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Ninth Circuit upholds jury verdict in OTR Wheel trade secrets case

SEATTLE — The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the $967,000 verdict a jury granted OTR Wheel Engineering Inc. against West Worldwide Services Inc. in a four-year-old trades secret case.

Rome, Ga.-based OTR Wheel filed its case against Cline, Iowa-based West in April 2014 before the Eastern Washington federal district court in Spokane.

OTR claimed that West Worldwide and its supplier — Shandong Hawk Rubber Co. Ltd., a.k.a. Superhawk — used OTR Wheel’s trade secrets to manufacture counterfeit tires using OTR Wheel’s “Outrigger” trade name.

A jury before the Spokane court found in OTR Wheel’s favor in July 2016. The jury found that West Worldwide deliberately tried to steal some of OTR Wheel’s biggest clients, interfering with established contracts.

It also found that West Worldwide deliberately removed or obscured the Outrigger trademark name of OTR Wheel’s tires, violating the Washington Consumer Protection Act.

In a July 24 memorandum order, the Ninth Circuit upheld the jury’s findings regarding tortious interference and the Washington Consumer Protection Act. It also upheld three evidentiary rulings in the district court case that West Worldwide had challenged.

However, the circuit court vacated a preliminary injunction the lower court granted to OTR WHeel early in the case. It also reversed the district court’s order granting prejudgment interest to OTR Wheel.

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