 2009, Fred and Pebbles Flintstone?working in their capacity as Dyno Air
employees and using Dyno Air? equipment?conceived and developed the Wind Soft? environmental
testing system. Dyno Air filed provisional patent application on December 2, 2009, and nonprovisional
patent application on December 1, 2010. Fred and Pebbles Flintstone later assigned to Dyno Air their
respective right, title, and interest in the Applications, as well as any related patent applications
(including divisional applications) or patents. On May 27, 2014, the Applications issued as US Patent
titled ?Dust and Sand Testing System.?
According to the patent, the system ?is designed for environmental tests that expose test pieces to
particulate matter, typically either sand or dust, entrained in an airflow.? The Patent describes exactly
how, and by what mechanisms, air and particulate matter are circulated through the system.
On April 15, 2014, Dyno Air filed another patent application. It was issued on June 13, 2017, ?Dust and
Sand Test System.? Fred and Pebbles?s assignment as it relates to the Patent was recorded on June 5,
2018. Both patents describes the system using substantially the same language as the first Patent.
Dyno Air alleges that Pebbles have misappropriated its technical and nontechnical trade secrets.
According to Dyno Air, its technical trade secrets include certain proprietary technologies related to its
ventilation systems and test chambers. Its nontechnical trade secrets include: (a) its financial, business
and marketing information and strategies; (b) the names and particular needs of its customers; (c) the
names and particular capabilities of its suppliers; (d) its future product development and refinement
plans; (e) the prices it obtains or has obtained and the prices at which it sells or has sold products; (f)
information that is provided to Dyno Air on the condition or understanding that it be kept confidential,
such as information concerning the Systems strategies, preferences, and needs of its customers; [and]
(g) its own business methods, manner of operation, strategic direction, priorities, and/or plans. Dyno Air
alleges that these trade secrets are ?not generally known to the public and would not be ascertainable
without the expenditure of substantial time, effort, and resources.? Moreover, the company alleges
that the information is ?extremely valuable to [it] and would be similarly valuable to its competitors.?
Dyno Air does not share its confidential or proprietary information (including its trade secrets) with the
public or anyone outside the company. And it purportedly takes various steps to protect that
information, including ?having new employees sign, when they are hired, standard confidentiality and
noncompete agreements; limiting employee access to information on a need-to-know basis; limiting
employee access to company computer systems and email on a need-to-use basis; issuing each
employee to whom access was granted with unique, password-protected credentials to access the
company?s computer systems; and charging its management, including Pebbles, with responsibility for
enforcing those policies and protecting Dyno Air? Trade Secret Information.? Significantly, however,
Pebbles is not bound by a confidentiality agreement.
Pebbles ended his employment with Dyno Air in March of 2018. In the time leading up to his departure,
tension had apparently developed Documents concerning the System. On his last day, Pebbles arrived
at the Dyno Air office uncharacteristically early. When Fred asked Pebbles why he was there so early,
Pebbles informed him that he was leaving the company. Pebbles then purportedly told Fred: ?I?m not
going to do anything illegal, but I?m going to take business from you.? Dyno Air alleges that, before
leaving the company, Pebbles stored Dyno Air? technical trade secrets?critical programmable logic
controller and human machine interface software files?on a laptop computer. These proprietary
software files are used to control operation of a Wind Soft? system for a major military project. Dyno
Air avers that Pebbles took the laptop containing the software files with him when he left the company.
Pebbles has allegedly failed to return the laptop, despite multiple requests from Dyno Air.
After Pebbles left the company, Dyno Air?s military customer?whose software files were taken by
Pebbles?experienced complications that required the original software to be restored on its system.
Dyno Air was unable to restore the software because Pebbles had taken the original version with him.
The client instead contacted Pebbles directly; Pebbles restored the original software on the client?s
system. Dyno Air has confirmed that the software used in the restoration was in fact Dyno Air?s
proprietary software. Dyno Air, with assistance from forensic computer expert revealed that, on
several occasions, Pebbles copied Dyno Air?s highly sensitive files onto noncompany external storage
drives. More specifically, it was uncovered that Pebbles copied his work emails, financial accounting
records, internal business files, customer information, sales and marketing information, engineeringrelated information, manufacturing related information, and other miscellaneous work data. The
expert also discovered that Pebbles had been using his work computer to form SS while he was still
employed at Dyno Air. SS has been attempting to sell components of Dyno Air?s patented systems and
Pebbles has been using Dyno Air?s trade secrets to divert business from Dyno Air to SS. Dyno Air claims,
that Pebbles has been using its trade secrets to siphon business away from one of its South Korean
customers. While serving as Dyno Air?s General Manager, Pebbles had gained extensive knowledge of
confidential business, financial, and customer information concerning the company?s business
development in South Korea. Pebbles was responsible for contract negotiations between Dyno Air and
customers in South Korea, and he travelled there to meet with those customers the year before he left
the company. Dyno Air alleges that in May 2019, Pebbles and a former Dyno Air employee now
working for SS traveled to South Korea to meet with Dyno Air? customers. Pebbles and his associate
allegedly spent several weeks in a region of South Korea where one of Dyno Air? key prospective
customers is located. Dyno Air asserts that Pebbles has also held herself out as the owner of Dyno Air?s
patents for its Wind Soft? systems. While at Dyno Air, Pebbles was the primary contact for the US Navy,
which was and remains one of Dyno Air?s customers with respect to the Wind Soft? systems. After
Pebbles? departure, a Navy employee contacted Dyno Air and informed them that Pebbles had
represented that she owns the patents, possesses the Wind Soft? drawings and schematics, and has the
exclusive right to sell patented Wind Soft? systems.
Specific Instructions
You are on the Dyno Air Team.
First answer the following questions:
(This is the beginning of your project after your title information. Submit each question making sure you re-state
the question and then the answer. Do not provide an answer without stating the question.)
1. What government agency(s) has/have jurisdiction over this case?
2. Provide any relevant statutes regarding this case as it deals with Trade Secrets. Properly cite the
statutory law.
Secondly, prepare Dyno Air?s position on the theft of its trade secrets, using the law and relevant facts.
You should provide your case response in IRAC Form- (See Legal Writing Modules)
State your ISSUE clearly. (Always in the form of a question)
RULE ? Relevant Law
Analysis ? This is where you present your response in writing. It should have relevant case/ statutory
law to support your position.
Conclusion ? Clearly state how the Court should find based upon your Analysis.
Please make sure you review the legal writing modules and the Project modules for proper form.
If you use information from a source, make sure you provide credit for the source of your information.
This assignment is worth 20% of your grade. Make sure you write in complete and grammatically
correct sentences.
************ Remember this is a hypothetical matter and has not gone to
court!!! Please do not tell me about a case involving Dyno Air unless you are
using it in your analysis or case law. This case has not been litigated.
**************

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