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

Category Archives: Trade Secrets

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Massachusetts Governor Proposes Sweeping Legislation Banning Non-Compete Agreements

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

By Katherine E. Perrelli, Dawn Mertineit and Erik W. Weibust

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proposed sweeping legislation that would eliminate employee non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.  While it remains to be seen whether this bill will actually become law, employers should be aware of the potential implications of this far-reaching bill, and should implement steps sooner rather than …

Scott Schaefers Discussing Employee Social Media Privacy – How Employers Can Strike the Necessary Balance

Posted in Legislation, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Secrets

On April 16th, Scott Schaefers spoke with LexBlog’s Colin O’Keefe in a live online interview about what employers need to know about the social networking privacy legislation passed by thirteen states in the last two years.  Scott discussed Seyfarth’s soon-to-be-published survey of that legislation, as well as some ideas of what employers can do to protect its proprietary assets.  Those …

Update: Massachusetts Governor Proposes Sweeping Legislation Banning Non-Compete Agreements

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

By Katherine Perrelli, Dawn Mertineit, and Erik Weibust

As we reported last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has proposed sweeping legislation that would eliminate employee non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.  Now that we have had an opportunity to review the Governor’s bill, entitled “An Act to Promote Growth and Opportunity” (HB4045), we wanted to report back on its …

Breakfast Briefing: Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets — Trade Secrets, IP and Your Employees

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Privacy, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

Significant recent developments in Illinois and other states, as well as Congress, have changed the landscape of trade secret and restrictive covenant enforcement and protection. Understanding the impact of these changes, and the tools now available to employers for trade secret and restrictive covenant enforcement and protection, will help a company safeguard its most valuable assets and maintain its competitive …

Randy Bruchmiller Discussing the Finer Points of the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

The Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act was signed into law in 2013 and applies to any misappropriation of trade secrets occurring on or after September 1, 2013.  Texas trial and appellate courts will be interpreting these new provisions of Texas law as new trade secrets cases work their way through the legal system.  Randy Bruchmiller weighs in on a couple …

Breaking News: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to Propose Legislation Eliminating Non-Compete Agreements in Certain Industries

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

By Dawn Mertineit and Erik Weibust

The Boston Globe reported this morning that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will propose legislation today that would eliminate non-compete agreements in technology, life sciences, and “other industries,” with his secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Greg Bialecki, stating that the administration “feel[s] like noncompetes are a barrier to innovation in Massachusetts.”  No word just …

Jury’s $920 Million Trade Secret Misappropriation Verdict Vacated

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

In a stunning per curiam ruling, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last week vacated a judgment of nearly $1 billion, and a 20-year non-compete injunction, entered by an Eastern District of Virginia judge in favor of the DuPont Company.  The appellate tribunal held that the lower court committed prejudicial error by granting DuPont’s pre-trial motion in limine to bar …

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 …

Webinar Recap! National Year in Review of Recent Cases/Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Compete, and Computer Fraud Law

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

By Michael Wexler, James McNairy and Joshua Salinas

We are pleased to let you know that the webinar “2013 National Year in Review: What You Need to Know About the Recent Cases/Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Compete and Computer Fraud Law” is now available as a podcast and webinar recording.

In Seyfarth’s first installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets …

Australia Non-Compete Primer: Protecting Your Business Interests Post-Employment

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

By Justine Turnbull and Cassie Howman-Giles

Given difficult economic times, protection of confidential information (including trade secrets) has become a greater priority for business in Australia. As a result, post-employment restraint litigation is increasingly common as employers attempt to protect their confidential information and restrain former employees from soliciting the business of their valued clients.

This note outlines the position …

Tips for Ensuring Your Competitors Do Not Steal the Valuable Fruits of Your Research and Development

Posted in Trade Secrets

By Katherine E. Perrelli and Erik W. Weibust

Every employer in the pharmaceutical industry is keenly aware of the need to ensure that a departing employee, a potential investor, or a business partner does not misappropriate the company’s valuable trade secrets.  If such valuable information falls into a competitor’s hands, they may use it to gain a significant market advantage.  …

The Two Billion Dollar Zhu Zhu Pet, Sold for $5k: Puffing in Trade Secret Misappropriation Pleadings May be Perilous

Posted in Trade Secrets

Zealous advocacy, copious use of Latin, and literary devices advantageously applied to attack our adversaries’ arguments.  These are the cornerstones of American legal representation. 

