In Seyfarth’s eighth installment of its 2014 Trade Secrets Webinar series, Seyfarth attorneys focused on recent legal developments in California trade secret and non-compete law and how it is similar to and diverse from other jurisdictions, which included: a discussion of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act, trade secret identification requirements, remedies, and the interplay between trade secret law and Business and Professions Code Section 16600, which codifies California’s general prohibition of employee non-compete agreements. The panel discussed how these latest developments impact litigation and deals involving California companies.
As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a list of key takeaway points, which are listed below.
- While California has rejected the inevitable disclosure doctrine, threatened misappropriation can be a viable theory for relief when there is evidence of data theft and intent to use company data.
- California’s recent appellate decision in Altavion, Inc. v. Konica Minolta Sys. Laboratory, Inc., 226 Cal. App. 4th 26 (2014) has broadened the scope of trade secret protectable information to include ideas.
- Federal district courts in California have increasingly elected to enforce forum selection clauses in noncompete agreements of California employees and found that enforcement of such clauses does not violate California’s strong public policy of employee mobility. See, e.g., Hegwer v. American Hearing and Associates, 2012 WL 629145 (N.D. Cal., Feb. 27, 2012) (granting motion to dismiss California action based upon Pennsylvania forum selection law clause – alleged illegality of non-compete irrelevant to enforcement of forum selection clause); Hartstein v. Rembrandt IP Solutions, 2012 WL 3075084 (N.D. Cal., July 30, 2012) (court agrees to enforce Pennsylvania forum selection clause, disregarding ultimate affect that Pennsylvania court will enforce improper non-compete clause against California citizen).
- The recent decision in Cellular Accessories For Less, Inc. v. Trinitas LLC, No. CV 12–06736 D, DP (SHx), 2014 WL 4627090 (C.D. Cal. Sept. 16, 2014) illustrates that LinkedIn contacts and other social media connections could be protectable as trade secrets If the methods used to compile the contact information are “sophisticated,” “difficult,” or “particularly time consuming.” Nonetheless, the purported trade secret holder will also have to establish that the contacts were not made public.
Our next and final webinar of our series will take place in December. Seyfarth attorneys will have a high-level discussion on protecting trade secrets and intellectual property in business transactions. Details to come at www.seyfarth.com/seyfarth-events