By Michael Wexler, James McNairy and Joshua Salinas

We are pleased to let you know that the webinar “2013 National Year in Review: What You Need to Know About the Recent Cases/Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Compete and Computer Fraud Law” is now available as a podcast and webinar recording.

In Seyfarth’s first installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar series, Seyfarth attorneys reviewed noteworthy cases and other legal developments from across the nation this past year in the areas of trade secret and data theft, non-compete enforceability, computer fraud, and the interplay between restrictive covenant agreements and social media activity, as well as provided their predictions for what to watch for in 2014.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a list of key takeaway points, which are listed below.

  • While courts continue to struggle with what is the proper scope of trade secret preemption and at what stage in the case it should be applied (e.g., at the motion to dismiss/demurrer vs. summary judgment stage), courts increasingly hold that trade secret claims preempt or “supersede” concurrently pleaded common law tort claims based on the theft of information.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in Atlantic Marine Const. Co., Inc. v. U.S. Dist. Court for W. Dist. of Texas, 134 S. Ct. 568 (2013), appears to strengthen the enforceability of forum selection clauses as it held that, where the other requirements for transferring an action exist, courts ordinarily should, except in exceptional circumstances, transfer cases where valid, enforceable forum selection clauses exist. However, because this case did not involve a forum selection clause in an employment agreement, it remains to be seen whether trial courts faced with transfer motions in employment disputes will interpret forum selection clauses in the same manner as the Atlantic Marine court.
  • During 2013, courts in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York joined the Ninth Circuit’s narrow reading of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, limiting its applicability to scenarios where the defendant(s) hacked into or otherwise took affirmative steps to circumvent computer security, finding that alone, violating employer computer usage or access policies did not violate the CFAA.

Please join us for our next webinar on April 24th, Employee Social Networking: Protecting Your Trade Secrets In Social Media.