These tools are part of the modus operandi of every lawyer.  This article may use dead language and assonance as running themes, but some lawyers take zealous advocacy ad infinitum.  Such attorneys are rarely even admonished …

Recent Decision Affirms Significant Protections for Confidential Information in United Kingdom

Posted in International, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

By Ming Henderson and Razia Begum

With the increasing number of disputes and client queries regarding confidential information in the United Kingdom, the recent case of Personnel Hygiene Services Ltd & ors v. Rentokil Initial UK Ltd , EWCA Civ 29, 29 January 2014, serves as a useful reminder of the extensive protection of confidential information. 

The Court of Appeal, …

Trade Secrets: A New Framework

Posted in Cybersecurity, 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

Around the globe, dozens of countries are considering or enacting legal reforms to …

Upcoming Client Webinar: Employee Social Networking: Protecting Your Trade Secrets In Social Media

Posted in Social Media, Trade Secrets

On Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Central, Seyfarth’s second installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar series will address the relationship between trade secrets and social media. 

The Seyfarth panel will specifically address the following topics:…

Defining and understanding trade secrets in social media, including a deeper dive into how courts are interpreting ownership of and whether social

Global Business 101: Hire Your Competitor as a “Consultant”

Posted in Espionage, Trade Secrets

Why spend millions of dollars employing a bunch of bright, talented employees to develop your business when you can just hire a worker from your rival to steal all their research?  As on every test you took in school, isn’t getting the right answer more important than figuring out how to solve the problem?

Competition for business is fierce.  Small …

Trading Secrets – 2013 Year in Review

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, International, Legislation, Social Media, Trade Secrets

Seyfarth Shaw is pleased to announce the publication of the Trading Secrets 2013 Year in Review. The 2013 Review is a compilation of our significant blog posts from 2013 and is categorized by specific topics such as: Trade Secrets; Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; Non-Competes and Restrictive Covenants; Legislation; International and Social Media. As the specific blog entries, including …

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

Tricks of the Trade Secrets – Can Casino Applications Be Kept Confidential?

Posted in Trade Secrets

By Erik Weibust and Dawn Mertineit

With the recent slew of casino application filings being submitted to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, following the passage of the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act in 2011, a new question has many on Boston’s Beacon Hill scratching their heads – can the contents of such filings be considered trade secrets?

The Gaming Commission’s standard casino …

Upcoming Webinar: 2013 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, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Cybersecurity, Espionage, International, Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure, Social Media, Trade Secrets

On Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Central, Michael Wexler, Jim McNairy and Josh Salinas will present Seyfarth’s first installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar series. They will review noteworthy cases and other legal developments from across the nation this past year in the areas of trade secret and data theft, non-compete enforceability, computer fraud, and the interplay …

Massachusetts Court Confirms That When It Comes To Trade Secrets, Confidentiality Is Key

Posted in Trade Secrets

A recent case in Massachusetts confirms that taking affirmative steps to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets is absolutely critical to litigating a claim for misappropriation. In C.R.T.R. v. Lao, Plymouth Superior Court Docket No. 2011-962 (Dec. 30, 2013), the plaintiff sued a former independent contractor for, among other things, misappropriation of the company’s trade secrets. The defendant moved …

Loose Lips Sink Ships! Can an Employer Ask a Whistleblower to Keep Her Complaints “Confidential”?

Posted in Trade Secrets

By James Beyer

Hypothetical, based upon a real fact pattern: Sally works for a chair manufacturer and believes the chairs are made with unsafe and illegal toxins. Sally reports her concerns to the head of HR. Sally also says that she thinks her supervisor is “harassing” her for raising this with him because he gave her a bad performance rating. …

Illinois Federal Court Finds Only 15 Months’ Employment Sufficient Consideration For Non-Compete Agreement

Posted in Trade Secrets

In a ruling announced a few days ago, Chief Judge Ruben Castillo of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois adjudicated the validity of a non-compete clause in an employment agreement where the employee had worked for only 15 months and then resigned and began competing. Notwithstanding the latest word from the Illinois Appellate Court — “Illinois …

Texas Trade Secrets Decision Helps Energy Companies

Posted in Trade Secrets

Seismic information about potential oil and gas reservoirs and other sensitive data are regularly used by energy companies to make business decisions and compete in the market. Energy companies must take reasonable precautions to protect such trade secrets. For example, trade secret status may be destroyed if the trade secret is disclosed to a party that has not signed a …