A federal district court recently issued summary judgment in favor of a retail defendant in a trade secret misappropriation case involving the alleged misappropriation of a CBD cream formula. On September 3, 2020, Healthcare Resources Management Group, LLC (“HRMG”) filed suit in the Southern District of Florida against several parties, including hemp products retailer Medterra CBD, LLC (“Medterra”), alleging that Medterra misappropriated its proprietary trade secret formula for a CBD cooling cream by selling a product similar to HRMG’s cream. On May 14, 2021, Medterra filed an amended motion for summary judgment against HRMG, arguing that HRMG’s claims for trade secret misappropriation could not stand, as the partial list of HRMG’s ingredients disclosed to it did not constitute a protectable trade secret formula, nor did Medterra “use” or “disclose” any secret formula owned or controlled by HRMG. The court agreed with Medterra, granting its summary judgment motion in full on October 27, 2021. This case serves as an important reminder that trade secret misappropriation claims require proof that a trade secret was either wrongfully acquired, used, or disclosed by the alleged wrongdoer—mere similarity of products is insufficient to succeed on a claim absent these additional elements. Continue Reading Federal Court Issues Summary Judgment in Favor of Retail Defendant in Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation of a CBD Cream Formula
On Wednesday, December 15 at 12 p.m. Eastern, Seyfarth partner and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes practice co-chair Robert Milligan is presenting “A Comprehensive Guide on Securing and Enforcing Trade Secrets: Demystifying Best Practices,” a 2 hour CLE webinar for The Knowledge Group.
The current technological revolution has been significantly transforming how companies manage their trade secrets and other important assets. However, although it provides ease and essentially optimizes business operations, it also poses security hurdles which may compromise valuable data. The growing number of infringement cases, in addition to the continuing remote workforce trend, further intensifies this challenge presenting more security and regulatory issues.
Businesses should, therefore, assess their vulnerabilities and rethink enforcement procedures to mitigate potential risks. Being up to date with the recent strategical developments is crucial in structuring an effective and efficient data security plan.
A panel of key thought leaders and professionals will provide a comprehensive guide on securing and enforcing trade secrets. Speakers will also offer practical strategies to address the current and emerging trade secrets issues.
Key topics include:
- Trade Secrets Enforcement and Security
- Remote Workforce Implications on Data Security
- Critical Issues and Legal Challenges
- Structuring an Effective Data Security Management Strategy
- What Lies Ahead
Find more information and register for the program on The Knowledge Group’s website: https://knowledgewebcasts.com/know-portfolio/enforcing-trade-secrets-cle/
This blog post is the author’s opinion and is for educational and informational purposes only. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. Please feel free to reach out to a Seyfarth Trade Secrets attorney if you’d like to discuss your particular situation.
I recently wrapped up a series of hard-fought cases centering around restrictive covenant violations and trade secret misappropriation. In the draw-down that follows, I always find it helpful to take some time to reflect on lessons learned—both for my client and for improving my approach in subsequent cases.
In future cases, I’m going to take a harder look at whether to ask for a jury trial in a standard employee departure case when I represent the plaintiff. When you represent the plaintiff, the natural tendency is to want a jury. The standard misappropriation story can be gripping and morally intuitive; the normal citizen has a general sense that a person should adhere to agreements they made and should not steal property or propriety information. Doubly so when the departing employee has taken steps to mislead the employer about their future activities. Continue Reading Do You Want a Jury Trial in a Trade Secrets or Non-Compete Case?
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific
In this fifth installment of our 2021 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, our experienced team will cover trade secret/confidentiality, non-compete and restrictive covenant issues that typically arise in M&A transactions. From preparing for an M&A transaction to closing the deal, there are key issues that both buyers and sellers should address when dealing with trade secrets, restrictive covenants, and intellectual and workforce capital. Our panel, which includes a trade secrets and restrictive covenant litigator and a mergers and acquisitions transactional attorney, will walk through the keys issues in the typical M&A lifecycle and provide practical tips to help businesses effectively maximize value and protect their assets.
The panel will discuss:
- Bringing the management team and your advisors into the M&A process and understanding the key issues regarding the target’s intellectual and workforce capital
- Conducting and effectively managing due diligence and information sharing while advancing the deal
- Ensuring confidentiality and trade secret protection throughout the deal
- Tailoring restrictive covenants (including with key employees and contractors) and other significant covenants to maximize value
If you have any questions, please contact Colleen Vest at firstname.lastname@example.org and reference this event.
This webinar is accredited for CLE in CA, IL, NJ, and NY. Credit will be applied for as requested for TX, GA, WA, NC, FL and VA. The following jurisdictions accept reciprocal credit with these accredited states, and individuals can use the certificate they receive to gain CLE credit therein: AZ, CT, ME, NH. The following jurisdictions do not require CLE, but attendees will receive general certificates of attendance: DC, MA, MD, MI, SD. For all other jurisdictions, a general certificate of attendance and the necessary materials will be issued that can be used in other jurisdictions for self-application. If you have questions about jurisdictions, please email CLE@seyfarth.com.
Seyfarth Partners Robert Milligan, Erik Weibust, and Marcus Mintz, as well as senior associate Alex Meier will each be participating in the 2021 Annual Meeting of The Sedona Conference Working Group 12 (WG12) on Trade Secrets on December 13-14, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.
