Robert Milligan, Seyfarth partner and co-chair of the firm’s Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes group, and associate Alex Meier recently attended the Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets (Working Group 12) in Denver, Colorado. Working Group 12 seeks to aid judges and practitioners in developing consensus-based guidelines for managing trade secret litigation and protecting trade secrets.
Continue Reading Recap! The Sedona Conference on Trade Secrets (Working Group 12) in Denver

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.

Before Georgia enacted a constitutional amendment in 2011 to allow the enforcement of reasonable restrictive covenants, Georgia was a popular venue for companies and individuals to avoid non-competes and non-solicits. A recent personal jurisdiction decision in which the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed that a foreign corporation’s registration to do business in Georgia amounts to an implicit consent to general personal jurisdiction raises the question of whether Georgia will once again become a popular forum to try to void restrictive covenant agreements—at least for agreements executed before May 11, 2011.

To understand why, we’ll begin with a brief overview of Georgia’s history as a hostile venue to restrictive covenants and trends in personal jurisdiction decisions before returning to Cooper Tire’s facts and potential impact on restrictive covenants.
Continue Reading Does Georgia Decision on Personal Jurisdiction Present an Invitation to Forum Shop For Non-Compete Disputes?

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?

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
Continue Reading Seyfarth Attorneys to Participate at 2021 Annual Meeting of The Sedona Conference Working Group 12 (WG12) on Trade Secrets

On Friday, July 9, 2021, the Biden Administration released its executive order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.” We previously wrote about the forthcoming order and predicted that the executive order’s treatment of non-compete provisions would be a general call to rulemaking versus a more authoritative or immediate directive to the FTC.
Continue Reading President Biden Issues Executive Order Encouraging the FTC to Consider Curtailing the Use of “Unfair” Non-Competes, but Without Providing any Additional Guidance or Details

The Biden Administration plans to issue an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to adopt rules to limit the use of noncompete clauses in employment agreements. According to Axios, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that “roughly half of private sector businesses require at least some employees to enter noncompete agreements, affecting over 30 million people. This affects construction workers, hotel workers, many blue-collar jobs, not just high-level executives. [President Biden] believes that if someone offers you a better job, you should be able to take it. It makes sense.” Indeed, in 2016, then Vice President Biden went on the record that “no one should have to sit on the sidelines because of an unnecessary non-compete agreement.” While the intervening years have not seen any federal action on non-competes, a number of states have enacted legislative changes to narrow the scope and availability of noncompete agreements.
Continue Reading Biden to Ban Non-Competes?

In a long-awaited decision, the Supreme Court resolved a circuit split about whether an individual with access to a computer system violates the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) by accessing information for an improper purpose. By a 6-3 decision authored by Justice Barrett, the Court held that an individual does not “exceed authorized access” within the meaning of the CFAA by misusing access to obtain information that is otherwise available to that person. While the case heard by the high court was a criminal case involving a former law enforcement officer’s criminal conviction, the decision nonetheless has broad ramifications for trade secrets and restrictive covenant litigation, as CFAA claims were often brought against employees who misused access rights to misappropriate information. The CFAA is a criminal statute that also provides a civil remedy, and CFAA claims were commonly raised to acquire federal subject matter jurisdiction, especially prior to the enactment of the Defend Trade Secrets Act in 2016, which provided an independent private cause of action in federal court for trade secret misappropriation.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split on Access Under Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

On June 24, 2019, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media and resolved fractured circuit splits about the parameters for when the government may withhold information from a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request based on responsive information being confidential or a trade secret. Earlier this year, we reported on this case when the Supreme Court granted certiorari and predicted that the case would have significant ramifications for the protections given to sensitive information submitted by companies to the government.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Issues Decision Significantly Expanding the Scope of FOIA’s Confidentiality Exemption

Seyfarth Shaw Partner Erik Weibust and Associate Alex Meier published a Law360 article about trade secret protections related to social media. Weibust and Meier discuss risks employers face when employees access social media accounts, as well as some e-discovery considerations for social media. To learn more, check out “Trade Secret Protection and Social Media: A 5-Year Update” from Law360 here
Continue Reading Seyfarth Attorneys Author Article on Trade Secret Protection and Social Media

On January 11, 2019, the Supreme Court accepted certiorari to reconcile fractured circuit tests on when the government may withhold information from a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request based on responsive information being confidential or a trade secret. The case has major potential ramifications for the protections given to sensitive information submitted by companies to the government.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Grants Cert. to Interpret Meaning of “Confidential” or “Trade Secret” Under FOIA