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Trading Secrets A Law Blog on Trade Secrets, Non-Competes, and Computer Fraud

Category Archives: Data Theft

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Covert Cellular: Enough Protection for Trade Secrets?

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, International, Trade Secrets

With the ever-increasing need to maintain communications with customers and your employees, mobile phones have become a requirement for business people. Spanish telecommunications company Geeksphone is targeting the business market with Blackphone, the first mobile phone that encrypts data transmissions. No one would argue against the value of increased wireless data security, but do CIA-style cellular phones really provide enough …

California Attorney General Provides Some Guidance on Cybersecurity

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy

Cross-Posted from The Global Privacy Watch

With all the high-profile cybersecurity breaches that seem to be in the news lately, there is a plethora of “guidance” on cybersecurity. The Attorney General of California has decided to add to this library of guidance with her “Cybersecurity in the Golden State” offering. Cybersecurity is a pretty mature knowledge domain, …

Big Data and IP Business Strategy

Posted in Computer Fraud, Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy, Social Media

As a special feature of our blog –special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals –please enjoy this blog entry about the big data and IP business strategy by technology lawyer and IP strategist Joren De Wachter. Joren serves as a Co Chair with me on the ITechLaw Intellectual Property Law Committee and has an excellent blog of his …

Top 10 Developments/Headlines in Trade Secret, Computer Fraud, and Non-Compete Law in 2013

Posted in Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, International, Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Privacy, Restrictive Covenants, Social Media, Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

As part of our annual tradition, we are pleased to present our discussion of the top 10 developments/headlines in trade secret, computer fraud, and non-compete law for 2013. Please join us for our complimentary webinar on March 6, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. P.S.T., where we will discuss them in greater detail. As with all

“But I’m a Whistleblower!”: Is an Employee Who Takes Confidential Documents Invincible?

Posted in Data Theft, Trade Secrets

By Christopher Robertson

Hypothetical, based upon a real fact pattern: Employee believes she has witnessed improper activities at her employer and begins preparing a qui tam whistleblower complaint alleging False Claims Act violations to file under seal. During the course of preparing the complaint, employee removes highly confidential electronic and original documents from her workplace, copying entire folders of sensitive …

Nosal Update: Nosal Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft

On January 8th, after years of litigation and numerous delays, Executive Recruiter David Nosal was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for his April 25, 2013 conviction on three counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), two counts under the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”), and one count of conspiracy to violate the CFAA and …

Upcoming Webinar: The Stakes Just Got Higher – Criminal Prosecution of Trade Secret Misappropriation

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Espionage, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

On Tuesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Michael D. Wexler, Molly M. Joyce and Justin K. Beyer will present the twelfth and final installment in our 2013 Trade Secrets webinar series, focusing on criminal liability for trade secret misappropriation.

The topics they will cover include…

Trade secret misappropriation: what it is and how does it happen

Two Former Eli Lilly Scientists Accused of Stealing $55 Million in Trade Secrets on Behalf of Chinese Pharmaceutical Company In Southern District of Indiana Indictment

Posted in Data Theft, Espionage, International, Trade Secrets

In a year in which the United States has brought and prosecuted a series of high-profile criminal cases under the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”), another one was recently added to the roll call in the Southern District of Indiana, this time against two former high-level scientists with pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly. 

On August 14, 2013, a grand jury in the …

Obama Administration Releases Draft Voluntary Cybersecurity Framework for U.S. Business

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released its draft of a voluntary cybersecurity framework last Tuesday that provides a means to better evaluate cyber risk, and prepare better defenses against ever-increasing online attacks. 

NIST’s “Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework”, to be finalized in February 2014 after a period for public comment, originated with Executive Order …

Neglect of Cloud Computing Policies In Workplace Can Provide Perfect Storm for Trade Secret Theft

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy, Trade Secrets

By Robert Milligan, Jessica Mendelson, and Joshua Salinas

Prudent employers are often looking for areas in their business where valuable company data  may not be adequately protected.

Enter the growing prevalence of third party online data storage for professional and personal use in the workplace, coupled with the increasing accessibility provided by employers to access company data remotely. …

AMSC/Sinovel Industrial Espionage Thriller Takes a Procedural Detour, Threatening U.S. Criminal Prosecution

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, International, Trade Secrets

In a story that Hollywood would love to script, the U.S. Government charged Sinovel and its executives with soliciting the then-head of the Automation Engineering Department of AMSC’s Austrian subsidiary, AMSC Windtec GmbH, to steal AMSC’s source code in order that Sinovel might bypass a commercial relationship with AMSC and utilize AMSC’s trade secrets without paying for ongoing software licenses.  …

Nosal Update: Court Denies Motion for Acquittal and New Trial in Marathon CFAA and Trade Secret Misappropriation Criminal Case – Part III

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

In Parts I and II of this post, we looked at the Court’s ruling on Nosal’s motion for acquittal and new trial following his conviction of three CFAA counts, two EEA counts and one count of conspiracy. In this final part, we look at what may lie ahead for Nosal and lessons employers may learn from this case.

