Fourth Circuit

AirFacts Wins in Trade Secret Case

Written December 6, 2018

The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on November 20, 2018, remanded a breach of contract case brought by software company AirFacts Inc. against one of its former developers the company said misappropriated trade secrets.

Diego de Amezaga, a product development analyst for AirFacts, a company that develops and licenses software around ticket price algorithms and audits, left AirFacts for American Airlines in 2015 and also worked in a ticket price audit role, prompting AirFacts to claim he was violating his agreement. Evidence also showed de Amezaga accessed and distributed AirFacts documents after his departure from the company, including complex flowcharts de Amezaga had worked on.

The District Court found the flowcharts weren’t trade secrets. But given de Amezaga’s “painstaking, expert arrangement” of data in the flowcharts, and the steps AirFacts took to maintain the documents’ secrecy, the Fourth Circuit said the trial court erred and remanded the case back to the trial court.