Update #4 (July 26, 2016): Unitherm has survived cross-motions for summary judgment but just by a hair (of its chinny chin chin?). U.S. District Court Judge Joan N. Ericksen (D. Minn.) has almost thrown out the whole case, leaving only the issue of the ownership of “the hybrid cooking process” as between Hormel and Unitherm. On the other hoof, the value of ownership of that process might be substantial.
Update #3 (March 16, 2016): It is impossible to assess arguments when one only has documents redacted to conceal information pertinent to the dispute. On the other hand, from where I sit, the bacon battle against home-town honey ham Hormel (based in Austin, Minnesota), discussed in several earlier posts below, looks to be going poorly for Plaintiff Unitherm.
Perhaps the out-of-town under-pig will complain of a home-trough bias. But my pessimism for Unitherm’s case comes from objective factors, such as its lack of success in the case to date and a very strong brief by Hormel in support of its motion for summary judgment. (Unitherm’s own brief in support of its own cross-motion for summary judgment is more heavily redacted and so more difficult to assess.)
From the cheap seats, at least, my money’s on Hormel. Unitherm seems to rely in some large degree on (1) a supposed obligation on Hormel’s part to keep public information secret, and (2) the idea that Hormel should be liable for keeping its own secrets from Unitherm at a time when it had agreed not to divulge Unitherm’s shared secrets to any third party. (Agreeing to keep shared information secret is not the same as agreeing not to have any secrets from one’s counter-party.) These alleged acts, if true, might trigger liability…when pigs fly.