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Category Archives: Practice & Procedure

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Charities Take Note: Ninth Circuit Reaffirms CA Attorney General’s Entitlement to Sensitive Donor List

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets
With an apparent thumbs up from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals[1] once again upheld the position of the California Attorney General (AG) requiring that charities located or operating in California must provide a copy of their unredacted Form 990 Schedule B, including the names, addresses and contribution amounts for all donors listed.[2]  While… Continue Reading

Upcoming Webinar: 2015 National Year in Review: What You Need to Know About the Recent Cases/Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Compete and Computer Fraud Law

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

On Friday, January 29, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Michael Wexler, Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas will present the first installment of the 2016 Trade Secrets Webinar series. The presenters will review noteworthy cases and other legal developments from across the nation this past year in the areas of trade secrets and data theft, non-competes and other restrictive … Continue Reading

Drafting and Litigating Post-Employment Restrictive Covenants in Australia – Tailoring Your Restraint to Ensure the Right Fit

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

By Michael Tamvakologos and Justine Giuliani

We will now look at the different types of post-employment restrictive covenants, and work through a checklist of questions employers should ask themselves when drafting a restraint to make sure it’s the right fit.

A good restraint is not about creating the ultimate “catch all” provision. Rather, it requires a series of good choices … Continue Reading

Leveraging Employment Restraints to Protect Business Assets

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

When a key employee subject to an employment restraint leaves a business to join a competitor, fast decisions need to be made to protect client goodwill or guard against misuse of confidential information.

The more leverage an employer has against the former employee and his or her new employer, the better the prospects of negotiating a sensible solution quickly or, … Continue Reading

Best Practices Shared in Seyfarth Shaw’s 2015 Trade Secrets Webinar Series Year in Review

Posted in International, Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Restrictive Covenants, Social Media, Trade Secrets

Throughout 2015, Seyfarth Shaw’s dedicated Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group hosted a series of CLE webinars that addressed significant issues facing clients today in this important and ever-changing area of law. The series consisted of nine webinars:

2014 National Year in Review: What You Need to Know About the Recent Cases/Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Compete and Computer… Continue Reading

Texas Federal Court Rules “Anti-Competitive” Employment Covenants Do Not Raise Federal Antitrust Question

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

In a case solely comprised of state-law claims to enforce employment covenants, a United States District Judge in the North District of Texas ruled last week in Leica Microsystems Inc. v. Hernandez et al., No. 3:15-CV-2531-D, 2015 WL 7424770 (Nov. 23, 2015) that a defendant’s characterization of the plaintiff’s complaint as conduct violating federal antitrust laws was insufficient to establish … Continue Reading

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules That Continued Employment Is Not Sufficient Consideration for Non-Competes Entered Into After the Employment Relationship Has Begun

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

In a landmark ruling of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that an employer’s non-competition covenant, which included the employee’s pledge not to challenge the covenant for inadequate consideration, is unenforceable unless it is accompanied by a change in job status or some other significant benefit.  Socko v. Mid-Atlantic Systems of CPA, Inc., Case No. 3-40-2015 (Nov. 18, Continue Reading

Trend In The Courts: It’s Getting Harder To Obtain Preliminary Injunctions In Restrictive Covenant Cases

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

In recent weeks, courts almost routinely have been denying preliminary injunctive relief in cases alleging violation of non-compete and similar employment agreements.  Three examples: Burleigh v. Center Point Contractors, 2015 Ark. App. 615 (Oct. 28, 2015); Evans v. Generic Solution Engineering, LLC, Case No. 5D15-578 (Fla. App., Oct. 30, 2015); and Great Lakes Home Health Services Inc. v. Continue Reading

“Reasonable Suspicion” of Trade Secret Misappropriation Isn’t Always Enough

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

Though an employer may be eager to bring a trade secret claim against former employees as soon as possible, filing suit before properly vetting the claim can lead to serious consequences: a malicious prosecution case against the lawyers who signed the pleadings.

A law firm is fighting such allegations in California after losing at bench trial on behalf of FLIR … Continue Reading

Dueling Dumpling Trade Secret Dispute Heads to District Court

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

For Dumpling Daughter and its newly opened rival Dumpling Girl, things are heating up in the kitchen and the courtroom, as reported by the Boston Globe, after the former filed a lawsuit in federal court in Boston asserting a host of claims against Dumpling Girl and its three owners, including misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, trademark infringement, conversion, … Continue Reading

Getting Your Money Back: New Jersey Employers Can Disgorge A Disloyal Employee’s Salary

Posted in Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

By Christopher Lowe and Robert T. Szyba

In a recent ruling, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave employers a great recourse for dealing with former employees who breach their duty of loyalty.  In Bruce Kaye v. Alan P. Rosefielde, the Court allowed an employer to recover compensation paid to a disloyal, recently terminated, employee, even where the employer sustained no … Continue Reading

Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine Held Inapplicable To Failed Business Transaction

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

An Illinois appellate court recently rejected applying the inevitable disclosure doctrine in a trade secret misappropriation spat arising out of a failed business transaction.

After first securing an executed confidentiality agreement, Destiny, the developer of a proprietary healthcare wellness program called “Vitality,” shared details of it with Cigna, a healthcare insurer.  The insurer decided instead to create a wellness product … Continue Reading

Effective Carve-Outs to Seek Injunctive Relief from the Court in Arbitration Provisions

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

Christopher Pike: “That’s a technicality.”