The mission of Working Group 12 is to develop consensus and nonpartisan principles for managing trade secret litigation and well-vetted guidelines for consideration in protecting trade secrets, recognizing that every organization has and uses trade secrets, that trade secret disputes frequently intersect with other important public policies such as employee mobility and international trade, and that trade secret disputes are litigated in both state and federal courts.
Milligan recently served on the WG12 Steering Committee and served as a Senior Editor of the Employee Life Cycle drafting committee. The Employee Life Cycle committee’s Protecting Trade Secrets Throughout the Employment Life Cycle paper was released for public comment this year.
Weibust co-leads the Monetary Remedies in Trade Secret Disputes drafting committee. Weibust will be speaking on a panel entitled “Monetary Remedies in Trade Secret Disputes.”
The primary focus of the annual meeting will be for current WG12 drafting teams to lead a document-based dialogue to obtain member comment and advance the following draft commentaries toward publication for public comment:
- Governance and Management of Trade Secrets
- Monetary Remedies in Trade Secret Disputes
Another focus of the meeting will be to form and launch the following commentary drafting team efforts on the following topics:
- What Can and Cannot Be a Protectable Trade Secret?
- Sharing Trade Secrets With Other Organizations
- Forensic Issues in Trade Secret Disputes
- Getting In and Staying Out of Trouble: Ethical Issues in Trade Secret Cases
Additional information, including a detailed agenda, and registration are available here.
Suffice it to say, it’s never a good idea to deliberately violate a trial court’s order, much less do so repeatedly. That, however, is precisely what Khosrow Daneshgari did in Patriot Towing Services, LLC v. Daneshgari, et al. Notwithstanding Daneshgari’s willful contempt, the Georgia Court of Appeals recently ruled that the trial court nevertheless overstepped its authority by extending the expiration date of the parties’ non-compete agreement. See Daneshgari, et al. v. Patriot Towing Services, LLC, Georgia Court of Appeals, Case No. A21A0887, Oct. 21, 2021. Continue Reading Georgia Court of Appeals Reiterates that Trial Courts Cannot Rely on Equity to Extend a Non-Compete’s Expiration Date
As in real estate, as in law. A recent ruling in the USDC for the District of Colorado demonstrates that procedural considerations of where to file may often have substantive consequences. Plaintiff LS3, Inc. (“LS3”) sued Cherokee Federal Solutions, LLC (“CFS”) and various former employees of LS3 in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. The gist of the action was that CFS, a competitor of LS3, solicited away former employees of LS3 to work for CFS in violation of employee non-compete agreements. Claims were asserted against the individual employees for breach of the restrictive covenant agreements and against CFS for tortious interference with those same agreements. Critically, the agreements at issue all contained Maryland choice-of-law provisions but apparently no venue or forum provisions. Continue Reading Location, Location, Location
Peloton has come out on top of the litigation leaderboard yet again. As we previously blogged about here, Peloton is no stranger to trade secret litigation. Peloton recently won dismissal of a “mirror image” declaratory judgment counterclaim asserted against it by rival ICON Health (“ICON”) in a Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) matter pending in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. Continue Reading Mirroring Peloton Won’t Result in Victory
On Thursday, October 7, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. EST Boston partner Erik Weibust will present a webinar for Thomson Reuters’ West LegalEdCenter entitled “The Future of Noncompetes and What it Means for the Protection of Your Workforce and Trade Secrets: Part 1.”
This is the first installment of a three part series, and will focus on recent developments in federal and state trade secret and restrictive covenant laws.
Additional information and registration are available here.
Please join Seyfarth at the 2021 AIPLA Trade Secret Summit, which is being held November 8-9, 2021 at the headquarters of SolarWinds in Austin, Texas.
Boston Partner Erik Weibust is Chair of the AIPLA Trade Secret Committee and he will be offering welcoming remarks and moderating a panel entitled “Expert Advice: Practical tips for working with experts in a trade secret case.” Houston Partner Jesse Coleman will be speaking on a panel entitled “Don’t Mess with Texas Trade Secrets: Primer on Texas trade secrets and noncompete law plus protecting trade secrets in the oil, gas, and energy industries.”
Additional information and registration here: https://www.aipla.org/events/2021/11/08/default-calendar/2021-trade-secret-summit (click “Register Now” for the full schedule)
The AIPLA Trade Secret Summit is the leading trade secret conference in the nation, with speakers from across the spectrum of private practitioners, in-house counsel, government, and academia, as well as fantastic networking opportunities. CLE credits will be available and topics this year will include:
- Expert Advice: Practical tips for working with experts in a trade secret case.
- Federal Involvement and Enforcement: Biden’s Executive Order and other federal government regulation and enforcement.
- What’s New in Noncompetes and Trade Secrets?: State law updates to noncompete and trade secrets law (including CA).
- Advanced Trade Secrets Topics (Part 1): Defining “ownership” of a trade secret or non-patented inventions.
- Advanced Trade Secrets Topics (Part 2): Sufficiently identifying trade secrets in litigation update.
- Protecting Trade Secrets in a post-COVID-19 World: Trends, traps, and other hot topics for protecting trade secrets in the remote work environment.
- Don’t Mess with Texas Trade Secrets: Primer on Texas trade secrets and noncompete law plus protecting trade secrets in the oil, gas, and energy industries.
- Trade Secrets and Noncompetes For Lawyers: Lawyers can misappropriate trade secrets and breach noncompetes, too. Ethics Credit!
Appropriate COVID-19 protocols will be in place. We hope to see you there!