According to the allegations of a complaint filed by Amy H. Tang, a professor of microbiology and molecular cell biology, against the Eastern Virginia Medical School (“EVMS”), EVMS misappropriated her trade secrets and discriminated against her due to her Chinese ethnicity. She sued the school for violations of both the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act, plus a host of other claims. EVMS was successful in getting some of the claims dismissed, but the court ruled that Professor Tang had sufficiently alleged all the requisite elements of a trade secrets case to survive the school’s motion to dismiss.
Tang’s allegations were essentially as follows. EVMS employs Tang as a Professor of Cancer Biology. She had developed certain treatments related to the exploitation and use of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid for anti-NFkB, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic treatments, which she disclosed to EVMS in an invention disclosure. Tang claimed these treatments were entitled to trade secret protection considering she had taken measures to keep the information secret (including securing all data electronically and requiring staff to leave data locked within the lab facilities and password-protected computer systems) and that the information had independent economic value.