• J McGlynn and M Bacina

Kraken rebuffed in court ruling regarding revealing office location

US District Judge Maxime M. Chesney has ruled that an employee who revealed the location of major crypto exchange Kraken's office was not spilling company secrets.


According to the complaint filed by Payward Inc - the owner of Kraken, in September, former employee Nathan Peter Ruyon was violating trade secrets when he revealed the physical address of Kraken's San Francisco office in a lawsuit Ruyon had filed against Kraken in November 2019. While only tangentially related to Kraken's counter-claim, Ruyon's claims were a mixed bag, alleging illegal business practices, discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination and more, and while they are too lengthy to repeat a good summary can be found here. Payward also claimed that by accessing of one of the company’s protected computers, Ruyon’s misappropriated classified information.


Naming the organisation that a claim is being made against, along with their current address, is of course common practice in making a statement of claim. In review of the facts Judge Chesney explained she did not believe Payward was alleging Ruyon was using the address to gain any kind of economic advantage, nor did they provide any evidence of his accessing the company computer causing any specific:

damage or loss, in any amount to Payward

Payward argued that keeping its address secret was a way of protecting the company from physical threats, including to workers at risk of being kidnapped. This of course, is a disturbingly valid argument. As Runyon was a financial analyst for the company from March 2018 - August 2019, the exchange then went on to assert Ruyon had breached his original contract of employment by his actions in September.


Despite the above, the Court ultimately dismissed Kraken's complaint. But with this defence, Judge Chesney resolved that Payward will have the right to file an amended statement of claim against Runyon before 9 October 2020. Be that as it may, it's still hard to see how Payward will specify their losses caused by this alleged breach.


© Michael Bacina. All rights reserved

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