NEWS5 December 2013

TRA sees Kantar trade secrets and patent claims dismissed a second time

Legal North America

US — A US District Court judge has again dismissed claims brought by TRA that accused WPP’s Kantar of patent infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets.

The claims were originally dismissed in October, however Judge Shira Scheindlin overturned her own decision following an appeal by TRA.

TRA sought an opportunity to present an oral argument to the judge, but in the wake of this argument, Scheindlin held to her original decision, that:

  • The trade secrets claims were dismissed as TRA “fail[ed] to evidence protectable trade secrets, and/or use of those trade secrets by the WPP companies”.
  • The patent infringement claims were dismissed as neither of Kantar’s products, referenced in the lawsuit as competitors to TRA, infringed on patents in the ways asserted by TRA.

TRA’s non-patent claims, alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, remain before the court, however. A conference to discuss these claims is scheduled for 20 December.

The dispute between TRA and Kantar dates to June 2011, when Kantar filed a complaint as a preemptive strike against TRA, whose CEO had threatened to take the company to court over alleged patent infringement.

TRA followed up Kantar’s action several weeks later with a counter-claim, accusing Kantar – whose parent company WPP was an investor in TRA – of taking advantage of information TRA had shared as part of discussions of a “strategic relationship or acquisition” in order to launch a competing research product.

Kantar’s RapidView – the product in question – is a media planning tool that analyses TV audience profiles based on shopping behaviour, brand loyalty and product usage. TRA’s own Media TRAnalytics tool, meanwhile, combines TV viewing information with purchase data with a view to better targeting ad spend.