In the inaugural session of the 2024 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, our panelists meticulously examine pivotal legislation, landmark cases, and legal advancements spanning trade secrets and data theft, non-competes and restrictive covenants, and computer fraud on a national scale. Tailored specifically for general counsel, labor and employment counsel, IP counsel, and HR professionals, this webinar offers essential insights into trade secrets, non-competes and restrictive covenants, and computer fraud.
Here are the key takeaways from the webinar:
- Federal agencies continue to crack down on the use of non-compete covenants. The FTC moved forward with its proposed ban of non-competes with employees and we expect to see a formal rule released in mid-spring 2024. Legal challenges are expected. The NLRB’s General Counsel also released a memorandum signaling enforcement actions against companies using non-competes with their non-exempt workforce and we have seen at least one agency action thus far. We also saw proposed federal legislation banning or narrowing the use of non-competes, which we expect to be reintroduced in 2024. Lastly, we saw federal agencies insisting on broad whistleblower protections in confidentiality agreements with impacted employees and customers.
- State legislatures continued to narrow the use of the non-competes with employees. Minnesota adopted a ban on non-competes. California adopted two new law that further limit the use of restrictive covenants in California and require employers to provide notice to current and former employees (since January 1, 2022) by February 14, 2024 that any operative non-competes that they signed are void. California’s new law positions the state as a beacon on the hill for employees and California employers attempting to shed employee non-compete covenants that may be enforceable in other jurisdictions.
- We saw an increasing hostility towards restrictive covenants by certain judicial officers in the Delaware Chancery Court, including in cases involving employment and equity agreements with out-of-state executives, with a notable differing view in recent Delaware Supreme Court case, which reaffirmed Delaware’s deference to parties’ freedom to contract.
- We continued to see large trade secret verdicts and an increasing focus on novel trade secret damages theories. We saw notable decisions addressing the recovery of damages for non-U.S. sales under the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the recovery of unjust enrichment damages when damages for actual losses are not sufficient.
To view the webinar recording, click here.