Facebook loses the chance of receiving Litigation funder’s details in Trade Secrets lawsuit

Facebook Inc. now will not be getting information from an artificial intelligence start-up on third-party funding of a trade secrets lawsuit. This lawsuit is being pursued by the start-up named Neural Magic Inc. against the social media giant. The lawsuit was filed before Boston Federal Court. The U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler is hearing the case. However, he denied Facebook's motion where it was seeking to discover in an electronic order in order to tag the requested information as irrelevant or not proportionate to the needs of the case.

The discovery dispute traces its origin from the month of March in 2020 when Neural Magic filed a lawsuit accusing Facebook and a former employee of misappropriating computer algorithms key associated with the business of start-up. A former employee of the company named Aleksandar Zlateski decamped to the social media company.

However, the request of Facebook remained sealed. The start-up filed a response against the request of Facebook and Zlateski seeking information on the identity of the litigation funder along with the nature of the funding agreement. Neural Magic informed, “An overwhelming majority of courts have considered their request as irrelevant.”

Neural Magic was represented by Patrick Curran of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan. Facebook and Zlateski also asked for assessments of the start-up’s claims and documents displaying the valuations of alleged trade secrets from the start-up’s lawyers. The startup said, “Facebook’s asserted information is relevant to damages and/or disclosure, to refute NMI's 'David and Goliath' theme, and to protect against juror bias.” Neural Magic said, “The information is not relevant to the claims or is shielded by attorney work product protection.”

A lawyer representing Facebook is named Christopher Henry from Latham & Watkins. While Zlateski was represented by lawyer Russell Beck from Beck Reed Riden. Bowler’s order said, “Some of the requested documents are irrelevant. Others, including those related to anticipated incurred damages and valuations of trade secrets, are to a degree relevant, but aren't proportional to the matter.”

The case can be reached with the name Neural Magic Inc v. Facebook Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts bearing case no.1:20-cv-10444.