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Coda Dev. S.R.O v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division

November 21, 2019, Decided; November 21, 2019, Filed

CASE NO. 5:15-cv-1572

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On November 1, 2019, the Court conducted a status conference wherein certain discovery disputes were discussed. (See Doc. Nos. 74, 76.) Following the conference, the Court issued a non-document minute order ruling in relevant part, as follows:

First, as to Interrogatory Nos. 1 [and] 2, . . . propounded by defendants on plaintiffs, by 11/16/2019, plaintiffs will provide (1) a description of what was said at the meetings in January and June 2009, and (2) a complete list of the trade secrets (with particularity) that they claim were orally disclosed to defendants, including detail as to when plaintiffs conceived of and developed each of the features in each trade secret. The Court made clear that additions to this list at a later time will be permitted only upon showing of an exceptional reason to do so. . . .

(Minute Order 11/1/2019.1) The Court also directed counsel to brief "the issue of whether any description of what was said at the meetings may be supplemented at a later date or whether plaintiffs are bound by their written response." (Id.) Those briefs have been submitted. (See Doc. No. 79 ["Defts' Brief"]; Doc. No. [*3]  80 ["Pltfs' Brief"].)2

DISCUSSION

In their first amended complaint, plaintiffs explain the "nature of the action" as follows:

1. This action arises out of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.'s ("Goodyear") theft of Coda's secret self-inflating tire ["SIT"] technology. Coda shared with Goodyear its secret self-inflating tire technology, including specifically that a self-inflating tire could be created by embedding a tube in a groove in tire sidewalls that would act as a peristaltic pump and always keep the tire properly inflated. Goodyear promised that it would keep these trade secrets confidential and consider them solely to evaluate whether it would partner with Coda to develop Coda's self-inflating tire technology further. Instead, without Coda's knowledge, Goodyear applied for, and obtained, numerous patents on self-inflating tire technology based on Coda's trade secrets and now is about to introduce to the market it's "Air Maintenance Technology," a self-inflating tire made up of a tube embedded in a groove in the tire sidewall.

2. At the behest of General Motors ("GM"), Goodyear and Coda met in January 2009, and again in June 2009 to discuss a potential partnership for commercializing [*4]  Coda's SIT technology. GM was interested in using Coda's SIT technology on the new Chevy Volt. GM suggested that Goodyear work with Coda to bring Coda's SIT technology to market because GM believed that Goodyear could deliver in time for the Volt's anticipated 2010 launch date.

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 202114 *; 2019 WL 6219745

CODA DEVELOPMENT S.R.O, et al., PLAINTIFFS, vs. GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER COMPANY, et al., DEFENDANTS.

Prior History: Coda Dev. v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134468 (N.D. Ohio, Sept. 29, 2016)

CORE TERMS

trade secret, discovery, Interrogatory, tire, technology, meetings, self-inflating, misappropriated, patents, supplementation, plaintiffs', policies, courts