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Category Archives: Practice & Procedure

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California Court Extends Protections To “Silent Whistleblowers”

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Seyfarth Attorneys to Present Paper on Trade Secrets and Lawyer Mobility at AIPLA Trade Secret Summit

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Upcoming Webinar: Protecting Trade Secrets and Intellectual Property in Business Transactions

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Seyfarth Attorneys Facilitate Discussion On Cybersecurity and Protecting Valuable Trade Secrets at the 39th Annual Intellectual Property Institute Conference

Posted in Cybersecurity, Practice & Procedure, Privacy, Trade Secrets

Seyfarth Intellectual Property, Trade Secret and Privacy attorneys are participating in the 39th Annual Intellectual Property Institute Conference in Garden Grove, California this week.

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

Customer Non-Solicitation Covenant Runs From Date Employment With Asset Seller Terminated, Not From Later Date Employment With Asset Purchaser Ended

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

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

“Bridgegate” Triggers Proposed Expansion of New Jersey Whistleblower Protections

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

By Ada W. Dolph, Robert T. Syzba and Jade Wallace

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

Pythagoras and the Geometry of Intellectual Property: Where Do Trade Secrets Fit In?

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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?

Well, here comes another geometry lesson: the Venn Diagram of intellectual property (IP), once thought to have only … Continue Reading

When “The End” Is Not “The End”: Asserting Trade Secret Claims After The Execution of a Mutual Release

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

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

Non-Compete and Forum Selection Clauses in Franchise Agreement Binding on Franchisee Who Signed It and on His Wife Who Didn’t

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

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

Webinar Recap! Ins and Outs of Prosecuting and Defending Trade Secret Injunction Cases

Posted in Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

We are pleased to let you know that the webinar “Ins and Outs of Prosecuting and Defending Trade Secret Injunction Cases” is now available as a podcast and webinar recording.

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

Ten-Day Interruption In Employment Necessitates New Non-Compete

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

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

Appellate Court Orders Trial Judge To Rewrite Parties’ Non-Compete Covenant To Make It Enforceable

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

An asset purchase and sale agreement included unusual non-competition provisions. They authorized a court to redo any time, scope and area restrictions held to be unenforceable. 

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

What You Need to Know About Non-Compete Covenants in India

Posted in International, Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

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

Liquidated Damages, A Permanent Injunction, and Attorneys’ Fees Awarded For Violating Non-Disclosure/Non-Compete Agreement And Preliminary Injunction

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

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

There Are Many Ways to Milk a Cow and Not All Are Protected Trade Secrets

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Eighth Circuit Affirms $31.1 Million Dollar Jury Verdict in Favor of Hallmark Cards over Private Equity Firm

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Preliminary Injunction Entered After Texas Federal Court Concludes That Ex-Employee “Inevitably” Will Disclose His Former Employer’s Trade Secrets

Posted in Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Seyfarth to Host Webinar on International Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Law

Posted in International, Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Rebecca Woods on Recent Kentucky Supreme Court Decision Holding that Non-Compete Failed for Lack of Consideration

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

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

Trading Secrets Readers: Cast Your Vote in the ABA’s 100 Best Legal Blogs Competition!

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

$16 Million Awarded By Arbitrator Against 50 Cent in Trade Secret Spat

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

By Christina F. Jackson

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

Texas Federal Court Imposes Ongoing Royalty Rather Than Permanent Injunction Against Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriator

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

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

Eleventh Circuit Affirms Alabama Federal Court Ruling that Non-Compete Signed Prior to Employment is Void

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants

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

Florida Court Finds That Employer Without Knowledge That Employees It Just Hired Have Non-Competes Are Not Liable For Tortious Interference With Contract

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

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