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IP Trial Could Happen 'On 24 Hours' Notice' Due To Pandemic

By Cara Salvatore · February 12, 2021, 6:13 PM EST

A New York federal judge has set a May 3 date for software company Medidata Solutions Inc.'s trade secrets trial against Veeva Systems. But if the Southern District of New York bumps the date as it juggles other trials, the parties could be called to start on 24 hours' notice.

With only a few courtrooms in the Southern District set up for safe pandemic-era trials, U.S. District Judge Lorna Schofield said the court could be calling an audible for a case where Medidata, maker of software that drug companies use to manage clinical trials, claims trade secrets were stolen by former employees who left for Veeva Systems Inc.

Due to "the limited number of courtrooms available and the Southern District of New York's preference for holding criminal trials before civil trials ... the parties shall be ready to proceed on 24 hours' notice on or after May 3," the judge said.

The parties can telephone chambers as the days tick down "if they wish to know where they stand on the trial-ready list," the judge said.

In a sealed ruling earlier in the week, Judge Schofield found some of Medidata's claims were preempted under California law, but she allowed two counts relating to 10 classes of trade secrets to survive. Additional details about the case were not publicly available.

But Judge Schofield found in 2018 that Medidata properly pled that clinical trial management software can be a trade secret under the Defend Trade Secrets Act.

Medidata claims a handful of well-placed Medidata execs made suspicious moves on their way out the door, keeping or emailing themselves confidential documents "and, in one circumstance, actively access[ing] a Medidata file while working for Veeva," Judge Schofield recapped in 2018.

The allegedly stolen secrets include software structure, Medidata customer information and Medidata business plans.

Medidata says it wasn't careless with the information; it made customers and workers sign nondisclosure agreements and limited the number of people who knew its inner workings.

Veeva supposedly gave one of the poached workers $11.5 million worth of stock options, an allegedly "outsized" compensation package that suggested he was being paid for knowledge of the software suite, not his talent, Medidata said.

Medidata is represented by Claudia Ray of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Veeva is represented by Christa Anderson of Keker Van Nest & Peters LLP.

The case is Medidata Solutions Inc. v. Veeva Systems Inc. et al., case number 1:17-cv-00589, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

--Editing by Adam LoBelia.

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