Walmart’s $3 Million Trade Secret Loss Affirmed by Eighth Circuit

Written February 18, 2020

The US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit on February 12, 2020, affirmed a $3 million damages award against Walmart Inc. (Walmart) for misappropriating web designer Cuker Interactive LLC’s (Cuker) trade secrets by pressuring it into giving up its Adobe source files. Walmart Inc. v. Cuker Interactive LLC, 8th Cir., No. 18-1959, 2/12/20.

Walmart agreed to pay Cuker to make the website for Walmart’s grocery business accessible from computers and mobile devices. After the parties’ relationship fell apart, Walmart sued Cuker for breach of contract, and Cuker countersued for breach and for misappropriating its trade secrets.

A federal court jury awarded Cuker over $12 million for trade secret misappropriation, but the judge reduced the total damages award to nearly $750,000 and awarded Cuker over $2.6 million in sanctions and attorneys’ fees.

The Eighth Circuit upheld the judge’s reduced award, finding that Cuker failed to clearly identify three of its four alleged trade secrets to Walmart before disclosing the information.