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

Tag Archives: circuit split

Third Circuit Signals Pro-Defendant Interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act’s “Authorized Access” Provisions

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Cybersecurity, Espionage

On April 11th, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and 41-month prison sentence of a Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) defendant, holding that he was tried and convicted in an improper venue.  U.S. v. Auernheimer, No. 13-1816 (3rd Cir. Apr. 11, 2014).  Though we usually do not post on procedural issues like these, we certainly post … Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claims in the First Circuit – Will the Narrow Approach Prevail?

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, remains unsettled in the First Circuit after two decisions issued just weeks apart adopted differing approaches to the treatment of such claims.

The CFAA prohibits the intentional access of a computer without authorization or exceeding a party’s authorization to obtain information from a protected computer.  As … 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

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Disloyal Employees: A Narrow Bridge To Nowhere?

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

By Gary Glaser and Jacob Oslick

An old folk melody describes the world as “a very narrow bridge,” where one misstep can bring disaster. The song seeks to inspire, calling on people to have “no fear at all” while crossing through life’s perils.

However inspiring this song might be, some metaphorical bridges just aren’t worth crossing. Trying to assert Computer … Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Circuit Split Remains Unresolved: United States Supreme Court Challenge Dismissed

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Espionage

The parties in the WEC Carolina Energy Solutions LLC v. Miller matter recently agreed to dismiss the petition for writ of certiorari filed with the United States Supreme Court, and as a result, the Court has dismissed the case. 

Accordingly, the circuit split regarding the ability of employers to use the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to sue former … Continue Reading

Mississippi Federal District Court Allows Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Claim To Proceed Against Former Employee

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

A recent Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) case from the Southern District of Mississippi further muddies the water with respect to the circuit split regarding the application of the law against former employees who violate computer usage policies or violate their duties of loyalty to their employers by stealing company data from company computer systems.

Unified Brands, Inc. (“Unified”), … Continue Reading

Employer Petitions U.S. Supreme Court to Resolve Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Circuit Split

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Data Theft, Practice & Procedure

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

As anticipated, the issue regarding the application of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) against employees who violate their employer’s computer use policies and steal valuable company data may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Last week, WEC Carolina Energy Solutions LLC (“WEC”) filed a petition for writ of certiorari before the … Continue Reading

Employers Beware: Fourth Circuit Adopts Narrow Interpretation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

On July 26, 2012, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided WEC Carolina Energy Solutions LLC v. Miller, holding that departing employees are not liable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) for mere violations of a company computer use policy. The Fourth Circuit’s decision solidifies the circuit split on whether employees who violate computer use policies and/or engage … Continue Reading

Solicitor General Decides Not To File Petition For Review In United States v. Nosal: Circuit Split On Computer Fraud And Abuse Act Remains

Posted in Computer Fraud

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

The Solicitor General indicated yesterday that he will not file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court in U.S. v. Nosal.

It was anticipated by some legal commentators that a Supreme Court decision in Nosal may resolve a deepening split between the Circuit Courts regarding the proper interpretation of the … Continue Reading

Michigan Federal Court Adopts Narrow Interpretation of Civil Liability Under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals are currently split over how broadly the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) should be interpreted. A recent decision out of the Eastern District of Michigan highlights this split and examines the ways in which the courts have interpreted the statute before deciding to adopt a narrow interpretation of civil liability under the CFAA.

On May 14, 2012, … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit En Banc Panel Tells Employers That Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Is Only To Combat Hacking, Not Employee Trade Secret Misappropriation: United States Supreme Court May Need To Resolve Circuit Split

Posted in Computer Fraud, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

On Tuesday, April 10, 2012, a Ninth Circuit en banc panel released its highly anticipated decision in United States v. Nosal and affirmed the judgment of the district court dismissing criminal counts against a former employee of a headhunter firm accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq. by conspiring with employees of … Continue Reading

Colorado Federal Court Rules That Former Employer Stated A Claim Against Former Executive and His New Employer Under The Computer Fraud Abuse and Act Regardless Of Differing Circuit Interpretations Of The Act

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By Robert Milligan and Jeffrey Oh

In its order denying defendants’ motion to dismiss in SBM Site Services, LLC v. Garrett, et al., Case No. 10-cv-00385, a Colorado federal court identified a circuit split over the interpretation of “unauthorized access” under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and then found a former employer had stated a CFAA claim against a … Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Remains Viable Claim For Employers To Assert Against Employees Who Steal Company Data

Posted in Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

By Robert Milligan and Joshua Salinas

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) remains a potent weapon for employers to use against disgruntled employees who steal company data. The Sixth Circuit in U.S. v. Batti, No. 09-2050, 2011 WL 111745 (6th Cir. 2011)recently upheld the criminal conviction of an employee who allegedly accessed, copied, and leaked confidential information that … Continue Reading