Plaintiff licensor sought review of an order from the Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles (California), which, after ruling in favor of defendant licensees in an action alleging misappropriation of trademarks and patents, found that the allegations of misappropriation were brought in bad faith and awarded attorney fees to the licensees under Civ. Code, § 3426.4. Plaintiff sought counsel from a small business attorney.
The licensor sought to terminate a licensing agreement, claiming a material breach by the licensees. Shortly thereafter, the licensees gave another corporation a security interest in assets that included the licensed technology and filed bankruptcy, resulting in the foreclosure of the security interest. The licensor alleged that its technology was fraudulently transferred to the other corporation. The court held that attorney fees could not be awarded under Civ. Code, § 3426.4, because the licensor’s complaint did not state a claim for misappropriation, as defined in Civ. Code, § 3426.1, subd. (b), of a trade secret. An award of attorney fees was not authorized under Civ. Code, § 3426.4, when a claim of misappropriation of a patent or a trademark was made in bad faith. Although the licensor’s prayer for relief sought damages for misappropriation of trade secrets, the factual allegations of the complaint were controlling over the prayer for relief. The licensees were not entitled to attorney fees under the terms of the licensing agreement or other contracts. The reciprocity provisions of Civ. Code, § 1717, did not apply because the licensees were not parties to the other contracts.
The court reversed the attorney fee order.
Plaintiff borrower appealed the order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) granting defendant bank’s motion for summary judgment on all counts and dismissing plaintiff’s class action suit alleging breach of contract and defendant’s violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500 through false and misleading advertising.
When plaintiff applied for a loan from defendant, plaintiff was first shown a promissory note containing an interest rate that was lower than the rate contained in defendant’s Federal Truth in Lending Statement. Plaintiff finished the application process, but later filed a class action suit alleging a breach of loan contract and a violation of Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500. On appeal, defendant asserted that plaintiff was collaterally estopped in plaintiff’s action against defendant where plaintiff had made similar allegations against another bank in a previous suit. The court held that because the issue in the case was a legal as opposed to a factual one, and because the matter was of important public interest, plaintiff’s suit was not collaterally estopped, and injunctive relief was available where defendant’s method of computing interest, because it was likely to deceive the public, violated Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500.
The court affirmed summary judgment in defendant’s favor on all claims except plaintiff’s action for injunctive relief where such relief should be available as defendant’s method of computing interest constituted false and misleading advertising.