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

Tag Archives: California

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

California Attorney General Provides Some Guidance on Cybersecurity

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy

Cross-Posted from The Global Privacy Watch

With all the high-profile cybersecurity breaches that seem to be in the news lately, there is a plethora of “guidance” on cybersecurity. The Attorney General of California has decided to add to this library of guidance with her “Cybersecurity in the Golden State” offering. Cybersecurity is a pretty mature knowledge domain, … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

Chinese Espionage Latest Target: Correction Fluid

Posted in Espionage, International

Spell check features in word processing programs sent correction fluid the way of the buggy whip. Walter Liew and Robert Maegerle, however, saw a $28 million dollar payout to sell the secrets to, among other things, typewriter correction fluid. It is doubtful that they can “white out” the bars of their new prison cells, though.

Liew, a California engineering consultant, … Continue Reading

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 Continue Reading

Nosal Update: Nosal Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft

On January 8th, after years of litigation and numerous delays, Executive Recruiter David Nosal was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for his April 25, 2013 conviction on three counts under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), two counts under the Economic Espionage Act (“EEA”), and one count of conspiracy to violate the CFAA and … Continue Reading

Neglect of Cloud Computing Policies In Workplace Can Provide Perfect Storm for Trade Secret Theft

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Theft, Privacy, Trade Secrets

By Robert Milligan, Jessica Mendelson, and Joshua Salinas

Prudent employers are often looking for areas in their business where valuable company data  may not be adequately protected.

Enter the growing prevalence of third party online data storage for professional and personal use in the workplace, coupled with the increasing accessibility provided by employers to access company data remotely. … Continue Reading

California Legislature Passes Bill To Extend Social Media Privacy Laws To Public Employers

Posted in Legislation, Privacy, Social Media, Trade Secrets

Big Brother can’t ask for access to your “personal” social media accounts in the public hiring and employment setting except in certain narrow circumstances if Governor Jerry Brown signs a new social media privacy bill recently passed by the California legislature.

The California Senate passed a bill to extend California’s social media privacy law to public employers last week.

The … Continue Reading

Upcoming Webinar: How and Why California is Different When it Comes to Trade Secrets and Non-Competes

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

On Tuesday, September 24, 2013, at 12:00 p.m. Central, Seyfarth attorneys Mark Hansen, Jim McNairy, and Jessica Mendelson will present the ninth installment in our 2013 Trade Secrets webinar series. They will focus on ways in which California trade secret law is similar to and diverse from other jurisdictions, including a discussion of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, trade … Continue Reading

What’s for Lunch? Trade Secrets!

Posted in Trade Secrets

With the end of summer fast approaching, a new trade secret case filing caught our attention regarding one of the staples of the summer barbecue…the hot dog.

Who doesn’t love a good, old fashioned hot dog?  It just so happens that a pair of litigants agree with this sentiment!  In a case filed in Los Angeles this summer, Dog Haus … Continue Reading

Court Awards Attorney’s Fees for “Bad Faith” Trade Secret Misappropriation Claim

Posted in Trade Secrets

The California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”) allows for an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party on a trade secret misappropriation claim. The statute permits award of attorney’s fees to a plaintiff for a defendant’s “willful and malicious” misappropriation and to a defendant when a plaintiff makes a claim in “bad faith”:

“If a claim of misappropriation is … Continue Reading

Best Practices and Latest Developments in Trade Secret Law

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

I recently presented on “Hot Topics In Trade Secret Law Across the Nation” at the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

Here are seven key takeaways regarding best practices and latest developments from the event that you may find useful:

Understanding the Importance of Trade Secret Preemption

Simply put, trade secret preemption or supersession is the concept that the … Continue Reading

A New and Potentially Powerful Weapon Against Foreign Counterfeiters and Pirates

Posted in International, Unfair Competition

Counterfeiting and piracy is estimated to cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars every year.  According to the Business Software Alliance, if the U.S. could reduce piracy by 10 percent in two years, it would add $52 billion in GDP, $8 billion in tax revenue, and create more than 25,000 new jobs. California alone is losing an estimated … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Finds Specific Jurisdiction Over South Dakota Company For Alleged Involvement in Misappropriation of Trade Secrets

