The nineteenth century English jurist Lord Ellenborough once observed that “it is difficult to struggle with the common law.” Kerr v. Willan, 171 Eng. Rep 570 (K.B. 1817). Nearly two centuries later, struggling with the common law is still a formidable task – especially in cases involving claims of trade secrets misappropriation under the Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“UTSA”).… Continue Reading
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
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
According to the allegations in a recently filed complaint, Defendant Implementation Management Assistance, Inc. (“IMA”) hired a long-time employee, Liana Hans, away from competitor Plaintiff Triage Consulting Group, Inc. (“Triage”). Hans allegedly had intimate knowledge of Triage’s proprietary systems and allegedly shared that knowledge with IMA, in derogation of her confidentiality agreement with Triage. IMA thereafter recruited another Triage employee, … Continue Reading
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
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
Cases defining the scope of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act’s (“CUTSA”) preemptive effect have grown in recent years. Preemption (or “supersession” as the California Supreme Court prefers), increasingly is used by litigants to seek dismissal of non-trade secret causes of action pleaded alongside trade secret claims and which allegedly fall within the scope of CUTSA. This has been particularly … Continue Reading
In Seyfarth’s first installment of its 2013 Trade Secrets Webinar series, Seyfarth attorneys Michael Wexler, Robert Milligan, and Joshua Salinas will review noteworthy cases and other legal developments from across the nation this past year in the areas of trade secrets and data theft, non-compete enforceability, computer fraud, and company owned social media accounts and social media policies, as well … Continue Reading
The case of Illumination Management Solutions, Inc. v. Ruud pending in the Eastern District of Wisconsin exemplifies the continuing lack of certainty on the scope of California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”) preemption when the claims potentially subject to preemption concern information that itself may not qualify as a trade secret but is nevertheless confidential or proprietary.… Continue Reading
According to a recent Arizona federal court decision, (a) an employee who had the right to access his employer’s confidential emails did not violate the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, by downloading 300 such documents to his personal computer and sharing them with a recently terminated employee; (b) an employer may pursue either … Continue Reading
MPI, a Texas company, went to Kentucky and allegedly attempted to hire two Luvata employees, Foster and Meredith. Foster joined MPI soon thereafter. Over the course of the next few months while Meredith remained a Luvata employee, he and Foster allegedly spoke by phone repeatedly. In addition, prior to leaving Luvata for MPI, Meredith allegedly copied his employer’s computer … Continue Reading
By Ryan Malloy and Joshua Salinas
The Court of Appeals of Indiana recently reversed and remanded a 2008 suit brought by the North American Boxing Council (NABC) against HDNet LLC (HDNet), in which the NABC alleged that HDNet stole its idea for a mixed martial arts (MMA) broadcast series after the parties had discussed a broadcast arrangement that never materialized … Continue Reading
By Robert Milligan and Jeffrey Oh
In business, as in life, trust and communication are key to healthy and productive relationships. When these crucial elements are lost, as in the case of What 4 LLC v. Roman & Williams, Inc., 2012 WL 1815629 (N.D.Cal.), the fallout is often contentious and requires court intervention.
A recent California federal district court decision in FormFactor, Inc. v. Micro-Probe, Inc., Case No. C 10-3095 PJH highlights the importance of companies proactively taking measures to protect their trade secrets before litigation arises and specifically identifying trade secrets that have allegedly been misappropriated.
FormFactor, a company which designs, manufactures, sells and supports high-performance advanced wafer probe card assemblies, alleged … Continue Reading
In a recent decision, Wilcox Indus. Corp. v. Hansen, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63668 (D.N.H. May 7, 2012), a federal judge for the District of New Hampshire interpreted the New Hampshire Uniform Trade Secrets Act’s (the “NHUTSA”) preemption provision to preempt all non-contract claims based on unauthorized use of information even if the information at issue is not a trade … Continue Reading
Thanks to a recent decision of the Georgia Supreme Court, the assignee of confidential and proprietary information has found itself in a Catch 22 dilemma, precluded from suing under the state’s trade secrets statute because the information did not qualify as trade secrets but prohibited by that statute from bringing related common law claims. Robbins v. Supermarket Equipment Sales, LLC, … Continue Reading
In a recent, lengthy decision involving allegations of deceitful acts and unfair competition, the Utah Court of Appeals largely affirmed the lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the defendants with respect to a complaint alleging misappropriation of proprietary data and related conduct. Particularly noteworthy, the appellate court held that the Utah Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) preempts many common … Continue Reading
St. Patrick’s Day calls to mind the traditional Irish folklore of leprechauns and their hidden pots of gold. These hidden pots of gold illustrate the fundamental and straightforward rule for protecting prized trade secret information – keep it secret. A recent Ohio District Court, the Honorable Judge Michael R. Barrett presiding, denied a Plaintiff’s motion for Temporary Restraining Order because … Continue Reading
The Trade Secret Subcommittee of the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of California will have a live program entitled “Hot Topics in California Trade Secret Law” on June 27, 2011 in Los Angeles, California and on June 29, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Seyfarth Shaw’s Downtown Office will host the Los Angeles event.
Robert Milligan will be speaking … Continue Reading
By Carolyn Sieve and summer associate Rina Wang
A California federal court has added to the body of decisional law on preemption under the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 3426, et seq. (“CUTSA”). In Aversan v. Jones, No. 2:09-cv-00132-MCE-KJM, 2009 WL 1810010 (E.D. Cal. June 24, 2009), the Court denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s claims for … Continue Reading