shutterstock_314177504Uber’s ongoing battle with Waymo in the Northern District of California federal court over technology used in self-driving cars provided another significant decision concerning the broad scope of trade secret preemption under California state law.

Waymo accused Levandowski (a former employee) of taking more than 14,000 company files before leaving Waymo and starting his own self-driving truck company (which Uber bought for $680 million). Waymo asserted several claims against Uber for misappropriation of trade secrets under the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) and the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”). In addition to the trade secret claims, Waymo asserted four claims for patent infringement and one claim for violation of section 17200 of California’s Business and Professions Code. Continue Reading California Federal Court Finds CUTSA Preemption on Unfair Competition Claim in Uber Row

On June 3, 2017, Governor Sandoval signed Assembly Bill 276 into law, amending Nevada Revised Statute 613, which governs non-competition agreements. Notably, the law adds requirements to the enforceability and validity of non-competition agreements, and importantly, now allows courts to “blue-pencil” non-competition agreements, overturning Nevada Supreme Court’s recent decision in Golden Road Motor Inn, Inc. v. Islam.

First, the new law establishes that a non-competition agreement is void and unenforceable unless the agreement satisfies four requirements. The agreement must: (1) be supported by valuable consideration; (2) not impose a restraint greater than what is required to protect the employer; (3) not impose an undue hardship on the employee; and (4) impose restrictions that are appropriate in relation to the valuable consideration supporting the agreement. Continue Reading Nevada Enacts New Non-Compete Law

Robert B. Milligan, Seyfarth Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group, will be a panelist for the “Growing Importance of Trade Secrets in Protecting Emerging Technology” webinar presented by ITechLaw’s Intellectual Property Committee on July 11, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

With the growth of artificial intelligence and self-driving technology, we are see are a growing reliance by companies on trade secret protection. Robert Milligan will provide for an informative discussion regarding this important topic. Specifically, he will cover:

  • Increasing reliance on trade secrets to protect cutting edge technologies
  • Waymo v. Uber: lessons learned
  • How the new U.S. federal trade secret law helps trade secret owners

For more information or to register for the event, click here or contact Mr. Milligan at rmilligan@seyfarth.com

shutterstock_437170435As 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 and a Certified Ethical Hacker. He advises clients on data analytics, digital forensics, and cybersecurity.

These days cybersecurity seems to be all about technology. Pen testing, firewalls, port scanning, SIEM, zero-day, IPS, AES256, SHA, DMZ, NIDS, TLS, SS7 – I’ll stop. I could go on, but you get the idea. And I have a vested interest in keeping your attention.

Acronyms and geek-speak abound, and we are ever on the lookout for the next latest and greatest technical solution to secure our digital assets. Unfortunately, that perfect technical solution doesn’t exist and never will. How can I be so sure? Because no matter how well built, or how well thought out our technical solution may be, humans are involved. When humans are involved, they will be the weakest link, and we can’t (yet) re-engineer humans with a technical solution. Continue Reading Technically Speaking, Cybersecurity Isn’t About Speaking Technically

In Seyfarth’s third webinar in its series of 2017 Trade Secrets Webinars, Seyfarth attorneys Justin Beyer, Marcus Mintz, Dean Fanelli, and Thomas Haag focused on how to define and protect trade secrets in the pharmaceutical industry, including: reviewing significant civil and criminal cases in the industry, discussing how federal and state trade secret statutes and decisions may impact the protection of trade secrets, and suggested best practices for protecting trade secrets from invention through sale.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways: Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Protecting Your Trade Secrets in the Pharmaceutical Industry

shutterstock_511683898On May 11, 2017, a Northern District of Illinois federal court ruled that a Plaintiff properly alleged misappropriation under both the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) and the Illinois Trade Secrets Act (ITSA) in a case where the employee downloaded files onto a personal thumb drive and then went to a competitor.

