The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, issued an opinion in Tejas Vending, LP, et al. v. Tejas Promotions, LLC further delineating the applicability of Texas’s anti-SLAPP statute, the Texas Citizens Participation Act (“TCPA”). The Court emphasized that the TCPA was applicable to a conspiracy to misappropriate trade secrets claim, but found that it did not apply to requests for declaratory relief. This holding serves as a reminder that anti-SLAPP statutes can be a powerful shield in misappropriation of trade secret cases, particularly when such cases involve claims for an alleged conspiracy. Continue Reading The Texas Court of Appeals for the Third District Holds that the Texas Anti-SLAPP Statute Applies to a Conspiracy to Misappropriate Trade Secrets Claim

Seyfarth Shaw Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group Robert Milligan, along with iDiscovery Solutions’ Jim Vaughn, spoke with Corporate Counsel Business Journal about discovery and digital forensics in the age of the cloud. To learn more about the type of evidence from the cloud and mobile devices can be important during litigation, why cloud computing is so important in discovery and digital forensics, and more, check out “How the Cloud and Mobile Devices Have Changed Discovery” in the July/August issue of Corporate Counsel Business Journal here.

As a special feature of our blog—guest postings by experts, clients, and other professionals—please enjoy this blog entry from Jeremy Morton, Partner at Harbottle & Lewis LLP, London, UK.

For the first time ever, we have UK-wide legislation that concerns the protection of confidential information. Modifying its approach in light of a recent consultation exercise, the UK government introduced The Trade Secrets (Enforcement, etc.) Regulations 2018 on June 9, to implement the EU Trade Secrets Directive 2016/943. Continue Reading UK Adopts New Trade Secrets Legislation

Earlier this month, the Texarkana Court of Appeals took the extraordinary measure of affirming an award of plaintiff attorney’s fees against a defendant for willful and malicious misappropriation of trade secrets in an amount that was ultimately more than 50 times higher than the plaintiff’s actual awarded damages.

Samuel D. Orbison worked for an oil and gas company, Ma-Tex Rope Company, Inc., for five years and signed an employment agreement containing a non-competition agreement, a non-disclosure agreement, and a non-solicitation agreement. During his tenure with Ma-Tex, Orbison became the coordinator of Ma-Tex’s recertification department until he resigned and began working for its competitor, American Pipe Inspections, Inc. (API), in the same position he had filled with Ma-Tex. When Ma-Tex learned that Orbison had begun soliciting recertification work from Ma-Tex’s customers, it sued Orbison and API for, among other claims, breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. Continue Reading In Trade Secret Misappropriation Case, Texas Court of Appeals Affirms Attorney’s Fees Award Approaching $220,000 where Actual Damages Were $4,000

In Seyfarth’s third installment in its 2018 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Kate Perrelli, Dawn Mertineit, Justin Beyer, and Andrew Stark focused on trade secret audits, with an emphasis on the importance of a proactive, systematic approach to assessing and protecting trade secret portfolios.

As a conclusion to this well-received webinar, we compiled a summary of takeaways:

  • Recent government and news media attention on trade secret theft serves as a firm reminder of the risk of trade secrets being stolen and the importance of protecting them. Trade secret theft costs American companies hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and even the largest and most sophisticated companies are victims.
  • It is critically important to identify and understand your company’s trade secrets to ensure that you have adequate protections from theft in place.
  • Have a well-communicated plan for the audit to ensure buy-in from appropriate stakeholders and set expectations.
  • An equally important, but sometimes overlooked, component of the trade secret audit is reviewing and analyzing a company’s internal technology. Any plan to prevent misappropriation should include analyzing company technology, upgrading it when feasible, or customizing it to prevent someone from stealing information.

 

Please join us for a one-hour CLE webinar on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern / 12:00 p.m. Central / 10:00 a.m. Pacific.

Trade secrets are critical intellectual property for most businesses. The threat to trade secrets, whether through cybersecurity or other issues, continues to increase year after year, especially with the increased use of cloud technology, social media, and the like. The alarming frequency of targeted data theft attacks leave a company’s trade secrets and confidential information vulnerable to outside threats.

In Seyfarth’s fourth installment in its 2018 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, Seyfarth attorneys Robert Milligan and Scott Atkinson, along with Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade CEO Pamela Passman, will address the issue of cyber threats and cover the following topics:

  • Identifying the greatest threats to trade secrets and how companies fall short on protecting against these threats
  • Implementing an effective trade secret protection program
  • Enacting effective risk reduction processes across an organization
  • Meeting the “reasonable steps” requirement, including real-world examples

The 2018 edition of The Legal 500 United States recommends Seyfarth Shaw’s Trade Secrets group as one of the best in the country. Nationally, for the third consecutive year, our Trade Secrets practice earned Top Tier.

Based on feedback from corporate counsel, Seyfarth partner Michael Wexler was ranked in the editorial’s “Leading Lawyers,” and Robert Milligan, Daniel Hart, Erik Weibust, and J. Scott Humphrey were also recommended in the editorial.

The Legal 500 United States is an independent guide providing comprehensive coverage on legal services and is widely referenced for its definitive judgment of law firm capabilities. The Legal 500 United States recognizes and rewards the best in-house and private practice teams and individuals over the past 12 months. The awards are given to the elite legal practitioners, based on comprehensive research into the U.S. legal market.

On Friday, May 18, Eric Barton participated in a panel discussion at the 2018 ITechLaw World Technology Conference, updating attorneys from around the globe on the latest developments in cyber vulnerabilities and crime. In today’s world, businesses and individuals face the certain knowledge that electronic systems are not entirely secure. Mr. Barton’s presentation provided “real world” guidance on how companies can encourage and promote innovation while still protecting their highly valuable trade secrets and intellectual property from both internal and external threats and attacks. Mr. Barton also detailed several recent cases that provide excellent guidance on how to best protect a company’s valuable information, as well as the impact that technological advancements have had on U.S. attorneys’ professional ethics requirements, as mandated by the ABA.

On the panel with Mr. Barton were Alexander Baranchikov, an IP attorney from Moscow, and Rodrigo Azevedo Pereira, an IP attorney from San Paulo, Brazil. Mr. Baranchikov provided an entertaining update on the latest data protection cases and developments in Russia, as well as a detailed synopsis of how the Russian legal system addresses and resolves IP claims. Mr. Pereira discussed the crisis management framework that attorneys should consider using when addressing an online or ransomware attack. Calling upon his extensive experience in crisis management work, Mr. Pereira detailed how to build a multifaceted team, as well as how to respond urgently and efficiently to limit PR damages.

A copy of Mr. Barton’s presentation is available here. The panel was extremely well received and the topics prompted various discussions among the participants. For any follow-up questions or information, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Barton directly at ebarton@seyfarth.com.

 

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

A recent California Court of Appeal decision held that the receipt, retention and dissemination of confidential information by a whistleblower’s attorney is protected by the state’s anti-SLAPP statute. MMM Holdings, Inc. v. Reich, 21 Cal. App. 5th 167 (2018).

Factual Background

In 2010, Jose “Josh” Valdez was promoted to president of MSO of Puerto Rico, Inc. (“MSO”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMM Holdings, Inc. (“MMM”). MMM offers Medicare advantage health insurance plans in Puerto Rico and contracted with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Holds That Disclosure of Confidential Information Protected by Anti-SLAPP Statute