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

Robert Milligan, Seyfarth Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes Practice Group, is a speaker for the “Closing Plenary – Mid-Year Updates and Ethics of Inventorship of AI Patenting” session at the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Mid-Winter Institute on February 4 at 9 a.m. Pacific, in Rancho Mirage, California.

Robert Milligan is on the
Continue Reading Robert Milligan to Speak at AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute on Developments in Trade Secrets Law

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

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

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

A federal district court recently issued summary judgment in favor of a retail defendant in a trade secret misappropriation case involving the alleged misappropriation of a CBD cream formula. On September 3, 2020, Healthcare Resources Management Group, LLC (“HRMG”) filed suit in the Southern District of Florida against several parties, including hemp products retailer Medterra CBD, LLC (“Medterra”), alleging that Medterra misappropriated its proprietary trade secret formula for a CBD cooling cream by selling a product similar to HRMG’s cream. On May 14, 2021, Medterra filed an amended motion for summary judgment against HRMG, arguing that HRMG’s claims for trade secret misappropriation could not stand, as the partial list of HRMG’s ingredients disclosed to it did not constitute a protectable trade secret formula, nor did Medterra “use” or “disclose” any secret formula owned or controlled by HRMG. The court agreed with Medterra, granting its summary judgment motion in full on October 27, 2021. This case serves as an important reminder that trade secret misappropriation claims require proof that a trade secret was either wrongfully acquired, used, or disclosed by the alleged wrongdoer—mere similarity of products is insufficient to succeed on a claim absent these additional elements.
Continue Reading Federal Court Issues Summary Judgment in Favor of Retail Defendant in Alleged Trade Secret Misappropriation of a CBD Cream Formula

On Wednesday, December 15 at 12 p.m. Eastern, Seyfarth partner and Trade Secrets, Computer Fraud & Non-Competes practice co-chair Robert Milligan is presenting “A Comprehensive Guide on Securing and Enforcing Trade Secrets: Demystifying Best Practices,” a 2 hour CLE webinar for The Knowledge Group.

Overview:

The current technological revolution has been significantly transforming how companies manage their trade secrets and
Continue Reading Robert Milligan to Present “Comprehensive Guide on Securing and Enforcing Trade Secrets: Demystifying Best Practices” Webinar

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.

I recently wrapped up a series of hard-fought cases centering around restrictive covenant violations and trade secret misappropriation. In the draw-down that follows, I always find it helpful to take some time to reflect on lessons learned—both for my client and for improving my approach in subsequent cases.

In future cases, I’m going to take a harder look at whether to ask for a jury trial in a standard employee departure case when I represent the plaintiff. When you represent the plaintiff, the natural tendency is to want a jury. The standard misappropriation story can be gripping and morally intuitive; the normal citizen has a general sense that a person should adhere to agreements they made and should not steal property or propriety information. Doubly so when the departing employee has taken steps to mislead the employer about their future activities.
Continue Reading Do You Want a Jury Trial in a Trade Secrets or Non-Compete Case?

Wednesday, December 8, 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

REGISTER HERE

In this fifth installment of our 2021 Trade Secrets Webinar Series, our experienced team will cover trade secret/confidentiality, non-compete and restrictive covenant issues that typically arise in M&A transactions. From
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar! Anatomy of an M&A Transaction: How to Issue Spot for Non-Compete, Trade Secrets/Confidential Information, and Intellectual Capital Concerns