February 1, 2021

Snap Victorious in Trade Secrets Lawsuit

Munger, Tolles & Olson secured a victory for its client Snap Inc. on Feb. 1, 2021, in a trade secrets lawsuit filed by You Map Inc., a maker of a mapping and social media mobile application.

You Map alleged in January 2020, that when Snap acquired Zenly – a French-based social mapping company – it did so to gain access to this allegedly misappropriated information to help it launch the popular SnapMap application. You Map also alleged that Snap founder Evan Spiegel participated in this scheme. You Map filed claims of misappropriation of trade secrets under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, unfair competition and breach of contract, among others.

On Feb. 1, 2021, U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly adopted a magistrate judge’s order from January 12, 2021 and dismissed all causes of action against Snap, Zenly Inc., and Mr. Spiegel. The Court held that You Map’s complaint “fails to sufficiently identify the trade secrets alleged to have been misappropriated.” The Court found that if the trade secret was a “technology,” such as “the technology to visualize stories on a map,” then there is a problem because “the Complaint does not define ‘technology” which could mean a number of different things. It could refer to the app’s source code. It could also refer generally to the app’s algorithms, or its architecture or framework.”

The Court also dismissed the case with prejudice against Snap founder Evan Spiegel for lack of personal jurisdiction and noted further that You Map failed to make any substantive allegation of wrongdoing by Mr. Spiegel.

The case is dismissed against Snap and Zenly, Inc. with leave to amend by Feb. 9, 2021.  

You can read more in the district court order as well as the magistrate judge order

The Munger, Tolles & Olson team was led by partner Carolyn Luedtke and included Laura Smolowe, John Major and Anne Conley.