Plaintiff  Molon Motor and Coil Corporation (“Molon”) contended that its former Head of Quality Control, Manish Desai, downloaded confidential data onto a portable data drive before leaving Molon for a competitor, Nidec Motor Corporation (“Nidec”). Molon further contended that Desai provided the confidential data to Nidec and Nidec then used (and continues to use) the confidential data to compete with Molon. Nidec filed a Motion to Dismiss Molon’s Complaint against Nidec (Molon did not sue Desai) on the basis that Molon could not state a claim under the DTSA or the ITSA because a) Desai downloaded the trade secrets while still employed by Molon, and b) Molon did not make a plausible allegation that Nidec used the trade secrets. Continue Reading Illinois Federal Court Allows Inevitable Disclosure Theory in Defend Trade Secrets Act Case

webinarTrade secret identification and protection is more critical than ever for employers. Technology is consuming the way we do business, and new laws concerning trade secrets and the content of employment agreements make trade secret identification and protection more critical than ever.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017, Seyfarth attorneys Robert B. Milligan and D. Joshua Salinas, joined by Jim Vaughn, one of California’s leading computer forensics experts, will present Trade Secret Protection: What Every Employer Needs to Know. This is the fourth installment in our 2017 Trade Secrets Webinar Series.
This webinar is designed to help employers navigate the tricky trade secrets waters and to provide best practices for trade secret protection. The panel will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • How to best identify and protect trade secrets
  • What employers need to know about the DTSA
  • Effective use of restrictive covenants in employment agreements
  • How to catch a trade secret thief
  • Responses to potential trade secret theft
  • Choosing the right court to protect trade secrets
  • Consideration for suing under federal vs. state trade secret laws (or both)

Please join us for this informative webinar:

register

MassachusettsHearkening back to the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s, Massachusetts courts (as well as others around the country) have increasingly been asked to analyze the application of California law in litigation related to non-competition agreements. As many readers of this blog know, non-competition agreements are generally not enforceable under California law. Thus, even where the subject agreement contains a forum selection clause outside of California, or where the employee may have worked in another state, former employees are increasingly racing to file first in California courts or arguing that California law should be applied, thereby hoping to avoid any restrictions on mobility.

The Business Litigation Session of the Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts recently analyzed these issues in a pair of cases involving the application of California law to cases and agreements outside of the state. In FTI, LLC, et al. v. Duffy, et al., three of the plaintiffs’ former employees resigned and shortly thereafter filed suit in California seeking a declaration that the former employees’ non-competition agreements were unenforceable. Five months later, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in Massachusetts, alleging breach of the non-competition agreements, trade secret misappropriation, breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, and other business torts. The defendants moved to stay the case pending final resolution of the California case. One of the former employees also moved to dismiss the claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction. Continue Reading The Latest East Coast/West Coast Conflict: Massachusetts Courts Consider the Application of California Law in Non-Compete Litigation

shutterstock_580430338Friends of our blog are conducting a survey of lawyers who work in-house at companies and who have some experience with trade secret law.

If that’s you, please click on this link and complete the questions:

Click Here To Take Trade Secret Survey

The survey, hosted by the survey company Qualtrics, is completely anonymous. The survey doesn’t ask for your name or your company, and the survey authors won’t even know if you’ve taken the survey or what your answers are. The survey results will be reported in aggregate form only, and nothing about you or your company can be identified individually. The survey takes less than 5 minutes to complete.

The reason for the survey is to collect information from lawyers on the front lines of trade secret work—those who work at companies on trade secret issues. The survey authors, David Almeling and Darin Snyder are conducting this survey for the upcoming third edition of their book on trade secret law. The goal is that while the first two editions focus on the experiences of outside counsel, this new edition will build on that view and add data from the in-house community.

If you work for a company and have any experience with trade secret law, thanks in advance for taking the survey.

shutterstock_494317324On May 19, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law several amendments to the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“TUTSA”), located in Chapter 134A of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. The amendments go into effect on September 1, 2017.  In doing so, Texas has aligned its statute more closely with federal law and codified recent judicial interpretations of the law.

Two events precipitated the amendments, one legislative, one judicial.  In the first, Congress passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) in May 2016, which provides a federal cause of action for trade-secret misappropriation. In the second, the Texas Supreme Court announced in In re M-I L.L.C., 505 S.W.3d 569 (Tex. 2016) that a presumption exists that a party is authorized to participate and assist in the defense of a trade-secret misappropriation claim under TUTSA, which presumption cannot be surmounted unless the trial court considers a seven-factor balancing test.  These events resulted in the following key changes to the TUTSA: Continue Reading Texas Legislature Clarifies and Expands the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act