Posted in Trade Secrets

A South Dakota company recently found itself subject to personal jurisdiction in California by a California federal court despite its arguments that it lacked sufficient “minimum contacts” to establish such jurisdiction. The district court held that the company’s alleged knowledge of and involvement with a new employee’s alleged misappropriation of trade secrets in California purposefully availed the company to jurisdiction … Continue Reading

Conversion Claim for Theft of Confidential Information Not Preempted By Trade Secrets Act

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

Can Oregon employers bring conversion claims against employees who misappropriate confidential information without having their claims preempted by the state’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act? According to a recent Oregon federal district court opinion, the answer is “yes”; however, in several other states, the answer is “no”.

This result highlights the continued divergence of opinion across the nation concerning the viability … Continue Reading

Hey, I Thought We Had An Agreement: California Appellate Court Allows Party To Seek Attorney’s Fees In Trade Secret Case

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

The Agreement

Congratulations! You’ve just entered into an agreement to settle your trade secret misappropriation case.

Defendants will pay you money damages, and agree that you may move the court for fees and costs under Civil Code section 3426.4, based upon their alleged willful and malicious misappropriation. Defendants reserve the right to oppose and to tax your costs. Under the … Continue Reading

California Federal Court Dismisses Computer Fraud and State Unfair Competition Claims Alleged Against Ex-Employees Accused Of Stealing Computer Source Code

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Practice & Procedure

A designer and marketer of stereophonic technology for presenting 3-D imaging on a computer screen recently sued some ex-employees in a California federal court for allegedly violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), among other claims. At some point, the ex-employees allegedly downloaded their former employer’s confidential computer code and provided it to their new employer, a competitor.  … Continue Reading

Is Your Company’s Customer List Still A Trade Secret If Your Company Uses Labeled Delivery Trucks?

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets

Does using a labeled truck identifying your company to deliver products to your clients make your client list publicly available? Will doing so undermine protecting your client list as a trade secret?  Last month, the defendant in a case before a federal district judge in California tried to make that argument, and while the case was decided on other grounds, … Continue Reading

Corporate Recruiter Convicted of Computer Fraud and Trade Secret Theft By San Francisco Jury

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Trade Secrets

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

A California federal jury convicted a San Francisco executive recruiter this week for violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) and theft of trade secrets from his former employer. The conviction represents a significant landmark in the closely watched eight-year case that deepened a federal circuit court split concerning the appropriate scope … Continue Reading

California Court Tosses Idea Theft Suit Over LOST Television Show Out to Sea

Posted in Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition

By Michael Baniak and Puya Partow-Navid

Arthur Quiller-Couch formulated seven basic plots for a conflict.  Following his formula, every movie and television show can be narrowed down to one of seven basic plots.  Although the number of plots may be limited, there are inifinite ways to tell a story.  In a town like Hollywood, where everyone seems to have a … Continue Reading

Growing California Trade Secret Preemption Doctrine May Thwart Efforts To Combat Employee Data Theft

Posted in Data Theft, Practice & Procedure, Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition

By Robert B. Milligan, Jessica Mendelson, and Daniel Joshua Salinas

Company information that is sensitive, but may not rise to the level of a trade secret is protectable in California, isn’t it?

Not necessarily. Some recent California decisions have significantly limited an employer’s ability to pursue certain claims and remedies based upon the theft of mere confidential or proprietary information … Continue Reading

Recent California Federal Court Rulings Muddy the Interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Does the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) prohibit hacking–improperly gaining entrance into a computer system–or simply prohibit improper use of a computer system? U.S. Courts of Appeal are divided. Now, district and appellate court judges in a single federal case pending in the Northern District of California, U.S. v. Nosal, have produced several divergent opinions regarding congressional intent with … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Governor Weighs In On Non-Compete Reform Debate

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability

At the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council on March 12, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick reportedly described arguments in favor of eliminating the state’s longstanding approval of non-compete clauses as “compelling,” while stopping short of endorsing those efforts. 

During a question-and-answer session at the conference, Branko Gerovac, chief strategy officer at search engine optimization startup Jungle Torch, reportedlyContinue Reading