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

Tag Archives: Massachusetts

Massachusetts Governor Proposes Sweeping Legislation Banning Non-Compete Agreements

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

By Katherine E. Perrelli, Dawn Mertineit and Erik W. Weibust

Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick proposed sweeping legislation that would eliminate employee non-compete agreements in Massachusetts.  While it remains to be seen whether this bill will actually become law, employers should be aware of the potential implications of this far-reaching bill, and should implement steps sooner rather than …

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 …

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 …

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

Tricks of the Trade Secrets – Can Casino Applications Be Kept Confidential?

Posted in Trade Secrets

By Erik Weibust and Dawn Mertineit

With the recent slew of casino application filings being submitted to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, following the passage of the Massachusetts Expanded Gaming Act in 2011, a new question has many on Boston’s Beacon Hill scratching their heads – can the contents of such filings be considered trade secrets?

The Gaming Commission’s standard casino …

Massachusetts Court Confirms That When It Comes To Trade Secrets, Confidentiality Is Key

Posted in Trade Secrets

A recent case in Massachusetts confirms that taking affirmative steps to protect the confidentiality of trade secrets is absolutely critical to litigating a claim for misappropriation. In C.R.T.R. v. Lao, Plymouth Superior Court Docket No. 2011-962 (Dec. 30, 2013), the plaintiff sued a former independent contractor for, among other things, misappropriation of the company’s trade secrets. The defendant moved …

Massachusetts Judge Rules That Updating LinkedIn Does Not Constitute Solicitation

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Restrictive Covenants, Social Media

Judge Thomas P. Billings, of the Massachusetts Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session, recently declined to issue a preliminary injunction in a non-compete case brought by KNF&T Staffing, Inc. against its former employee, Charlotte Muller, who had left to join a competitor. Among other things, KNF&T alleged that Muller had updated her profile on LinkedIn to reflect her new position, “resulting …

Is Massachusetts Inching Closer to California? Governor Deval Patrick Issues Public Support for the “Outright Elimination” of Non-Compete Agreements

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

We attended a hearing today before the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development regarding the pending non-compete legislation on which we have previously posted

Among others who testified about the issue was Governor Deval Patrick’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Gregory Bialecki. 

Mr. Bialecki finally acknowledged publicly what the Patrick Administration has been dancing around …

Massachusetts Non-Compete Legislative Update

Posted in Legislation, Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

On July 23, 2013, the Boston Bar Association hosted its 5th Annual Symposium on Employee Non-Compete Agreements, Trade Secrets, and Job Creation.  

Speakers at the well-attended event included Senator William N. Brownsberger and Representative Lori A. Ehrlich, co-sponsors of a compromise non-compete bill that is working its way through the state legislature, along with Jennifer Lawrence, General Counsel of …

Material Change Defense To Non-Compete Enforcement Gaining Acceptance In Massachusetts

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Practice & Procedure

In a series of recent decisions by the Massachusetts Superior Court, a longstanding, but oftentimes unsuccessful, defense to the enforceability of non-compete agreements and other post-employment restrictive covenants has quietly been gaining acceptance.

Perhaps this is a result of the economy picking up and employees having increased options and mobility, or perhaps it is indicative of a growing hostility to …

Massachusetts Federal Court Narrowly Construes Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Holds That Company Cannot Sue Former Employees For Downloading Proprietary Information Absent Showing of Fraud

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

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

You may recall that we previously reported on Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. v. Feldstein, et al., C.A. No. 13-40007, in which Judge Timothy S. Hillman of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts granted a preliminary injunction against three former employees of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) who allegedly stole trade secrets from the plaintiff, without …

Massachusetts Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Absent Showing of Actual Use of a Trade Secret and Potentially Expands the “Inevitable Disclosure” Doctrine

Posted in Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

In an action for misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and other claims, Judge Hillman of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts recently granted a former employer’s motion for a preliminary injunction against three defendants who allegedly stole trade secrets from the plaintiff, without a showing that the defendants actually used that information for …

Pleading Former Employer’s Breach Of Employment Contract: Affirmative Defense Or Counterclaim To Suit For Violating Non-Compete And Non-Solicitation Covenants?

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Restrictive Covenants

Affirmative defenses and compulsory counterclaims.  In many instances, the consideration for an ex-employee’s non-compete and non-solicitation covenants was new or continued employment.  If the former employer then breaches the employment contract — for example, by failing to pay all of the compensation and benefits to which the ex-employee was entitled — but nevertheless sues the ex-employee in an effort to …

Massachusetts Federal District Court Rules That Initiating Contact Not Necessary For Finding of Solicitation In Breach of Customer Non-Solicitation Agreement

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

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

An employer can enforce a non-solicitation provision against a former salesman even where the clients initiated contact with the salesman, according to Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

In Corporate Technologies, Inc. v. Harnett, et al., , a Massachusetts information technology company, sued its former salesman, …

Is Massachusetts Next to Adopt the Uniform Trade Secrets Act?

