As noted in our February 20th blog post, Robert O’Rourke, a 30 year salesman for cast iron products manufacturer Dura Bar, went on trial in Chicago (Northern District of Illinois) for allegedly stealing Dura trade secrets before leaving to work for a Chinese competitor. According to the government, O’Rourke downloaded 1,900 files (in 20 minutes) that contained Dura trade secrets and then attempted to board a flight to China with the trade secrets in hand. The FBI stopped O’Rourke at the gate and subsequently charged O’Rourke with 13 counts of trade secret theft.
At trial, O’Rourke’s defense team acknowledged that O’Rourke downloaded the 1,900 files and was in possession of the files at the time of his arrest, but maintained that the files were not trade secrets because Dura did not take “reasonable measures” to keep the information confidential. Unfortunately for O’Rourke, the jury disagreed and convicted O’Rourke on seven counts of trade secret theft. In reaching its decision, the jury found that Dura took reasonable steps to keep its information confidential. O’Rourke’s texts to his ex-wife about the “damage he could do” to Dura” by giving the 1,900 files to a Dura competitor probably did not help O’Rourke either.
Each count carries a maximum 10 year prison sentence but a sentencing date has not been set because O’Rourke’s attorneys have indicated that they will be filing a motion asking to set aside the jury verdict and/or for a new trial. We will keep monitoring the case so please check back here for updates.