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Name: People v. Laiwala
Case #: H022070
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/10/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. den. & DEPUBLISHED 5/12/04

A defendant who stole a portion of a DVD-scrambling program from his employer was not guilty of trade-secret theft where the prosecution failed to prove each element of that offense. The Court of Appeal vacated the defendant’s conviction under Penal Code section 499c because the record contained insufficient evidence to establish that the stolen code constituted a trade secret. The court held that information qualifies as a trade secret only if the information derives independent value both from not being known to the general public and from not being known to those who could obtain economic value from its disclosure. Here, the prosecution failed to prove that the information had independent value or was unknown within the relevant industry.