As our colleagues reported in this Seyfarth Shaw Legal Update, President Biden signed a comprehensive Executive Order addressing AI regulation across a wide range of industries and issues. Intellectual property is a key focus. The Order calls on the U.S. Copyright Office and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to provide guidance on IP risks and related regulation to address

Continue Reading White House Directs Copyright Office and USPTO to Provide Guidance on AI-Related Issues

Background

On September 15th 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law an amendment to the New York Labor Law. The amendment adds a new Section 203-f to the Labor Law, which addresses the assignment of inventions made by employees. Under this law, employment agreements can no longer include provisions that assign, or provide that an employee offer to assign, any

Continue Reading Hands Off My Inventions! New York Imposes New Restrictions on Employment Agreements

texasOn June 17, 2022, the Texas Supreme Court affirmed a lower appellate court’s decision, (which we previously wrote about here), which nixed the plaintiff’s $740 million trade secret win at trial and required the plaintiff to either accept a $201 million breach of contract win (which the defendant decried as  “jackpot justice”) or go back to trial on all claims.

Briefly, real estate startup HouseCanary brought suit against Title Source, Inc., now known as Amrock, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), fraud, and breach of contract. At trial, the jury awarded HouseCanary $740 million on its TUTSA and fraud claims and $201 million on its breach of contract claim. HouseCanary could elect to recover one or the other, and it elected to recover the $740 million. On appeal, the lower appellate court reversed the trial court decision regarding TUTSA and fraud based on deficiencies in the jury charge. The appellate court then found that the TUTSA, fraud, and breach of contract claims were inseparable, leaving HouseCanary with two options: to retry all of its claims or recover only the $201 million awarded on the breach of contract claim.
Continue Reading Texas Supreme Court Confirms that HouseCanary Must Fly Toward a $201 Million Judgment or a Retrial

A federal court in Texas recently provided useful insights on what constitutes “solicitation” by a former employee under that employee’s restrictive covenant with his former employer, and the court provided further insights on what inferences courts will, and will not, draw in favor of a plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction based on alleged misappropriation of trade secrets.[1]

The defendant worked for the plaintiff, Sunbelt, for over twenty years, primarily as a salesperson covering institutional customers.[2] As part of his employment, the defendant signed an employment agreement that, among other things, prohibited him from “solicit[ing]” Sunbelt’s customers or competing with Sunbelt within a certain geographic area.[3] He later left to join one of Sunbelt’s competitors. Sunbelt filed suit and sought a preliminary injunction, asserting that the employed had, among other things, solicited Sunbelt’s former customers, worked for Sunbelt’s competitor within the area prohibited by the non-competition agreement, and misappropriated Sunbelt’s trade secrets.[4]
Continue Reading Federal Court Provides Insight on Meaning of “Solicitation” and Plaintiff’s Burden on Motion for Preliminary Injunction