Earlier this week, the United Parcel Service, Inc. (“UPS”) filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, against several unidentified UPS pilots, who are referred to in the complaint as “John Does 1-5.” The lawsuit alleges that “[i]n August 2017, certain UPS employees developed strategic plans regarding the Company’s aircraft. These plans were developed for, among other things, reporting to senior executives of the Company in late August 2017 so that they could make certain strategic business and financial decisions. Portions of these plans were included in a PowerPoint presentation created by this limited group of UPS employees (the “PowerPoint”). In preparation for the meeting, a very limited number of UPS employees had access to the PowerPoint for the purpose of its drafting and editing.” (Complaint, ¶ 7.) The lawsuit goes on to allege that the PowerPoint contained highly confidential and trade secret information. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.) Continue Reading Big Brown v. PowerPoint Pilferers in Trade Secret Spat
On September 7, at 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern, Robert Milligan will present “Understanding and Exploring the DTSA” CLE webinar.
The Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 establishes federal jurisdiction over trade secret theft and creates a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. It affords damages and injunctive relief and further allows an aggrieved party to obtain an ex parte seizure of property necessary to prevent the propagation or dissemination of a trade secret. However, the law also provides immunity for certain disclosures, such as in a court filing under seal or to a government official for the purpose of reporting a suspected violation of law. Notice of the immunity provisions must be included in any contract or agreement with an employee that governs the use of a trade secret or other confidential information. Continue Reading Robert Milligan to Present “Understanding and Exploring the DTSA” CLE Webinar
In Seyfarth’s fourth webinar in its series of 2017 Trade Secrets Webinars, Seyfarth attorneys Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas were joined by Jim Vaughn, one of California’s leading computer forensics experts, presented Trade Secret Protection: What Every Employer Needs to Know. The panel focused on how to help employers navigate the tricky trade secrets waters and provided best practices for trade secret protection.
As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways: Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Trade Secret Protection: What Every Employer Needs to Know
50 State Desktop Reference: What Businesses Need to Know About Non-Compete and Trade Secret Law
It has been an extraordinary year regarding trade secret and non-compete issues. We saw more and more cases filed in federal court asserting claims under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) and for alleged violations of non-competes. Some states passed legislation further narrowing the use of non-compete agreements, and some media outlets, academics, and regulators have continued their criticism of such agreements. We expect over the next year, the law to continue to develop regarding the DTSA’s application, definitions, scope, limitations, benefits and interpretation with regard to the immunity provisions. Our 50 State Desktop Reference is a useful guide to know how the law is currently applied in each state.
Seyfarth’s Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud and Non-Competes Practice Group is pleased to provide the 2017-2018 Edition of our one-stop 50 State Desktop Reference, which surveys the most-asked questions related to the use of covenants and intellectual capital protection in all 50 states. For the company executive, in-house counsel, or HR professional, we hope this guide will provide a starting point to answer your questions about protecting your company’s most valuable and confidential assets.
How To Get Your Desktop Reference
To download the pdf of 2017-2018 Edition of the 50 State Desktop Reference, click here.
To request a hard copy of the Desktop Reference, click on the button below.
As a special feature of our blog—special guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Daniel Garrie, senior partner and co-founder of Law & Forensics.
This post originally appeared on the Legal Executive Institute blog.
The dirty secret of trade secret disputes is that even if you win, it can be difficult to get back to where you started. It’s like closing the stable door after the horses have run off with trade secret disputes. A court or arbitration panel may not have trouble reaching findings of fact and conclusions of law, but the secrets are still out there. And ensuring that the trade secret information is entirely removed from the offending company’s systems is a lot harder than rounding up wild horses. Continue Reading The Neutral Corner: Using Forensic Neutrals in Trade Secret Disputes
The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) states very clearly that an injunction issued pursuant thereto may not “prevent a person from entering into an employment relationship,” and that any conditions placed on a former employee’s employment in an injunction must be based on “evidence of threatened misappropriation and not merely on the information the person knows.” (Emphasis added). This language appears to bar injunctive relief under the DTSA based on the “inevitable disclosure doctrine,” which in some states permits a court to enjoin a former employee from working for a competitor—even in the absence of a signed non-compete agreement—if it can be established that the employee would “inevitably” (even if inadvertently) use his or her former employer’s trade secrets on behalf of a new employer. As a result, when the statute was first enacted, many commentators assumed that claims based on the inevitable disclosure doctrine would quickly be shot down. In practice, however, that does not appear to be the case. At the very least, some recent federal court decisions have sown confusion around this issue.
We recently wrote about a federal court’s ruling in the Northern District of Illinois that applied the inevitable disclosure doctrine to a DTSA claim. Despite its non-precedential value, this ruling was significant because it interpreted a federal law to allow the application of a doctrine that has been expressly rejected in several states, including California, Maryland, and Virginia, and, again, appears to be barred by the plain language of the DTSA. That case can perhaps be explained by the fact that it was decided on a motion to dismiss, not a motion for injunctive relief, and thus the DTSA’s apparent prohibition on basing an injunction on inevitable disclosure was not necessarily implicated. The same cannot be said about a decision that was issued just three weeks later by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in which the Court applied the inevitable disclosure doctrine in the context of a temporary restraining order. The case is Fres-co Systems USA, Inc. v. Hawkins, 2017 WL 2376568 (3rd Cir. June 1, 2017). Continue Reading The Third Circuit Addresses the Defend Trade Secrets Act and Appears to Have Applied the Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine
Uber’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
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
On 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
Trade 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: