A government contractor learned the hard way that bid documents containing trade secrets are not protected from disclosure in Massachusetts. On September 21, 2018, a Massachusetts U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) doesn’t bar requests under the public records law for bid proposals containing a contractor’s trade secrets. Continue Reading No Protection Under The DTSA for Bid Documents Containing Trade Secrets
In Seyfarth’s sixth installment in its 2018 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Daniel Hart, Marjorie Culver, Alex Meier, and Paul Yovanic Jr. focused on how to identify the greatest threats to trade secrets, tips and best practices for protecting trade secrets abroad, and enforcement mechanisms and remedies.
As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:
- You don’t want to be in a position where you’re relying exclusively on trade secrets law to protect proprietary information. When possible, execute a confidentiality agreement. This will not only protect a wider range of information, but also often helps with securing pre-discovery injunctive relief.
- In order to adequately protect trade secrets abroad, companies should inform employees of the important nature of secret information, take steps to secure secret information and limit access only to necessary employees, and avoid liability without culpability by revising employment agreements and informing new hires of the prohibited conduct.
- Restrictive covenants abroad are easier to enforce when agreements are narrowly tailored for duration, geographic scope, and nature and when penalties are reasonable.
- For international misappropriation, consider whether you want to pursue relief in the foreign jurisdiction or in the United States. The Defend Trade Secrets Act and, in some instances, Section 337 actions before the International Trade Commission rules offer powerful alternatives to proceedings in other jurisdictions.
Seyfarth Partner and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Compete Practice Group Co-Chair Robert Milligan is on the panel for the “Hot Topics in Trade Secret Litigation: the DTSA, Remedies, Anti-SLAPP, and Constitutional issues” session on November 8, at the California Lawyers Association Intellectual Property Institute in San Jose, California.
The “Hot Topics in Trade Secret Litigation” session will cover some of the most intriguing (and vexing) topics in trade secret litigation and will provide attendees valuable insights from the trenches. The panel will address a broad range of issues, including:
- The Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA)
- Trade secret misappropriation as the predicate act of a RICO claim
- Damages and entitlement of alternative monetary relief
- Anti-SLAPP issues
- Constitutional issues, such as the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, and the Seventh Amendment
For more information or to register for the IP Institute, click here: https://calawyers.org/Sections/Intellectual-Property-Law/Education/IP-Institute
As a special feature of our blog—guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Donal O’Connell, Managing Director of Chawton Innovation Services Ltd.
An audit is the examination of a specific aspect of an organization, ideally by someone independent of that organization.
The purpose of an audit is to provide independent assurance that an organization’s management, governance, and processes are operating effectively and that any associated assets are being properly and professionally managed. Continue Reading Trade Secrets Audit
On Tuesday, August 14, 2018, Seyfarth Partner and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Compete Practice Group Co-Chair Robert Milligan is presenting a webinar focused on the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). The Knowledge Group webinar, titled “Defend Trade Secrets Act Litigation in the 2018 Landscape: Understanding New Trends and Developments,” is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time and will cover the following topics:
- Increasing Popularity of Trade Secret Litigation: Key Driving Factors
- Recent DTSA Litigation Trends
- Current Issues and Developments
- Notable Cases
- Litigation Strategies
- What Lies Ahead
For more information or to register for the webinar, click here.
In what appears to be a first under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), a United States District Judge has thrown out claims against an alleged trade secret thief on the basis of the DTSA’s immunity for confidential disclosures to attorneys in the course of investigating a suspected violation of the law. Christian v. Lannett Co., Inc., No. 16-cv-00963-CDJ, 2018 WL 1532849 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 29, 2018).
Certain Trade Secret Disclosures to Attorneys or the Government Are Protected
The DTSA exempts from both criminal and civil liability any trade secret disclosure made in confidence to a federal, state, or local official or to an attorney if the disclosure is made “solely for the purpose of reporting or investigating a suspected violation of law.” 18 U.S.C. § 1833(b)(1). Continue Reading Defend Trade Secrets Act First: Claim Tossed Based on Whistleblower Immunity
A recent decision from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania reinforces the importance of the timing of purported misconduct in alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) and Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA). In Teva Pharmaceutical USA, Inc. v. Sandhu, et al., 2018 WL 617991 (Jan. 30, 2018), Judge Savage found that a defendant former executive could not be liable under the CFAA for conduct that occurred while she had authorized access to computers from which she misappropriated trade secrets. Id. at *1. However, the court also found that CFAA claims could be brought against the recipients of those trade secrets under an “indirect access” theory, and that DTSA claims could be brought on the basis of activity that began before the enactment of the DTSA but continued to occur after its passage. Continue Reading Federal Court Dismisses CFAA Claims Against Former Executive, Allows CFAA and DTSA Claims Against Competitor in Pharmaceuticals Trade Secret Dispute
In Seyfarth’s second installment in its 2018 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Scott Humphrey, Erik Weibust, and Marcus Mintz focused on trade secret and client relationship considerations in the banking and financial services industry, with a particular focus on a firm’s relationship with its FINRA members. In addition, the panel covered what to do if trade secrets are improperly removed or disclosed or if a former employee is violating his/her restrictive covenant agreements, how to prosecute a case against a former employee who is a FINRA member, and the impact of the Protocol for Broker Recruiting on trade secrets and client relationships.
As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:
- Remember that you can seek court injunctive relief (Temporary Restraining Order and, possibly, Preliminary Injunction) before proceeding in FINRA
- The definition of a trade secret varies, but you must take adequate steps to protect them as a company, and the information cannot be publicly available or easily discovered, to merit enforcement under the law.
- Employers can take steps at all stages to protect their confidential information—don’t forget to implement on-boarding and off-boarding procedures, as well as policies and procedures that will be in effect during an employee’s tenure, to protect your information before a problem arises.
Tervis Tumbler Company, the maker of the infamous insulated tumblers, has found itself in hot water with a former supplier, Trinity Graphic. Trinity filed suit in the Middle District of Florida against Tervis and its new supplier, Southern Graphics, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets under both the Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) and Florida trade secret statute along with breach of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement, fraud, aiding and abetting, and civil conspiracy. Trinity seeks compensatory, exemplary and punitive damages, disgorgement of profits related to the misappropriation and attorney’s fees and costs.
In support of its claims, Trinity alleges that it “revolutionized” the creation of tumbler inserts with the development of its “Trinity Wrap.” Trinity further alleges that before it created the Trinity Wrap at Tervis’ request, Tervis was limited to the use of “crude and costly embroidery or flat one-sided images.” In creating the Trinity Wrap, Trinity purports to have developed two trade secrets: a printing method that reduces static electricity during the printing process, resulting in increased visual sharpness and a second printing method using a state of the art printer to perfectly align images printed on both sides of a transparent medium. Continue Reading Popular Insulated Cup Manufacturer in Hot Water over Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation
On March 23, 2018, Robert Milligan, Seyfarth Shaw partner and co-chair of the Trade Secrets, Non-Competes, and Computer Fraud Law Practice Group, will be part of an expert panel at Law Seminars International in Seattle, Washington, on Trade Secrets.
Robert Milligan will speak at the “Defend Trade Secret Act (DTSA) as it Approaches its Two-Year Anniversary” program at 9:15 a.m., and he will provide an update on civil enforcement.
For more information, click here.