US Court: Hasbro should not be liable for 'My Little Pony' trade secret

Hasbro, My Little PonyA lower court verdict was declared by the US appeals court, mentioning that an American multinational toy and board game company Hasbro should not be accused for trade secret misappropriation, following a dispute with another toy maker that centred on the My Little Pony brand.

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a ruling from the US District Court for the Central District of California that dismissed Elinor Shapiro's request for a preliminary ban.

In April, 2015, Elinor Shapiro had filed a suit against Hasbro, claiming that the company asked her to forward ideas for the Littlest Pet Shop and My Little Pony lines. Though Hasbro declined her proposals, subsequently began marketing toys that looked like her prototypes, said Shapiro.

During the judgment that was passed in November 2015, district court found that trade secrets were in fact in the public domain and brands were solely created by Hasbro before Shapiro presented her ideas to Hasbro representatives.

According to Hasbro, a collection of sparkly toy characters filled with glittery liquid (Shapiro's ideas) was not used, adding that it had been creating similar products two years before Shapiro submitted her proposals.

However, the verdict heard on 30 June stated that lower court's conclusion was precise as the alleged trade secrets were "generally known to the public or to other persons," they did not actually qualify as trade secrets.

The appeals court noted, "Based on the finding of independent creation, the district court correctly concluded that Hasbro had not engaged in misappropriation of alleged trade secrets".

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