In 2014, Plaintiff TVL International, LLC (“TVL”), a Delaware corporation, and Defendants Zheijiang Shenghui Lighting Co., Ltd. (“Zheijiang”), a Chinese LED light bulb manufacturer, and SengLED USA, Inc. (“SengLED”), Zheijiang’s U.S. subsidiary, executed a non-disclosure agreement relating to their efforts to jointly develop a “battery back-up LED light bulb”. By 2015, the parties had stopped working together and eventually developed their own LED products.
TVL alleged that Zheijiang and SengLED, in the course of their LED product development, breached the non-disclosure agreement and violated state and federal trade secret laws. Pursuant to arbitration provisions in the non-disclosure agreement, TVL submitted these claims to the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) in North Carolina. In 2019, an arbitration panel awarded TVL $3 million in compensatory and punitive damages, interest, and fees.
Shortly thereafter, TVL filed a petition to confirm the arbitration award in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. TVL served the petition and summons via email and FedEx on Defendants’ outside counsel and SengLED’s registered agent.
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