Trade Secret Insider

Trade Secret Insider

In early June of 2020, a Texas appellate court overturned a record $706 million verdict rendered by a San Antonio jury more than two years ago, and, in doing so, it ordered a new trial.

The case centered on real estate analytic firm HouseCanary Inc.’s fraud and misappropriation of trade secret claims against Amrock Inc., a Detroit home appraisal company related to Quicken Loans Inc.

In 2015, Amrock entered into an agreement to license HouseCanary’s proprietary home appraisal software. Amrock later filed a lawsuit alleging HouseCanary failed to deliver functioning software for valuing residential properties.

HouseCanary, on the other hand, asserted its own claims, accusing Amrock of fraudulently misappropriating technology “even after purporting to terminate” their agreement. At issue was HouseCanary’s purported revoluationary app that would allow appraisers to submit appraisals in the field.

Following a seven-week trial, a 12-person jury found in favor of HouseCanary. Amrock was ordered to pay $235.4 million in compensatory damages, $470.8 million in punitive damages, $29 million in prejudgment interest, and $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees.

Ultimately, the appellate court reversed the jury’s verdict because of flaws with the jury charges, including a problem with the definition of trade secrets theft, which the appellate court found tainted the verdict.

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