Posted in Legislation, Trade Secrets

Will Massachusetts join 46 states, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands in adopting the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (the “UTSA”)? 

In January 2013, the Massachusetts Legislature proposed House Bill No. 27: An Act Making Uniform the Law Regarding Trade Secrets.  The bill seeks to repeal Sections 42 and 42A of chapter 93 of the Massachusetts …

Massachusetts Legislators Introduce “Noncompete Agreement Duration Act”

Posted in Legislation

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

Massachusetts has entered a new chapter in a long-standing effort to enact comprehensive non-compete reform in the Commonwealth. Recall from these previous posts that Senator Will Brownsberger and Representative Lori Ehrlich each introduced competing non-compete legislation in 2008 — Brownsberger’s would have gone the way of California and a few other states and banned …

Massachusetts Court Rules That Facebook Posting of New Job Does Not Violate Non-Competition Covenant

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

A hair salon’s motion for entry of a preliminary injunction against a stylist was denied even though she had signed non-competition, non-solicitation and confidentiality agreements with the salon, and immediately after leaving her prior employment she was employed by a nearby competitor, a fact noted on her Facebook page. Invidia LLC v Difonzo, Case No. MICV20123798H (Middlesex [Mass.] County …

Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Legislative Update Webinar On September 20, 2012

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

Please join us for our sixth trade secrets webinar of the year entitled Trade Secrets and Non-Compete Legislative Update.

The webinar will be September 20, 2012 from noon to 1:00 p.m. central.

The past year has seen significant statutory changes to several jurisdictions’ laws regarding trade secrets and restrictive covenants and pending legislation proposed in additional jurisdictions. As trade secrets …

Massachusetts Federal Court Rejects Expansive View of Inevitable Disclosure Doctrine and Denies Preliminary Injunction

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Trade Secrets

On June 19, 2012, a Massachusetts federal court declined to apply an expansive interpretation of the inevitable disclosure doctrine during a preliminary injunction ruling, finding that the rule is best applied to establish irreparable injury supporting enforcement of a non-competition agreement and not as the basis for a future misappropriation of trade secrets claim.

In U.S. Elec. Svcs., Inc. v. Schmidt, …

Massachusetts Appeals Court Affirms Judgment in Breach of Confidentiality Agreement and Unfair Business Practices Action Involving Weapon Designer

Posted in Trade Secrets, Unfair Competition

By Erik Weibust and Ryan Malloy

In Troy Industries, Inc. v. Samson Manufacturing Corporation and Scott A. Samson, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1122 (March 21, 2012), the Massachusetts Appeals Court recently affirmed a jury verdict in the Superior Court that awarded damages to the plaintiff, Troy Industries, Inc., based on the defendants’ violation of a confidentiality agreement and the Massachusetts …

Idaho and New Hampshire Propose Significant Trade Secret and Non-Compete Legislation

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability, Restrictive Covenants, Trade Secrets

Recently, state legislatures in both Idaho and New Hampshire have proposed significant legislation relating to trade secret and non-compete agreements. Each of these bills has the potential to significantly impact employers and their hiring processes.

Idaho

In the Idaho state senate, a bill was recently introduced to amend the Idaho Trade Secrets Act. The proposed bill clarifies that trade secret …

Massachusetts Court Finds IT Consultant’s Non-Compete Agreement Unenforceable Due to “Material Change” in Employment Relationship

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability

By Kate PerrelliErik Weibust, and Ryan Malloy

In Grace Hunt IT Solutions, LLC v. SIS Software, LLC, et al., Judge Lauriat of the Business Litigation Session of the Massachusetts Superior Court recently held that an IT consulting firm could not enforce non-compete agreements against employees who left after the company decreased their base salaries and implemented a new …

Massachusetts Judge Finds Statutory Trade Secrets Misappropriation, Despite Contrary Jury Verdict in Parallel Common Law Action, and Awards Plaintiff Draconian Injunctive Relief and Millions of Dollars in Damages, Fees and Costs

Posted in Trade Secrets

By Paul Freehling

When the evidence of trade secret misappropriation and resulting substantial damages is compelling, defendants should expect to get hammered in court. A recent Massachusetts case is in point. There, despite a jury verdict for the defendants, the trial court entered judgment for the plaintiff which included a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from using the plaintiff’s manufacturing process trade …

Massachusetts Legislature Hears Testimony on Non-Compete Bill

Posted in Non-Compete Enforceability

By Kate PerrelliErik Weibust, and Ryan Malloy

On September 15, 2011, the Massachusetts legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on House Bill 2293. The bill, originally introduced in 2009 as House Bill 1799, and as previously blogged on here, here, and here, aims to codify Massachusetts common law pertaining to non-compete agreements …