Spock: “I am a [lawyer], sir. We embrace technicalities.”

Star Trek Into Darkness

Arbitration is no longer the final frontier. Instead, arbitration is often the first and only forum for resolving disputes. The business community has embraced arbitration as an alternative method of dispute resolution, but sophisticated parties still maintain a preference favoring court resolution … Continue Reading

Court Decries Ambiguity Of Terminology Used In Non-Compete Agreement And Injunction

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

A preliminary injunction was entered against a fired executive of a roofer who, immediately after he was discharged, went to work for an alleged competitor.  The district court held, and the Seventh Circuit agreed, that his non-compete and non-solicit agreements were overbroad and confusing, but that some injunctive relief nonetheless was warranted in this case.  Turnell v. CentiMark Corp., … Continue Reading

Employer’s Action for Misappropriation of Trade Secrets Against Former In-House Counsel Who Engaged in Competitive Activities Not Subject to Anti-SLAPP Motion

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

There are indeed limits to the reach of the anti-SLAPP statute, particularly in the trade secret context.  In West Hills Research and Development, Inc. v. Terrence M. Wyles, a California appellate court ruled that engaging in activity to set up a competing business is not protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute.

Summary of the Case

West Hills, a medical … Continue Reading

Recent Developments on Copyright Preemption of Trade Secret Claims in the Fifth Circuit

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

For the latest on the copyright preemption doctrine (codified at 17 U.S.C. § 301(a)) look no further than the Fifth Circuit, which, together with its district courts, issued a string of recent decisions regarding the preemption of trade secret claims involving software.  Most recently, the Fifth Circuit found that preemption extends to all fixed original works of authorship, even those … Continue Reading

Trade Secret Protection: What are Reasonable Steps?

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

As a special feature of our blog –special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals –please enjoy this blog entry by Pamela Passman, President and CEO for the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade (CREATe.org)

-Robert Milligan, Editor of Trading Secrets

By Pamela Passman

Regional and national laws are increasingly focusing on the specific steps that companies … Continue Reading

Robert B. Milligan to Speak at 2015 ABA Annual Meeting on Trade Secret and Non-Compete Developments

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

Join Seyfarth Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Co-Chair Robert B. Milligan at the 2015 ABA-IPL Annual Meeting in Chicago on July 30, 2015.  Robert will join expert panelists to discuss significant statutory changes to several jurisdictions’ laws regarding restrictive covenants and pending legislation proposed in additional jurisdictions over the past year, as well as the ongoing effort to federalize trade secret … Continue Reading

No Economic Recovery Available For Breach Of A Non-Compete Set Forth In A Distributorship Agreement Which Bars Damages Awards

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

Where a freely negotiated contract between two sophisticated companies included a provision barring an award of monetary relief for breach of contract, the court will enforce the provision as written and award no economic damages.  CH2O, Inc. v. Meras Engineering, Inc., No. 45728-8-II (Wash. App. Court, July 21, 2015) (unpublished opinion).

Status of the Case

A non-exclusive distributorship agreement … Continue Reading

Upcoming Webinar: State Specific Non-Compete Oddities Employers Should Be Aware Of

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

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 12:00 p.m. Central, Kate Perrelli, Eddy Salcedo and Dawn Mertineit will present the sixth installment in our 2015 Trade Secrets Webinar Series. They will discuss the significant statutory changes to several jurisdictions’ laws regarding trade secrets and restrictive covenants and pending legislation proposed in additional jurisdictions over the past year.  As trade secrets and … Continue Reading

Sales Of $8,000 Stemming From Trade Secret Misappropriation Results In Liability For $1.3 Million

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

At a time when an ex-employee’s newly created company was subject to an injunction prohibiting misappropriation of his former employer’s supposed trade secret, the new company allegedly used that confidential information on a few occasions in the course of providing services.  The former employer sued.  Although the trial court found no violation of the injunction, that ruling was reversed on … Continue Reading

Non-Compete Injunction Denied, Ninth Circuit Remands For Reconsideration, But District Court Denies It Again, Declines Equitable Tolling

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

As directed by the court of appeals, a district court judge reconsidered his denial of a non-compete covenant case injunction but reached the same result on reconsideration.  He also stated why he would not have extended the covenant’s expiration date even if he had been inclined to enter the injunction.  Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC v. Pacific Seafood Group Acquisition Co., … Continue Reading

Hawaii Bans Non-Compete and Non-Solicit Agreements with Technology Workers

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

Hawaii joined the small list of states that prohibit certain non-compete agreements with employees.

On June 26, 2015, Hawaii’s governor David Ige signed Act 158 which voids any “noncompete clause or a nonsolicit clause in any employment contract relating to an employee of a technology business.”

The Act defines “technology business” as one that “derives the majority of its gross … Continue Reading

Is An Offer Of At-Will Employment Adequate Consideration For A Non-Compete? Recent Court Rulings Split Three Ways

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

Three very recent decisions reflect the irreconcilable division of judicial authority regarding the adequacy of at-will employment as the sole consideration for an otherwise valid non-compete.  Compare (a) Standard Register Co. v. Keala, No. 14-00291 (D. Haw., June 8, 2015) (adequate under Hawaii law) (“majority rule”), with (b) Hunn v. Dan Wilson Homes, Inc., Nos. 13-11297 and 14-10365 … Continue Reading