Orrick Convinces Ninth Circuit To Curtail Suit Against Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur

July.14.2016

Orrick’s IP and appellate teams secured a significant win for the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IITK), persuading the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a portions of suit accusing IITK and its Dean of breaching an alleged joint venture agreement and of appropriation of technology without authorization.

In a ruling on July 12, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court in part, holding that may of the asserted claims asserted were barred by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and claims brought against the IITK Dean must be dismissed based on foreign officials immunity.

IITK is a public educational institution.  It was established by the Indian government in 1951 as an Institute of National Importance. The appeal was focused on whether IITK waived sovereign immunity in a non-disclosure agreement with the plaintiff company, M.A. Mobile LTD.  Among other key points, appellate partner Bob Loeb highlighted the absence of the requisite “strong evidence” of intent to waive, especially as to a co-plaintiff who had not entered into a non-disclosure agreement.   

The Orrick team was led by IP partner Neel Chatterjee and Supreme Court & Appellate partner Bob Loeb, and included partner Tom Zellerbach and associates Kevin Arlyck and Nish Hossain.