Joseph M. Gusmano

Monday, September 26, 2005
10/18/2004 10:53:10 PM|||Joe|||

This is not mission-compliant on either the Patent Project or the Trademark Project, but I include it here for completeness, to get the opinion links for the Ninth Circuit, and because I do not often deal with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. 1030 (USDOJ version here). In Creative Computing v. Getloaded.com LLC (CIR9 10/15/2004) the defendant operating getloaded.com was caught by the operator of truckstop.com with its hand in the loadmatching cookie jar.

Liability in the suit was based on the Idaho Trade Secrets Act and the relatively obscure civil provisions of the CFAA, which is at 18 U.S.C. 1030(g):
Any person who suffers damage or loss by reason of a violation of this section may maintain a civil action against the violator to obtain compensatory damages and injunctive relief or other equitable relief. A civil action for a violation of this section may be brought only if the conduct involves 1 of the factors set forth in clause (i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) of subsection (a)(5)(B). Damages for a violation involving only conduct described in subsection (a)(5)(B)(i) are limited to economic damages. No action may be brought under this subsection unless such action is begun within 2 years of the date of the act complained of or the date of the discovery of the damage. No action may be brought under this subsection for the negligent design or manufacture of computer hardware, computer software, or firmware.
Subsection (a)(5)(B)(1) covers any economic loss, and the $5,000 annual threshold for damages is very low for a successful commercial website. Needless to say, it is very important to look at this statute whenever your client's trade secret claim involves unauthorized computer access.
|||109822188519761154|||The Lure of the Open Road
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