On June 9, 2015, after a two-week trial, a jury in the Northern District of California returned a verdict in favor of Singapore-based Venture Corporation Limited and its U.S.-based subsidiary Venture Design Services, Inc. (“VDSI”). At issue was ownership of three patents invented by a former VDSI employee, James Barrett, and his claims to half of all profits from sales of products embodying those inventions. Mr. Barrett claimed that, while a VDSI employee, he entered into an oral joint venture agreement with Venture Corporation, pursuant to which Venture Corporation would fully fund the development of the inventions but would only receive half the profits.
Mr. Barrett asserted claims for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty and sought $53 million to $102 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. On each claim, the jury found in favor of Venture Corporation and VDSI. The jury rejected the notion that any joint venture was formed between Mr. Barrett and his former-employer’s parent company and found that no fraud or breach of contract had occurred.
The Squire Patton Boggs team representing Venture Corporation and VDSI was led by David S. Elkins and Sarah K. Rathke with support from Joseph P. Grasser and Rafael Langer-Osuna. The case caption is Venture Corporation Ltd, et al. v. James P. Barrett, Case No. 5:13-cv-03384-PSG.