Employers, although contractually free to terminate the employment of at-will employees for any reason, at any time, cannot dismiss an employee in violation of public policy. A prime California public policy is that employers cannot retaliate against whistleblowers—individuals who have reported suspected unlawful employer conduct. In January 2014, the Legislature expanded the general whistleblowing statute, Labor Code section 1102.5, to … Continue Reading
At some point in his or her legal education, every law student discovers one of the more strikingly unique rules about the profession that he or she aspires to enter. Unlike laws governing physicians, accountants, engineers, and virtually all other professions, rules governing the practice of law impose a nearly absolute prohibition on lawyer non-compete agreements. At the same time, … Continue Reading
On Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Central, in the final installment of our 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Michael Baniak, Joseph Lanser and Randy Bruchmiller will focus on considerations involving protecting trade secrets and intellectual property in business transactions, including, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and other collaborative arrangements.
Summary of topics:… Continue Reading
How to properly address
The IP Institute brings together preeminent speakers from leading companies and law firms to share tips “from the trenches.” The Institute covers a great array of topics affecting our clients, such as trademarks, copyrights, licensing, litigation, … Continue Reading
An employee executed an employment agreement which included a two-year covenant not to solicit the employer’s customers. When the employer sold the company’s assets, the sale included that agreement. The employee then went to work for the assets purchaser but subsequently resigned. The Texas Appellate Court held that the two-year period began to run on the date the assets seller … Continue Reading
In an effort to preempt another “Bridgegate” scandal, New Jersey State Senator Loretta Weinberg has sponsored a bill to extend whistleblower protection to employees who disclose incidents of wasted public funds, governmental abuse, or gross mismanagement. On October 9, 2014, the New Jersey Senate’s Labor Committee approved Bill S-768, which, … Continue Reading
Most people stop taking math in high school. Geometry was often the culprit that either made someone enjoy solving problems involving Greek letters or become completely disinterested. All those arcs and triangles…how does any of that apply to life as an attorney?
In many cases, the execution of a mutual release is often the last step in resolving a trade secret or non-compete case. Typically included in the release is an affirmation that all confidential information has been returned and the once former adversaries promise not to sue one another. Once the release is executed, the fight is usually over. Usually, but … Continue Reading
A Florida franchisee executed a franchise agreement (FA) containing a non-compete provision and a Pennsylvania forum selection clause. Following termination of the FA, the former franchisee’s wife opened a similar business in another part of Florida. The franchisor filed suit in Pennsylvania against the former franchisee and his wife, and they moved to dismiss or, alternatively, to transfer the case … Continue Reading
In Seyfarth’s seventh installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar series, Seyfarth attorneys, Justin K. Beyer, Dawn Mertineit, and James Yu discussed practical steps employers can take to protect … Continue Reading
An employee who had executed a two-year non-compete was let go. He returned to work 10 days later but was not asked to sign a new agreement. More than two years after his return, he was terminated and became an employee of a competitor. A lawsuit seeking to enforce the non-compete was dismissed on the ground that it had expired.… Continue Reading
The North Carolina Court of Appeals held that the covenant’s territorial restriction was overbroad. Notwithstanding the state’s “strict blue pencil doctrine,” which limits a judge’s authority to revise a non-compete clause, the appellate court … Continue Reading
As a special feature of our blog –special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals –please enjoy this blog entry about non-compete covenants in India by technology and corporate attorneys Sajai Singh and Soumya Patnaik of J. Sagar Associates in Bengaluru, India. Sajai serves as the President of ITechLaw, a leading technology law organization. This entry is part one … Continue Reading
In a well-written recent opinion concerning violation of both a confidentiality/non-compete agreement and a preliminary injunction, a federal judge explained in detail why she was awarding liquidated damages, entering a permanent injunction, and assessing legal fees.
Summary of the Case
Two financial planners, one an individual and the other a corporation, negotiated a merger of their businesses. Before being provided … Continue Reading
A consultant of a company entered into a consulting agreement with a competitor. The scope of his consultancy of the first company involved dairy-permeate processing systems and the second involved lactose-processing systems. The Court of Appeals of Minnesota found that these businesses were sufficiently distinct such that disclosure of information regarding one business would not violate the non-compete agreement prohibiting … Continue Reading
In Hallmark Cards Inc. v. Monitor Clipper Partners LLC et al., 2014 WL 3409953 (8th Cir. July 15, 2014), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a $31.3 million dollar jury verdict, which included $10 million in punitive damages, in favor of Hallmark Cards, Inc. (“Hallmark”) against a private equity firm known as Monitor Clipper Partners … Continue Reading
An employee entered into non-compete and confidentiality agreements with his employer. Following his resignation from that company, he went to work for a competitor. His job functions and territory with both employers were similar. In a suit for violation of the non-compete and confidentiality agreements, a Texas federal court held recently that — absent an injunction — disclosure to his … Continue Reading
When the Walt Disney Company built the “It’s a Small World” ® ride for the New York World’s Fair in 1964, they probably had no idea of the challenges that globalization could pose 50 years later. From cases involving the sale of stolen trade secrets to foreign companies to departing employees setting up competing business in different jurisdictions, many … Continue Reading
In a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Creech v. Brown (June 19, 2014), the court affirmed that in Kentucky, noncompetition agreements must be supported by adequate consideration in order to be enforceable. The circumstance addressed by the court involved an employee who was presented with a noncompetition and confidentiality agreement after working for the employer for … Continue Reading
Voting is open for the American Bar Association’s Annual 100 Best Legal Blogs competition. You helped us get named to the list in 2013, and we hope you will cast your vote today to help keep Seyfarth’s Trading Secrets blog on the ABA’s list for 2014.
Trading Secrets is a resource for employers and legal professionals that provides timely legal … Continue Reading
In a case out of Florida involving the rapper known as “50 Cent” an arbitrator found the rapper liable for trade secret misappropriation, among other claims, in the creation of his own line of headphones. The arbitrator awarded, the plaintiff in the case, Sleek Audio, LLC, a little over $11.5 million in damages. Attorney’s fees were … Continue Reading
A Texas federal trial court, finding the absence of any legal precedence to award an ongoing royalty in a trade secret misappropriation case, looked to the patent laws to impose an ongoing royalty. As a result, rather than permanently enjoining the misappropriator from continuing, the trial court imposed a royalty, thereby allowing the victim some compensation but allowing the other … Continue Reading
A few months ago, we reported on a federal court decision in the Southern District of Alabama declining to enforce a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement against a former employee who executed the agreement before he began his employment. Last week, a panel of the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the District Court’s decision in an unpublished opinion.
As we reported following … Continue Reading
A defendant company was unaware, when it hired two individuals, that they had entered into non-competition agreements with their prior employer. As a result, according to a Florida federal court, the prior employer did not have a valid cause of action against the new employer for intentionally interfering with those non-compete obligations.
Summary of the Case
During their employment by … Continue Reading