A federal district court recently issued summary judgment in favor of a retail defendant in a trade secret misappropriation case involving the alleged misappropriation of a CBD cream formula. On September 3, 2020, Healthcare Resources Management Group, LLC (“HRMG”) filed suit in the Southern District of Florida against several parties, including hemp products retailer Medterra CBD, LLC (“Medterra”), alleging that Medterra misappropriated its proprietary trade secret formula for a CBD cooling cream by selling a product similar to HRMG’s cream. On May 14, 2021, Medterra filed an amended motion for summary judgment against HRMG, arguing that HRMG’s claims for trade secret misappropriation could not stand, as the partial list of HRMG’s ingredients disclosed to it did not constitute a protectable trade secret formula, nor did Medterra “use” or “disclose” any secret formula owned or controlled by HRMG. The court agreed with Medterra, granting its summary judgment motion in full on October 27, 2021. This case serves as an important reminder that trade secret misappropriation claims require proof that a trade secret was either wrongfully acquired, used, or disclosed by the alleged wrongdoer—mere similarity of products is insufficient to succeed on a claim absent these additional elements.
Continue Reading Federal Court Issues Summary Judgment in Favor of Retail Defendant in Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation of a CBD Cream Formula

With unemployment levels reaching a new high during the global pandemic, courts across the country have become increasingly reluctant to enforce non-compete agreements in employment contracts. As an example, a recent district court case, Robert Garcia v. USA Industries, Inc., demonstrates what may be a shift in Texas’ formerly lenient approach to non-competes. There, the court granted the plaintiff’s request for a temporary restraining order against the non-compete clause in his severance agreement, finding not only that there was inadequate consideration to enforce the non-compete provision, but that the provision itself was unreasonable. While this is only one case, in light of this shift in the interpretation of non-compete agreements as reflected in this decision, companies should ensure that their non-competes are reasonable as to scope and time, supported by adequate consideration, and narrowly tailored to protect the company’s legitimate business interests so as to increase the chances of the agreement being upheld. This will only become more important as more and more states pass restrictive covenants legislation limiting what is permissible.
Continue Reading Texas Decision Highlights Concerns Regarding Limiting Enforceability of Non-Compete Agreements During COVID-19 Pandemic

The California Court of Appeal recently upheld the dismissal of claims against Mattel, which alleged that Mattel stole the idea for its flying Barbie doll from Technology from Heaven Unlimited (“TFHU”). Applying New York law, the Court found that Mattel did not misappropriate TFHU’s idea to create a flying Barbie using drone technology, as this idea did not have general novelty, even if the idea was novel to the buyer. Moving forward, companies should ensure that they have clear policies and procedures in place before accepting ideas and before entering into contracts for the disclosure of ideas, because whether an idea may be novel may depend on the timing of the contract.
Continue Reading Hoverboard Barbie: A Novelty Toy Without a Novel Concept