Motorola Awarded $764 Million in Radio Trade Secret Verdict

A trade secret lawsuit ended with a $764 million verdict in favor of Motorola Solutions Inc. Motorola filed a complaint in 2017 against Hytera America, Inc. claiming they used employees, including some they hired from Motorola, to acquire trade secrets and to develop products. The federal jury voted unanimously in favor of Motorola in the Northern District of Illinois concluding the three-month trial.

The suit began in March of 2017 when Motorola filed a complaint against Hytera. Motorola alleges they continued to produce new products using the trade secrets after the case was filed. The complaint said a “central pillar [in the] plot to target Motorola from the inside” included recruiting Motorola personnel with access to the technologies. They alleged these personnel downloaded “thousands of confidential technical documents” before they left Motorola.  

Motorola specifically mentioned trade secrets pertaining to a two-way radio communication system which it supplies to public safety organizations and others.

Motorola alleged ongoing use of the trade secrets would cause irreparable harm and after the decision filed a request for a restraining order against Hytera requesting they stop sales of their  Digital Mobile Radio product. The memorandum requesting a Restraining Order claimed “there no longer remains any question that Hytera willfully and maliciously stole and used Motorola’s trade secrets and copyrighted source code for over a decade,” further claiming there is “no doubt” that Hytera would continue to violate those rights. 

“These are harms that cannot be remedied through a judgment for past damages, even putting aside the likelihood that Hytera will attempt to avoid enforcement of any monetary judgment entered by this Court,” the memorandum alleged. The court has not yet made a decision on the requested Temporary Restraining Order.

Motorola discussed in the complaint how much it invested in the intellectual property that Hytera acquired and used. They claimed Hytera used the same technologies but had not invested similar effort, capital or research.

“Such conduct makes investments in technology pointless and costly, and harms American companies and the economy in critical ways.  Unless halted, Hytera’s illegal actions will serve as a roadmap for other companies who have not invested in research and development themselves to steal the trade secrets of their competitors, and violate the intellectual property rights of true innovators,” the complaint said.

Motorola was represented by Kirkland & Ellis, while Hytera was represented by Steptoe & Johnson.