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Tommy Lee Beats Lawsuit Over Roller Coaster Drums

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on January 02, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Tommy Lee prevailed in a lawsuit over his roller coaster drums.

Lee was sued by Howard Scott King back in September 2012 for allegedly stealing King's idea and design for a drum-roller coaster set that flips Lee upside down during concerts, reports TMZ.

While Lee may not be a "Saint of Los Angeles," he isn't guilty of misappropriating trade secrets.

Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

The lawsuit against Tommy Lee for his roller coaster drum set focused heavily on misappropriating trade secrets. The complaint (posted by Brooklyn Law School) alleged that Lee unlawfully used King's idea for a "Tommy Lee Loop Coaster." The trade secrets claim kicks in when King alleged that the proposal he gave Lee expressly stated that the ideas were confidential and a confidentiality agreement was signed.

Trade secrets are devices, formulas, or information used by businesses that have monetary value because they are not generally known or easily discovered by the public. For example, one of the most famous trade secrets is the formula for Coca-Cola.

To protect businesses from misappropriation of trade secrets, several states follow laws similar to the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. The Act generally protects all information that gives a business a competitive edge, but businesses must take reasonable steps to keep the information a secret.

You Don't Get 'Sumthin' for Nuthin''

While the roller coaster drum set could be considered a trade secret because it has economic value and is unique enough to give the creator a competitive edge in the drum market, King didn't do enough to keep the idea a secret.

King allegedly met with Lee's agents in 1991 to sign a confidentiality agreement regarding a proposal for the roller coaster drums. However, the confidentiality agreement was lost or misplaced, according to the complaint.

As a result, the judge found that King never owned exclusive rights to the roller coaster drum and that Tommy Lee's version was his original design.

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