In Direct Biologics L.L.C. v. McQueen, et al., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated a lower court’s dismissal of a trade secret and restrictive covenants suit, but nonetheless stressed the need for movants seeking a preliminary injunction in trade secrets cases to provide specific evidence of the irreparable harm caused by both actual and potentialContinue Reading Fifth Circuit Spares Trade Secrets Suit, But Clarifies That Specific Evidence of Irreparable Harm Must Support Request for Preliminary Injunction
Earlier this year, Seyfarth Shaw partnered to issue the 2022 Future Employer survey to clients and contacts. We surveyed in-house legal and business leaders to find out how they are thinking about the “Future of Work.” This was an important continuation of Seyfarth’s thought leadership endeavors related to futurist legal-thinking and the future of work, which we formalized five years ago with the inaugural survey in 2017. With respect to the protection of company data and intellectual property, the survey results highlight the need for companies to have thoughtful policies and procedures that address data usage and retention in a hybrid work environment.Continue Reading Future Employer Survey Results Highlight Need For Companies To Implement Thoughtful Policies To Protect Company Data and Intellectual Property in Hybrid Work Environment
In the second annual installment of Seyfarth Shaw’s Commercial Litigation Outlook, our nationally-recognized team provides keen insights about what to expect in 2022. It will be a busy year that will call upon clients and their counsel to be flexible, creative, and proactive on many fronts.
As the pandemic morphs into an endemic, we are seeing overall litigation activity…
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar Series! Commercial Litigation Outlook: Insights and Predictions for Litigation Trends in 2022
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
After a months-long delay due to an outbreak of COVID-19 during the first trial, a federal jury in Texas awarded a $152 million verdict—including $120 million in punitive damages—in a trade secret misappropriation case between rival software development companies.
In 2019, software company ResMan LLC (“Resman”) sued its former customer Karya Property Management LLC (“Karya”), alleging that Karya provided its third party software consultant, co-defendant Expedien, with unauthorized access to Resman’s trade secrets in order to help it develop a competing product. Resman’s proprietary software is used to manage apartment buildings throughout the United States. In the breach-of-contract lawsuit, Resman alleged Karya gave Expedien access to its trade secrets so that it could develop its own rival property management software.
Continue Reading Texas Federal Jury Awards $152 Million in Trade Secret Misappropriation Case Interrupted by COVID-19
Robert Milligan authored an article in the Daily Journal, “Remote Workforces Increase Pressure On Keeping Trade Secrets Protected.”
The Seyfarth partner said that with more workers accessing, disclosing, using, and creating company information from their homes, prudent company leaders must ensure that they have appropriate procedures, training, and safeguards in place to protect company trade secrets. The article addresses five…
Continue Reading Robert Milligan Authors Article in Daily Journal Concerning Protecting Trade Secrets With a Remote Workforce
In a decision of first impression issued last week, the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee held, in Gus’s Franchisor, LLC v. Terrapin Restaurant Partners, LLC, that the COVID-19 pandemic did not excuse a terminated franchisee of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (“Gus’s”) from complying with a temporary restraining order (TRO) and permanent injunction prohibiting it from using Gus’s trademarks, trade secrets and proprietary business information.
Continue Reading Don’t Play Chicken With Court Orders: COVID-19 Is No Excuse for a Terminated Franchisee to Continue Using the Franchisor’s Intellectual Property and Trade Secrets
The much-ballyhooed legal battle over trade secrets concerning self-driving automobile technology involving Uber took its latest (and perhaps final) turn last week, when engineer Anthony Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay over $700,000 in restitution.
Embroiled in the middle of a billion-dollar dispute between tech giants, Levandowski had previously pled guilty to the single count of trade secret theft and was already facing a $179 million judgment awarded to his former tech employer. Naturally, the length of prison sentence and the amount of restitution had been of particular interest to the business and legal communities to see what kind of message would be sent by US District Judge William Aslup. But interestingly, it was another (non-traditional) aspect of the sentence that perhaps sent the clearest and most impactful message to tech companies and their employees: the requirement that Levandowski, whom the judge described as a “good person” and a “brilliant man”, must give speeches to the public entitled “Why I Went to Federal Prison.”
Continue Reading Self-Driving to Federal Prison: The Trade Secret Theft Saga of Anthony Levandowski Continues
The American Intellectual Property Law Association’s (AIPLA) Trade Secret Committee (of which partner Erik Weibust is Vice Chair) is taking its annual Trade Secret Law Summit online this year, with a series of weekly webinars. The first of the series, on Wednesday, August 12, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. EST, features partner Scott Humphrey, who will be moderating a panel entitled…
Continue Reading 2020 AIPLA Trade Secret Summit Goes Virtual and Features Scott Humphrey
Partner Erik Weibust will be speaking on Thursday, August 13, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. EST, on an American Bar Association webinar entitled “Non-Compete Update: Practical Guidance in Response to COVID-19.” Erik will be covering topics including “Enforcing Non-Competes During High Unemployment” and “Preparation and Pursuit of Non-Compete Litigation During Court Closures/Limited Access.” Other topics include:
- Level Set on Forms of