UAC Beats Alcoa in $265 Million Trade Secrets Trial

On July 26, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Skadden client Universal Alloy Corporation (UAC), exonerating UAC following its eight-year legal battle against Alcoa in a trade secret case in federal court in Atlanta. The jurors only had to answer the first of eight questions on the verdict form, finding that Alcoa did not own trade secrets.

Alcoa claimed that it developed trade secrets in its manufacturing process and for the aluminum alloy for "stretch-form spar chords" — structural components of airplane wings — that allowed it to be the only manufacturer of these parts for Boeing, until UAC hired Alcoa employees and stole information to divert the business. UAC successfully argued that Alcoa’s technology is well-known, there are no trade secrets in published industry standards, it developed its own technology and did not steal any trade secrets, and employees are allowed to change jobs. UAC’s counterclaims for sham litigation remain pending.