Social media and related issues in the workplace can be a headache for employers. There is no denying that social media has transformed the way that companies conduct business. In light of the rapid evolution of social media, companies today face significant legal challenges on a variety of issues, ranging from employee privacy and protected activity to data practices, identity theft, cybersecurity, and protection of intellectual property.

On September 28th at 12:00 p.m. Central, in Seyfarth’s fifth installment in its Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Justin Beyer, Ryan Behndleman, and Dawn Mertineit will discuss the relationship between trade secrets and social media.

The panel will specifically address the following topics:

  • The interplay between social media privacy laws and workplace investigations and how developing internal company policy and/or contracts can protect company assets
  • Defining, understanding, and protecting trade secrets in social media
  • How courts are interpreting ownership of social media accounts and whether social media sites constitute property
  • How to prevent trade secret misappropriation or distribution through social media channels
  • The interplay between protection of company information and ownership of company accounts in the social media age

Please join us for this informative webinar.

As a special feature of our blog—special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Charlie Platt, a director at iDiscovery Solutions.

It’s Friday afternoon and the conversation goes a little like this, “Wait, what? They’re leaving? Where are they going? Is there any opportunity to help them reconsider?”

When a key employee departs an organization, it can take a toll on clients and colleagues, productivity, and morale. What follows is a rush of activity: current projects are reviewed, transition plans are quickly drawn up and put in place, and decisions are made about how to replace the departing employee and how to communicate the departure to the rest of the firm and clients.  Continue Reading Key Employee Departures and Trade Secret Risk Assessment

webinarIn Seyfarth’s third installment in its 2017 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Justin K. Beyer, Dean Fanelli, Thomas Haag, and Marcus Mintz will focus on defining and protecting trade secrets in the pharmaceutical industry.

Pharmaceutical companies can easily spend in excess of $1 billion for the discovery and development of a new pharmaceutical product. Trade secrets are an invaluable intangible asset that, in conjunction with a pharmaceutical company’s patents and trademarks, form the foundation of a company’s overall intellectual property strategy. Proper implementation of a sound trade secret strategy at an early stage is essential for both large and small pharmaceutical companies to protect their confidential proprietary information.

The panel will address the following topics:

  • Defining and understanding trade secrets in the pharmaceutical market, including the “hidden” trade secrets involved in drug research, testing, and manufacturing stages
  • Reviewing significant civil and criminal cases in the industry
  • Discussing how federal and state trade secrets statutes and decisions may impact the protection of trade secrets
  • Suggested best practices for protecting trade secrets from invention through sale

Our panel has significant experience advising clients on trade secret issues, litigating trade secret cases, drafting protection agreements, and conducting trade secret audits.

Please join us for this informative webinar:

register

shutterstock_588521786Robert Milligan, Seyfarth Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group, will be a panelist for the “Trade Secret Mediations in 2017: What You Need to Know” webinar presented by The Knowledge Group, LLC Live Webcast Series on July 14, 2017.

In most intellectual property cases, particularly in trade secret disputes, mediation can be a highly effective mechanism to resolve conflicts early on. It can enable things that are not possible in court, such as private caucuses between a mediator and each party involved where private resolution of the issue can be offered.
Companies seeking mediation should first know their actual trade secrets and how to protect it. With the help of an experienced mediator, both parties can be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and the requirements and risks of proving and disproving trade secret claims.
In this live Webcast, a panel of distinguished professionals and thought leaders organized by The Knowledge Group will help the audience understand the fundamentals of trade secret mediations. They will discuss how to leverage mediation for resolving trade secret disputes and avoid costly, slow and uncertain judicial process.
Key Topics Include:
  • Mediating Trade Secret Disputes
  • Confidentiality, Counsel and Mediator Ethics
  • Selecting a Mediator
  • The Role of Counsel in Mediation
  • Preparing for a Mediation Session
  • Drafting and Enforcing a Settlement Agreement
For more information or to register for the event, click here.

shutterstock_506478736“I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Yeah, right.[1]

Most businesses think protecting their intellectual property is their own responsibility, and it is. But what about when your intellectual property rights are violated by an evildoer? Who are you going to call? While your obvious choice will be the law firm sponsoring this blog, you might also be able to get help from your local prosecutor.

Both State Attorneys General and Federal Prosecutors have tools at their disposal that let them bring the full force of the government to your side—when they are motivated to do so. Speaking at a State Fraud & Prevention Summit in Atlanta recently, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr announced how his office is available to take action on cybersecurity and data breach fraud cases, and he even pointed to several Assistant AGs in the audience who were there and ready to help.[2] Carr said his state’s emphasis on protecting data privacy and security is enhanced by the U.S. Army recently announcing that its new Cyber Command Headquarters (ARCYBER) will be located in Georgia.[3] Other states have similarly dedicated AGs ready to help, and sometimes you can even get local prosecutors to take interest in your case. Continue Reading Enlisting Government Help to Protect Your Trade Secrets

Every day, companies unknowingly give up intellectual property and trade secrets which they could have otherwise protected with simple processes. Poor R&D policies may not capture patent rights on a company invention. A faulty or simply outdated employment agreement may not protect a customer list used by an employee who leaves for a competitor. These pitfalls are easily avoidable by implementing measures on the front end and educating employees on the basics of intangible property and how to protect it.

In this webinar, Seyfarth IP and trade secret attorneys provided a basic overview of what types of intellectual property and trade secrets are protectable, how to protect them, and helpful tips to ensure that a company is doing everything they can to avoid common issues associated with intangible property.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of three takeaways that were discussed during the webinar:

  • Businesses routinely miss out on opportunities to protect their valuable intellectual property simply because they do not realize that their inventions or developments qualified as intellectual property in the first place. Particularly in light of changes in patent law that reward the first party to file for a patent – regardless of whether they invented something first or not – it is important to be proactive about applying for patent protection as early as possible. If a business believes that an invention may qualify for either a design or utility patent, it should take steps to start the patent application process as soon as possible.
  • Copyright and trademark protection are also an important, and often overlooked, component of intellectual property protection. Trademarks are routinely granted for patterns, brands, logos, trade dress, and other identifying images which businesses may have thought were too generic to qualify for such protection. Copyrights are also becoming an increasingly important tool in protecting computer code.
  • Trade secrets are also intellectual property, but are governed by an entirely different set of laws and are protected in different ways, often through litigation. Because the recently-enacted Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 requires the owner of trade secrets to have taken reasonable steps to protect that information, businesses should identify their processes for identifying what information qualifies as a trade secret and what steps they have taken to protect that information, including the implementation of employee confidentiality agreements. Confidentiality agreements drafted before 2016 need to be updated to include certain whistleblower language as a result of the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act.