On Friday, May 18, Eric Barton participated in a panel discussion at the 2018 ITechLaw World Technology Conference, updating attorneys from around the globe on the latest developments in cyber vulnerabilities and crime. In today’s world, businesses and individuals face the certain knowledge that electronic systems are not entirely secure. Mr. Barton’s presentation provided “real world” guidance on how companies can encourage and promote innovation while still protecting their highly valuable trade secrets and intellectual property from both internal and external threats and attacks. Mr. Barton also detailed several recent cases that provide excellent guidance on how to best protect a company’s valuable information, as well as the impact that technological advancements have had on U.S. attorneys’ professional ethics requirements, as mandated by the ABA.

On the panel with Mr. Barton were Alexander Baranchikov, an IP attorney from Moscow, and Rodrigo Azevedo Pereira, an IP attorney from San Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Baranchikov provided an entertaining update on the latest data protection cases and developments in Russia, as well as a detailed synopsis of how the Russian legal system addresses and resolves IP claims. Mr. Pereira discussed the crisis management framework that attorneys should consider using when addressing an online or ransomware attack. Calling upon his extensive experience in crisis management work, Mr. Pereira detailed how to build a multifaceted team, as well as how to respond urgently and efficiently to limit PR damages.

A copy of Mr. Barton’s presentation is available here. The panel was extremely well received and the topics prompted various discussions among the participants. For any follow-up questions or information, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Barton directly at ebarton@seyfarth.com.

 

As a special feature of our blog—guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Donal O’Connell, Managing Director of Chawton Innovation Services Ltd.

An audit is the examination of a specific aspect of an organization, ideally by someone independent of that organization.

The purpose of an audit is to provide independent assurance that an organization’s management, governance, and processes are operating effectively and that any associated assets are being properly and professionally managed. Continue Reading Trade Secrets Audit

A recent California Court of Appeal decision held that the receipt, retention and dissemination of confidential information by a whistleblower’s attorney is protected by the state’s anti-SLAPP statute. MMM Holdings, Inc. v. Reich, 21 Cal. App. 5th 167 (2018).

Factual Background

In 2010, Jose “Josh” Valdez was promoted to president of MSO of Puerto Rico, Inc. (“MSO”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMM Holdings, Inc. (“MMM”). MMM offers Medicare advantage health insurance plans in Puerto Rico and contracted with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Holds That Disclosure of Confidential Information Protected by Anti-SLAPP Statute

On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Seyfarth Partner and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Compete Practice Group Co-Chair Robert Milligan is presenting a webinar focused on the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). The Knowledge Group webinar, titled “Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation in the 2018 Landscape: Understanding New Trends and Developments,” is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time and will cover the following topics:

  • Increasing Popularity of Trade Secret Litigation: Key Driving Factors
  • Recent DTSA Litigation Trends
  • Current Issues and Developments
  • Notable Cases
  • Litigation Strategies
  • What Lies Ahead

For more information or to register for the webinar, click here.

Democratic U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced legislation on April 26, 2018, entitled the Workforce Mobility Act (“WMA”). Although the text of the WMA is not yet available, according to various press releases, it would prohibit the use of covenants not to compete nationwide. In Senator Warren’s press release announcing her co-sponsorship of the bill, Senator Warren stated that “[t]hese clauses reduce worker bargaining power, stifle competition and innovation, and hurt Americans striving for better opportunities. I’m glad to join Senator Murphy to put an end to these anti-worker, anti-market agreements.”  Continue Reading Democratic U.S. Senators Seek to Abolish Non-Compete Agreements

Seyfarth attorneys Robert Milligan, Joshua Salinas, Amy Abeloff, and Olivia Wada contributed to this year’s ABA Section of Intellectual Property Law, Trade Secrets and Interferences with Contracts Committee Annual Trade Secret Law Report.

The Annual Report, found here, covers the significant trade secrets cases from around the country that were decided in 2017. The Report is a good resource for staying current in trade secrets developments and trends.

In what appears to be a first under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), a United States District Judge has thrown out claims against an alleged trade secret thief on the basis of the DTSA’s immunity for confidential disclosures to attorneys in the course of investigating a suspected violation of the law. Christian v. Lannett Co., Inc., No. 16-cv-00963-CDJ, 2018 WL 1532849 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 29, 2018).

Certain Trade Secret Disclosures to Attorneys or the Government Are Protected

The DTSA exempts from both criminal and civil liability any trade secret disclosure made in confidence to a federal, state, or local official or to an attorney if the disclosure is made “solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law.” 18 U.S.C. § 1833(b)(1). Continue Reading Defend Trade Secrets Act First: Claim Tossed Based on Whistleblower Immunity

Please join us for a one-hour CLE webinar on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 12:00 p.m. Central / 10:00 a.m. Pacific.

The risk of trade secret theft to businesses has increased in recent years, with greater employee mobility between companies, the alarming frequency of targeted data theft attacks, and the explosion of social media and cloud computing. Companies cannot simply react to these real business risks to their data after the data is compromised. By then, it’s too late.

To address these recurrent issues, Seyfarth Shaw helps clients protect their important assets and effectively manage risk by conducting trade secret audits. Our experience has shown that companies gain tremendous value by taking a proactive, systematic approach to assessing and protecting their trade secret portfolios through a Trade Secret Audit. In Seyfarth’s third installment in its 2018 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Kate Perrelli, Dawn Mertineit, Justin Beyer, and Andrew Stark will cover the following topics:

  • Identifying trade secrets and secrecy protections
  • Effective secrecy protections, including employment and non-compete agreements
  • Effective hiring and termination protocols, including effective exit interviews and termination protocols
  • Employing a comprehensive approach and trade secret protection plan
  • Managing and working to protect computer-stored data, including responding to emergency issues related to computer fraud and security breaches

A recent decision from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reinforces the importance of the timing of purported misconduct in alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). In Teva Pharmaceutical USA, Inc. v. Sandhu, et al., 2018 WL 617991 (Jan. 30, 2018), Judge Savage found that a defendant former executive could not be liable under the CFAA for conduct that occurred while she had authorized access to computers from which she misappropriated trade secrets. Id. at *1. However, the court also found that CFAA claims could be brought against the recipients of those trade secrets under an “indirect access” theory, and that DTSA claims could be brought on the basis of activity that began before the enactment of the DTSA but continued to occur after its passage. Continue Reading Federal Court Dismisses CFAA Claims Against Former Executive, Allows CFAA and DTSA Claims Against Competitor in Pharmaceuticals Trade Secret Dispute

This post originally appeared on the Workplace Class Action blog.

Seyfarth Synopsis: There are currently pending at least four class actions claiming that provisions contained in franchise agreements prohibiting the hiring of employees of other intrabrand franchisees without the consent of their employer violate the antitrust laws.  That being said, in 1993 the Ninth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of a franchisor in a similar “no-hire” case.  It reasoned that due to the control the franchisor exercised over its franchisees, the franchisor and its franchisees were incapable of conspiring in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. While the so-called “single enterprise” defense is potentially available, franchisors should be cognizant that in developing that defense, they may create evidence or admissions that would support a subsequent claim that the franchisors are joint employers of their franchisees’ employees.  In light of the availability of other defenses, franchisor employers should assess whether the joint employer risk is worth accepting in order to pursue the single enterprise defense.  Continue Reading Franchise “No-Hire” Agreement Class Actions And The Single Enterprise Defense