Two competitors who do research and analysis for advertisers and media companies, concerning how television viewing impacts consumer purchasing, have been in a legal battle over alleged trade secret misappropriation, patent infringement, and other causes of action. The dispute already has produced at least six district court opinions. Recently, in a 47-page non-precedential order issued by the Court of Appeals … Continue Reading
This week, at the ITech Law World Technology Conference in New York, Seyfarth attorney Dan Hart briefed members of the International Technology Law Association’s Intellectual Property Committee about the European Commission’s proposed Directive on trade secret protection. As we have written, the new Directive, if enacted, will substantially alter the legal landscape in Europe regarding trade secret protection and … Continue Reading
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
Earlier this month, New York Pizzeria, Inc., a pizzeria chain with over thirty restaurants in the United States and the Middle East, filed a complaint in federal court in Texas alleging trade secret misappropriation. New York Pizzeria alleged that a former employee, as well as individual restaurant owners, were conspiring … Continue Reading
By Marcus Mintz
A New York Supreme Court recently affirmed the viability of the “employee choice doctrine” in a rescission action involving employee equity grants. See Lenel Systems Int’l., Inc. v. Smith, 106 A.D. 3d 1536, 966 N.Y.S.2d 618 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013). The “employee choice doctrine” arises when an employee has a choice between complying with post-employment obligations, … Continue Reading
A recently unsealed criminal complaint out of the Eastern District of New York raises allegations that paint a frightening picture for employers of the havoc that disgruntled ex-employees can wreak on company computer networks.
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
On February 6, 2013, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed $15 million of a $18.1 million dollar jury verdict (onto which the trial court tacked on an additional $1.5 million in interest) in favor of a New York subway brake manufacturer on its trade secret misappropriation claim against a former licensee turned competitor. Faively Transport USA, Inc. v. … Continue Reading
Garrod, a salesman for more than 25 years in the field of elastomeric precision products (EPP), was terminated in mid-2012 after spending an aggregate of a dozen of those years working for manufacturers of EPP parts Fenner and a company acquired by Fenner.
He had signed both employers’ agreements containing non-compete and customer non-solicitation clauses–which appeared reasonable on their face–and … Continue Reading
Now that the Tory Burch lawsuit has settled, it looks like we’ve got ourselves another preppy clothing dispute on our hands! Last week, J. Crew sued one of its former employees, a senior design director named Dwight Fenton, for allegedly stealing confidential information in New York state court. Fenton had recently resigned from the company to take a position at … Continue Reading
Last year, Sergey Aleynikov, a computer programmer, beat federal charges of trade secret theft under the Economic Espionage Act. Although Aleynikov was initially convicted, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction, finding that the trade secrets relating to the source code Aleynikov had taken were not related to a product “produced for. . . interstate or foreign … Continue Reading
The secret is out, Tic Tacs and bubblegum have the most valuable and desirable real estate in the entire grocery store.
On September 27, 2012, a district court for the Eastern District of New York granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss in a commercial dispute arising out of the … Continue Reading
By James Yu
Apparently it’s not just the sweet, delicious taste of Magnolia Bakery cupcakes that had people lining up in droves for a box or three since it opened its first store in Greenwich Village, New York over 15 years ago.
A Connecticut federal court recently issued a significant decision concerning the rights of a buyer of a business to enforce non-competition agreements against employees who previously worked for the seller under New York law.
In 2003, Milso and each of its employees signed an employment agreement expressly governed by New York law. The agreement contained confidentiality, non-solicitation and non-competition covenants … Continue Reading
By Robert Milligan and Jeffrey Oh
In today’s dynamic environment of interstate commerce, including internet transactions, deciding on the proper venue for a trade secret misappropriation dispute can be a complicated process involving a number of different factors particularly if the parties are domiciled and/or transact business in different states.
In the case of GLT Technovations, LLC v. Fownes Brothers … Continue Reading
A recent Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision provides guidance regarding New York law concerning permissible and impermissible competitive conduct by the seller of a business, including its “good will,” who — without giving a non-compete covenant — thereafter goes into competition with the purchaser. The Second Circuit was aided by New York’s highest court which answered certified questions concerning … Continue Reading
An important procedural issue that often arises in a non-compete dispute is the idea of equitable tolling. This doctrine essentially allows a court to toll, or stay, the time remaining on a non-compete agreement during the period in which the employee is in breach. Equitable tolling, however, is not always available, and the remedy is highly dependent on what state’s … Continue Reading
Employers often condition the payment of post-employment or deferred compensation on a departing employee’s compliance with a noncompete agreement. New York is one of the few states that specifically allow for such an arrangement under the "employee choice" doctrine. This doctrine holds that an employee who chooses to voluntarily resign and violate his or her noncompetition obligations can be deemed … Continue Reading
In Renaissance Nutrition, Inc. v. Jarrett, 2012 WL 42171 (WDNY) (January 9, 2012), Renaissance, a vitamin and pre-mix company serving the dairy industry, alleged that two former top-level employees violated a five year "non-recruitment" or "anti-raiding" clause. In short, Renaissance alleged that these employees resigned in tandem with plans to develop a rival company, Cows Come First, and then … Continue Reading
Plaintiff IDG USA, LLC (“IDG”), a Georgia company with its principal place of business in North Carolina, commenced an action against a former employee, Kevin J. Schupp (“Schupp”), a New York resident, alleging breaches of a Non-Compete Agreement, breach of a Confidentiality Agreement, unfair competition, and theft of trade secrets.
In a 12 page decision, IDG USA, LLC v. Schupp, … Continue Reading
In New York, injunctive relief will not be awarded unless the plaintiff sets forth specific non-monetary harm to Plaintiff in a trade secret case.
In Systems Management Planning, Inc., v. Gordon, 23 Misc.3d 1104(A), 2009 WL 901514 (N.Y.Sup.) (Sup. Ct., Monroe Co, April 3, 2009), the court, in determining a preliminary injunction, assumed that the trade secret status of the … Continue Reading
Emigra Group, LLC v. Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy LLP, et al., No. 07 Civ. 10688 (LAK) (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2009).
In a decision that should be considerable reassurance to employers in general and law firms in particular, a district judge in New York has rejected an antitrust claim brought by a consulting firm against its former employer, an … Continue Reading
Opening with a tribute to the iconic New York City subway system, complete with citations to sources as diverse as Leonard Bernstein and The Bonfire of the Vanities, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week vacated and remanded a preliminary injunction barring a braking system manufacturer from disclosing proprietary drawings and other information to the New York City … Continue Reading
Nixon Peabody v. Taylor Wessing France, 2008 NY Slip Op. 51885(U) (Sup. Ct. Monroe Cty. Sept. 16, 2008).
A trial court in upstate Monroe County, New York earlier this month granted summary judgment for law firm Nixon Peabody LLP (“Nixon”), which sought a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief as a result of alleged tortious interference with prospective business relations by … Continue Reading