A San Antonio judge handed down a final judgement ordering Amrock to pay just under $740 million to HouseCanary. Amrock, a real estate title and valuation company, was accused of trade secret theft and breach of contract.
Judge hands down record settlement
In March, a Texas jury found Amrock misappropriated real estate valuation technology and appraisal analytics, as well as breached confidentiality and other contractual agreements. Amrock asked the judge to vacate the decision. Instead, the judge ordered the company to pay the largest settlement in the history of Texas.
The problem began when HouseCanary signed a contract with Amrock (then Title Source). HouseCanary agreed to develop an app for Amrock. The contract also stated the company would provide appraisal and real estate valuation data to Amrock.
HouseCanary claims Amrock stole data
HouseCanary claims Amrock lied about its intended use for the information, and instead used it to access trade secret information that included formulas, algorithms, analytics, models and other proprietary information. The company also claimed Amrock used its products and then refused to pay for use. In the meantime, Amrock allegedly used the data collected from HouseCanary to replicate HouseCanary's technology.
Amrock said it created the new tech without aid
Amrock said it built the new technology without the aid of any information from HouseCanary. The real estate and title company also claimed three whistleblowers revealed that HouseCanary had failed in its contractual obligation. HouseCanary had not developed the agreed technology, and the case against Amrock was fraudulent.
Amrock plans to request a new trial and if needed, appeal the court's decision.
Trade secrets can be many types of information
A trade secret is private information that gives a business a competitive edge over its competitors. What can be considered a trade secret is viewed broadly. It could be a recipe, a formula or a manufacturing process. The company must keep the secret confidential, and if a competitor figures it out, it is no longer considered a trade secret.
Trade secret theft or misappropriation occurs when someone gains unauthorizes access to a trade secret, and then shares it or uses it without the consent of a trade secret holder.
As the case of Amrock and HouseCanary shows, trade secret theft is taken seriously in the U.S. A company that believes it was a victim of trade secret theft may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the offending party.