Case Law Reviews, Chemicals
Tangibly Case Law Review # 5

Heraeus Kulzer, GmbH v. Biomet, Inc., et al.

2018 , United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division

Judge Judges Flaum, Kanne, and Rovner; Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr.


In the 2018 appeal of Heraeus Kulzer, GmbH v. Biomet, Inc., Heraeus, a German company specializing in bone cements, accused Biomet of misappropriating its trade secrets to develop competing products. This case, filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 in the Northern District of Indiana, sought discovery for use in a foreign proceeding in Germany, where Heraeus had already obtained a favorable judgment. The crux of the matter revolved around the alleged trade secret misappropriation by Biomet with the assistance of Esschem, Inc. Despite dominating the bone cement market for decades, Heraeus claimed it lost market share due to this misappropriation. The district court's denial to modify protective orders to further protect Heraeus's trade secrets and enforce the German judgment in Europe was appealed. The Seventh Circuit found it lacked jurisdiction over the initial orders due to untimely appeals but affirmed the district court's discretion in the final order, highlighting the challenges of cross-border trade secret litigation and the strategic use of § 1782 actions.


The Seventh Circuit concluded it lacked jurisdiction to review the district court's first and second orders due to untimely appeals and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in its final order denying Heraeus's request for further protective measures.

Legal Significance

This case underscores the complexities of cross-border trade secret litigation, the strategic use of § 1782 actions for obtaining discovery in support of foreign proceedings, and the challenges in enforcing foreign judgments and protecting trade secrets across multiple jurisdictions.

Financial Judgement

Not given

Key Takeaways

The Heraeus Kulzer v. Biomet case highlights the intricacies involved in protecting trade secrets in a global market, especially when legal actions span multiple jurisdictions. It also illustrates the limitations of appellate review concerning timeliness and the discretion courts have in issuing protective orders.