After a four day bench trial on August 10, 2021, a Houston federal judge ruled that the conceptual designs an oil and gas manufacturing company disclosed to its erstwhile collaborator under an NDA were not eligible for trade secret protection because they were neither secret nor misappropriated due predominantly to disclosure in a prior public patent. The ruling underscores the necessity that trade secrets are—in fact—kept actually secret. Moreover, any prior patent of the party seeking to protect its trade secrets should be scrutinized for similarity with the technology or information allegedly comprising a trade secret.
Continue Reading Texas Oil & Gas Manufacturing Company’s DTSA/TUTSA Lawsuit Unraveled by Public Disclosure of Alleged Trade Secret in its Own Expired Patent

What You Need to Know about the Recent Cases and Developments in Trade Secrets, Restrictive Covenants, and Computer Fraud

Thursday, January 27, 2022
2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Central
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mountain
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific

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In the first installment of the 2022 Trade Secrets Webinar Series,
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! 2021 Trade Secrets & Non-Competes Year in Review

In what may seem to be a surprising series of events, given the state’s infamous hostility to restrictive covenants, a California appellate panel recently affirmed a Los Angeles Superior Court judgment effectively enjoining Netflix from soliciting certain employees subject to specific fixed-term employment agreements with Fox. More specifically, the panel—applying reasoning similar to the California Supreme Court’s in Ixchel Pharma, LLC v. Biogen, Inc.—upheld the trial court’s granting of summary adjudication in favor of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox 21, Inc. (collectively, “Fox”) on their claim under Business and Professions Code sections 17200, et seq. against Netflix Inc. (“Netflix”) and corresponding injunction in an unpublished but closely followed decision.

In affirming the judgment, the panel expressly rejected Netflix’s contention that the injunction, which prohibits Netflix, “individually … and/or in concert with others,” from “solicit[ing] employees who are subject to [f]ixed-[t]erm [e]mployment [a]greements with [Fox] or induc[ing] such employees to breach their valid [f]ixed-[t]erm [e]mployment [a]greements with [Fox],” constituted “an invalid restraint on employee mobility” under California public policy, Business and Professions Code section 16600, and other statutes concerning personal services contracts. The panel acknowledged each of these arguments and underlying public policy concerns, but ultimately found that they were not supported by the facts at hand, particularly in light of countervailing policies “favoring the stability and predictability of fixed-term employment relationships.” The panel also observed that the injunction had been carefully limited, and narrowly drawn by the trial court to curb wrongful conduct by Netflix without impeding the ability of individual employees to independently seek out new employment.
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Affirms Injunction Barring Netflix From Poaching Fox Executives, Citing Unfair Competition

This July, several Seyfarth attorneys signed a letter in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. On December 20, 2021, following the FTC’s and DOJ’s virtual workshop on “Making Competition Work: Promoting Competition in the Labor Markets” in early December, Seyfarth partners Dawn Mertineit, Robert Milligan, Kate Perrelli, and Erik Weibust
Continue Reading Seyfarth Partners Sign on to New Letter Urging Caution on Federal Regulation of Non-Competes

In the final webinar for 2021, Seyfarth attorneys Dawn Mertineit, Eric Barton, and Joshua Salinas discussed new legislation and the enforcement of non-competes. Any company that seeks to use non-compete and non-solicitation agreements to protect its trade secrets, confidential information, client relationships, goodwill, or work forces needs to stay informed of the varied and ever-evolving standards in each state.

As
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Overview of Non-Compete Legislation and Enforcement Issues from 2021

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?

Throughout 2021, our dedicated Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group hosted a series of CLE webinars that addressed significant trade secret and restrictive covenant issues facing clients today. This year’s series included:

  1. 2020 Year in Review: What You Need to Know about the Recent Cases and Developments in Trade Secrets, Non-Competes, and Computer Fraud Law
  2. Employee Termination & Data Repatriation in the Remote Work Environment
  3. The Connection Between Wage and Hour & Restrictive Covenant Law
  4. How and Why Texas is Different When it Comes to Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants
  5. Anatomy of an M&A Transaction: How to Issue Spot for Non-Compete, Trade Secrets/Confidential Information, and Intellectual Capital Concerns
  6. Overview of Non-Compete Legislation and Enforcement Issues from 2021

As a conclusion to our 2021 webinar series, we compiled a list of key takeaway points for each program. For those clients who missed any of the programs in this year’s series, recordings of all of our past webinars are available on the blog, or you may click on the link for each webinar below to view the online recording.
Continue Reading 2021 Trade Secrets Webinar Series: Takeaways & Recordings

How to Issue Spot for Non-Compete, Trade Secrets/Confidential Information, and Intellectual Capital Concerns

In this fifth installment of our 2021 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth partners Robert Milligan and Suzanne Saxman discussed trade secret/confidentiality, non-compete and restrictive covenant issues that typically arise in M&A transactions. The panel walked through the keys issues in the typical M&A lifecycle and provided practical
Continue Reading Webinar Recap! Anatomy of an M&A Transaction

Thursday, December 16, 2021
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Eastern
12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Central
11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mountain
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Pacific

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In this installment of our 2021 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, our team will focus on new legislation and the enforcement of non-competes. Any company that seeks to use non-compete and
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! Overview of Non-Compete Legislation and Enforcement Issues from 2021

50 State Non-Compete Guide

Seyfarth’s Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes practice group is pleased to provide the 2022 edition of our 50 State Desktop Reference, which surveys the most-asked questions related to restrictive covenants and trade secrets in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.

For the company executive, in-house counsel, or HR professional, we hope this guide will provide a starting
Continue Reading Now Available! 2022 Edition of 50 State Non-Compete Desktop Reference