What’s Next …

Nosal Update: Court Denies Motion for Acquittal and New Trial in Marathon CFAA and Trade Secret Misappropriation Criminal Case – Part II

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Espionage, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

In Part I of this post, we reviewed the Court’s ruling on Nosal’s conviction on the CFAA counts. Here in Part II, we turn to the Court’s ruling on the EEA counts, and the exclusion of evidence regarding Nosal’s non-compete provision.

B.    Nosal’s Conviction on the EEA Counts:

Nosal was convicted of two counts under the EEA for downloading, copying …

Nosal Update: Court Denies Motion for Acquittal and New Trial in Marathon CFAA and Trade Secret Misappropriation Criminal Case – Part I

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft

On April 25, 2013, a federal jury convicted Executive Recruiter David Nosal on three counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), two counts under the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”), and one count of conspiracy to violate the CFAA and EEA, for Nosal’s conduct leaving his former employer and establishing a competing business in 2004 and 2005.

The conviction …

Best Practices and Latest Developments in Trade Secret Law

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Non-Compete Enforceability, Social Media, Trade Secrets

I recently presented on “Hot Topics In Trade Secret Law Across the Nation” at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Here are seven key takeaways regarding best practices and latest developments from the event that you may find useful:

Understanding the Importance of Trade Secret Preemption

Simply put, trade secret preemption or supersession is the concept that the …

U.S. Senators Propose Legislation To Strengthen Federal Criminal Trade Secret Laws

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, International, Legislation, Trade Secrets

Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently proposed a draft discussion bill to amend the federal Economic Espionage Act and enhance criminal trade secret protections.  

The amendments would expand the Economic Espionage Act to expressly cover trade secret misappropriation sponsored by foreign governments and theft taken at their request, provide victims with additional procedures to protect their trade …

An Employee Is Stealing Company Documents…That Can’t Be Protected Activity, Right?

Posted in Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

A supervisor discovers that an employee has recently downloaded thousands of pages of confidential Company billing and financial information, and e-mailed it to her personal e-mail address. Upon further investigation, the supervisor discovers that the employee has asked other employees to also send Company documents to her personal e-mail address. This hypothethical is a scenario faced by employers more often …

Obama Administration Issues Joint Strategic Plan To Protect America’s Intellectual Property

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, Trade Secrets

The Obama Administration recently issued its 2013 Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, building on the Joint Strategic Plan issued three years ago. In its 88 pages, the 2013 Plan outlines steps for federal agencies to take over the next three years to combat “[IP] infringement that has a significant impact on the economy, the global economic …

Significant Amendments Proposed to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to Limit Its Use to Traditional Hacking Scenarios

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Legislation

By Robert Milligan and Grace Chuchla

Earlier this year, we blogged on federal legislative efforts to amend the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) following the death of computer activist Aaron Swartz.  These efforts were spearheaded by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), who released her discussion draft of proposed amendments to the CFAA on January 15, 2013 on Reddit.  Lofgren’s January …

Massachusetts Federal Court Narrowly Construes Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Holds That Company Cannot Sue Former Employees For Downloading Proprietary Information Absent Showing of Fraud

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Practice & Procedure

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

You may recall that we previously reported on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. v. Feldstein, et al., C.A. No. 13-40007, in which Judge Timothy S. Hillman of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts granted a preliminary injunction against three former employees of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) who allegedly stole trade secrets from the plaintiff, without …

Foreign Engineer Arrested For Trade Secret Theft Involving Medical Technology

Posted in Data Theft, Espionage, Trade Secrets

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey recently charged a former employee with stealing trade secrets from a New Jersey medical technology company. 

The former employee, an Indian national, worked in a group at his former employer responsible for the manufacture of pen injectors and pre-fillable syringes.  He resigned from the company last month, and in the weeks leading up

Minnesota Federal Court Dismisses Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claim Based on Departing Employee’s Downloading of Customer List

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft

By Erik von Zeipel

On June 3, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment filed by defendant former employees in a dispute arising out of the sale of a business to the plaintiff former employer, and the seller’s subsequent starting of a competing business which …

Federal Legislation Proposed To Combat Cyber-Espionage

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Espionage, Legislation

Cybersecurity has become a growing concern in the United States.  Legislation impacting this topic covers a variety of fields, including national security and defense, trade and international relations, intellectual property, and even privacy and civil liberties.  As technology is constantly changing, so too are the types of restrictions in place.

A group of prominent American Senators recently introduced the Deter

Mobile Device Forensics – Are You in the Know?

Posted in Computer Fraud, Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Secrets

As a special feature of our blog –special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals –please enjoy this blog post by digital forensics experts James Whitehead and Arnold Garcia with iDiscovery Solutions. -Editor Robert Milligan  

By James Whitehead and Arnold Garcia

Smartphones, tablets and other “Smart” mobile devices are becoming a mainstay within the corporate landscape. Today’s mobile devices …