Sunday, December 1, 2013

ConFold Pacific, Inc. v. Polaris Industries, Inc. case brief

ConFold Pacific, Inc. v. Polaris Industries, Inc. case brief summary
433 F.3d 952 (2006)

Plaintiff designer sued defendant manufacturer in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. The district court granted summary judgment for the manufacturer, and the designer appealed.

The designer conducted an analysis of the manufacturer's shipping needs pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement. After the agreement was signed, the designer submitted a shipping container design to the manufacturer; the designer alleged that the manufacturer subsequently began using a container that was based on the design submitted by the designer.


  • The court of appeals found that summary judgment was proper on the contract claim because, based on the undisputed extrinsic evidence considered by the district court, the non-disclosure agreement did not apply to the container design. 
  • Unjust enrichment theories did not apply, and the manufacturer did not misappropriate any trade secret. 
  • Although a tort existed for misappropriation or unfair competition arising from "free riding" on information, the designer made no effort to establish the elements of that tort. 
  • Instead, the designer sought to claim infringement of a design that it did not patent, and such a claim was preempted by patent law.

The district court's judgment was affirmed.

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