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Aclara to Appeal $52M Verdict in Trade Secret Case with Caliper

NEW YORK, Oct 30 - Aclara BioSciences said it would appeal a $52 million jury verdict that found the microfluidics company liable for violating Caliper Technologies' trade secrets.

“We believe that we have a strong basis to appeal this ruling on multiple grounds including the exclusion from evidence of key Aclara documents, the legal basis for imputed liability, and the speculative nature of the damages claim,” Joseph Limber, president and CEO of Aclara, said in a statement released on Sunday. “In spite of this ruling, we are very well capitalized and on track to deliver on our business objectives."

Aclara, however, fell short of saying that it expected the entire decision to be overturned on appeal. Rather, the company said it expected the decision to be reduced by $12 million to $17 million to eliminate redundancies. The company noted that as of mid August it had assets in excess of $210 million.

Aclara was not immediately available for comment.

During the trial Caliper successfully argued that Bertrain Rowland, a patent lawyer who was simultaneously retained by both companies, misused trade secrets and that Caliper was liable for his actions.

Aclara said that Caliper’s claims to trade secrets for processes that were standard in microfluidics, namely using reservoirs at the ends of channels to hold buffers and placing electrodes in these reservoirs were unfounded, adding that it was prevented from introducing internal documents that would have shown that Aclara used these techniques prior to any dealings between Rowland and Caliper.

Caliper also argued that the litigation forced the company to reduce IPO price, saying that the offering would have been priced at $24 a share rather than $16 a share.

The jury returned a total award in the amount of $52.6 million, including $21.1 million in damages for misappropriation of trade secrets, $26.5 for unjust enrichment of Aclara, and $5.0 million in unspecified damages.
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